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Vishva Karthikeya Interview – Kaliyugam Pattanamlo

Kaliyugam Pattanamlo is a crime thriller with a difference, Vishva Karthikeya tells Srivathsan Nadadhur

After the likes of Deepak V Saroj, Ananda Vardhan and Teja Sajja, another child actor is working towards establishing his presence as a lead in Telugu cinema – Vishva Karthikeya. Having acted in over 50 films in his growing years – from Gorintaku to Janaki Weds Sriram to Adhinayakudu and Aa Naluguru – he has spearheaded several films in recent years including IPL, Allantha Doorana and Jai Sena.

Karthikeya’s next project – Kaliyugam Pattanamlo – is gearing up for a theatrical release this weekend on March 28, having wrapped all its pre-release formalities a few days ago. The film’s title is a reference to the times we live amidst – Kaliyugam – where human behaviour is unpredictable and has several shades of grey. The crime thriller is directed by a debutant Ramakhanth Reddy.

“I was quite reluctant to go to the director’s office when he told me that it’s going to be a thriller. There has been such an overkill of the genre in the last few years and I felt it was difficult to explore anything new in this space. When I listened to a major part of the story, the director asked me if I could predict the ending. I went wrong multiple times. It keeps surprising you at many levels.”

While crime thrillers in Telugu are mostly investigative procedural dramas, Karthikeya insists there’s more to Kaliyugam Pattanamlo beyond the crime and the investigation angle. “I also see it as a social commentary on parenting. When parents don’t give children the secure upbringing they deserve, subjecting them to unnecessary peer pressure and comparisons, it affects them psychologically.”

“Within the commercial format, the film doesn’t preach but says what ideal parenting should be like. Kaliyugam Pattanamlo shows there are various paths you could take in life, but it’s easy to be lured towards a life in crime. Chedu ni chedu dwara chupistamu (the film confronts evil with evil). Don’t ask me to disclose the villain too, you’d have to watch the film to know more.”

Are dysfunctional childhoods a common thread in the lives of criminals? “I believe so. If the industry and the media perceive Karthikeya as an assured professional today, I could trace it back to the way I’ve been raised. I don’t get swayed by fame and am quite aware of my core persona. If your childhood is a place of safety and happiness, you respond to conflicts better and don’t get triggered easily.”

A major part of the film (over 40 days) was shot in several unexplored corners of Nandyal and all he remembers about the location are its soaring temperatures, where he was consistently soaked in sweat. He found it relieving that his co-star Aayushi Patell was also a Telugu-speaking actress and says she has an equally prominent part to play.

“The director has done a commendable job in bringing the script to life on the screen and I couldn’t have been happier. The censor board had many questions for us after the screening and we explained to them the choices behind the unconventional storytelling style.” Chitra Shukla, Anish Kuruvilla essay other prominent roles too.

The director aims to make a Kaliyugam trilogy as well and has plans for a sequel tentatively titled Kaliyugam Nagaramlo. Karthikeya’s next film, to be shot primarily in Indonesia, will have him teaming up with Aayushi again.

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