Although high expectations for his movie ‘Agastya’ is not exceptional, actor Akash Dasnayak is calm about all the excitement happening around the film. He has remained the same way-a man of few words, reserved and succinct, unchanged by success. If he believes in a cause that is close to his heart, he takes it up. Probably that’s the reason why this reel hero decided to become a real hero with his entry into politics.
In an exclusive conversation with My City Links, Akash Dasnayak talks about his film and his camaraderie with Anubhav Mohanty. Excerpts:
Your film ‘Agastya’ is a remake of a Kannada blockbuster, ‘Ugramm’. As the rumours have it, it will also be attempted in other languages and so, the story is more or less now known to all. Can the audience expect a novelty factor from your Odia version?
‘Agastya’ is an official remake of the original Kannada film ‘Ugramm.’ If the story is good, I believe language should not be a barrier for it to reach people. Several South Indian movies are frequently remade in Bollywood and they go on to become even bigger hits.
Personally, I feel Agastya has shaped up brilliantly. So, even if you have watched the original, you will still want to watch its Odia adaptation. I am also not worried about the comparison as I know this movie will be at par with the Kannada one, or even better in terms of cast, cinematography, direction and other aspects. As far as my performance is concerned, I have put in my best efforts to do justice to my character and not complete with the actor who played the same role in the original film. I have tried portraying it in my own way.
Have you watched the original film?
No, because I heard about it only when the script was narrated to me. Moreover, I formed my own ideas about the character when I heard it. I’m sure the actor in the original film must have been fabulous, but watching him might have influenced my performance in some or the other way. I definitely didn’t want that.
How did ‘Agastya’ come your way?
I had declined the film few times before but then I finally decided to do it. I was hard-pressed for time between my commitments as a politician and my film career. A number of dates were occupied for my other upcoming movie ‘Just Mohabbat’. So it was getting difficult to commit on the dates. But producer Akshay Parija and Anubhav Mohanty felt I was the only one perfect for the role and approached me consistently to take it up. So they rearranged the whole schedule to accommodate mine. Finally, I am glad that I agreed and now I am a part of this excellent film.
According to you how has the movie shaped up after post production?
I am extremely happy about the way the entire movie has turned out to be. It looks no less than a Bollywood flick. Not only the film but the actors too look great in the film. I was apprehensive how I would do such a hard hitting character, but when I saw it during dubbing, I was totally convinced and satisfied with what I saw.
Tell us about your character in the film.
I have played Suraj in the film. Being a gangster, he is a rebel by nature. While the character of Suraj is neither a negative nor a positive character, he is quite grave and it was an interesting role to play. This character is placed as a deciding element in the plot and helps the story progress.
How different is this role from those you have portrayed earlier?
Playing the character of Suraj has been a tough challenge for me. However, when you watch the film, you will not get to see Akash on screen; rather, you will find only Suraj throughout the film. Unlike any of the roles I have played in my previous films, I have no interaction with any of the female co-actors in the film nor do I get to do any song and dance sequence as per the requirement of the character in the film. This is definitely one of the best roles I have played so far.
With this film, did you have an image makeover?
Yes, I had to work on my look for playing the role of Suraj. It was a thorough serious look with a lot of gravity attached to it. I had to keep my look neat and sharp. My hair was back brushed all through the film with a lot of styling gel. That gave me a really bad time. (Phew!)
Being a pleasant person yourself, was it difficult to play such an intense rebellious character? Or are you a rebel in real life?
Surely it was. People have rarely seen me get angry at anything. I am mostly calm under all circumstances. But in this film, you get to see me in a fierce avatar quite contrary to my nature. Though I do not easily get angry, I do react when I see injustice happening around me. That was one of the reasons I joined politics. At least I could channelise my rebellious reactions to bring about a change in the society.
Your film released during the festival week of Raja with two other big starrer movies – ‘Premare Premare’ and ‘Love Station’. Did that bother you?
Not really. But certainly it is an uphill task for Ollywood to release three films at a time and look for good returns at the box office. I am positive that Agastya will do well and wish the other movies also do good business.
How was your rapport with co-star Anubhav, (again an actor-turned politician like you) in the movie? Did both of you ever discuss politics on the sets?
First, Anubhav is an old and dear friend of mine. It was on his request that I agreed to do the movie. Whenever we got time on the sets, we discussed on a number of topics from development of Odia film industry, politics, family, our old films and what not. Also belonging to the same political party, we do share some commons concerns on issues in politics. With Anubhav, it’s always a lively camaraderie on and off the sets.
So, are you a complete director’s actor or do you insist on doing your own take for some scenes?
I am a complete director’s actor. Even so, being a perfectionist, I do insist on many retakes till I am satisfied but I do not interfere with the director’s vision in any way.