Kannada actor Prem Kumar debuted as a hero with the movie Prana in 2004, but it is his second film Nenapirali, which catapulted him to stardom. He won lot of accolades besides bagging a Filmfare Award for Best Actor for his performance in the film. With its huge success, he is mononymously known as Nenapirali Prem. Then onwards, there is no looking back for this talented actor. His last outing Charminar has become a big hit at the Box Office.
Charged up by this success, the actor is now gearing up to release his next movie Chandra, which features Shriya Saran opposite him. As a part of its promotion, he walked into the Oneindia office recently. In a candid chat, he spoke about the shooting and highlights of Chandra and his upcoming movies. Here are excerpts from Prem Kumar's interview.
What made you accept the movie Chandra?
It is obviously the story, which is interesting and has different shades. Secondly, Roopa Iyer is a very creative director and I realised it when she narrated the story and her plans about the production of the film.
What is your role in Chandra?
I'm playing a singer and classical-music teacher, who is also interested in Ayurvedic medicine and does a research in Himalaya. It is more like manly-action oriented movie about a complete man.
How was your shooting experience? Would you like to share any special memory with us?
I had a wonderful experience on the sets of Chandra and there are several memories to share with. Each and every day on the set was a learning experience for me. I would like to share one funny thing about the film Chandra. Every filmmaker goes to Kullu Manali to shoot a romantic song. But we were there to shoot an action scene. Shooting this scene was a wonderful memory for me. The temperature was -5 °C and I was fighting in bare body. When everyone was trembling with cold, I was one guy, who was feeling hot.
Continue to read Prem's interview in slide show to know what he has to say about Shriya Saran and Roopa Iyer.
The trailer of Chandra hints at the Kalari fight sequence. What would you like to tell about it?
Yes! The movie has a few Kalari fights. Roopa Iyer had arranged a fight master, who gave me intensive training in Bangalore for two and half months. It was completely different experience. I had never done this kind of scene before. It was really difficult to do as there were several stretching scenes and I had to use sword, which was again another difficult task. Heroine also appears in these fights and she underwent training with me, and this is another memorable experience for me.
For the first time you are working with female director Roopa Iyer. How was your experience?
I feel Roopa is stronger than many male directors. She is very creative. Usually, male directors will have a team, which includes assistant director, costumer, writers and art director. But Roopa is an all rounder like Sachin Tendulkar as she has handled all these departments. That is the speciality of Chandra. I feel she has deep insight into all these aspects and she has really done brilliant work in the film, which you realise while watching it on screen.
How was your work experience with Shriya Saran?
I am big fan of Shriya Saran and I used to watch all her movies earlier. The director had not informed me about her casting, when she roped me for Chandra. But it came as a big surprise on the day of its opening. I was all thrilled to know that she would be my love interest in the movie. It was really fantastic experience to work with her.
How is your chemistry with Shriya?
My chemistry with Shriya is the main attraction in Chandra. It has come out very well and the credit goes to the director. Roopa had initially told us about the intimate scenes and the kind of movements she had composed for us, and she had asked us to be romantic as much as possible. Moreover, Shriya is very professional, friendly and jovial, which is another reason for the nice outcome. Our chemistry will definitely impress the viewers.
Were you uncomfortable doing intimate scenes with Shriya?
I did not have such feeling. I am a hero and she is a heroine. When we are characters, there won't be hesitation or uncomfortability. If we have such feelings, it look vulgar on screen. The more we are involved in it, the better it looks on screen.
Tell us about the music of Chandra.
Music is one of the biggest strengths of the film. Gautam Srivatsava had composed an introductory song for Chandra. I was thrilled to hear it at the opening ceremony of the film. It looked like a composition of music maestros like Ilayaraja and Hamsalekha. Seeing the perfection in its sounds, I felt that it was not composed by him, I thought he might have got it done for his launch. Later, Roopa told me about his talent and his work in the past.
Which is your favourite song in the movie?
All songs are my favourite. I can't point one of them because I liked a few songs for their sound effect and others for their visualisation. But the classical songs have got overwhelming response from the music lovers.
Tell us about your chisled body in Chandra?
Basically, I had undergone rigorous workouts and dieting for eight months for my another movie Shatru. I extended this for another three and half months for Chandra. I maintained fat abs for the film and it was easy.
Shatru has been in production for almost a year. Why has it been delayed for so long?
We have completed the shooting and post-production works for Shatru. But it has been delayed due to several reasons and financial problem is one of them.
What are you upcoming projects?
I have two projects in hand. I am teaming up with R Chandru again for his upcoming movie Male. I will also be seen in Preetham Gubbi's next directorial venture.