Actor Gopichand is a happy man. His latest film Pantham collected Rs 5.2 crores on the opening day with a distributor share of Rs 3.22 crores. A lot was riding on the film as the actor hasn’t had a good release in a long time.
The actor’s on-screen avatar of the brooding aggressive man worked for some time, but soon the audience started losing interest in his films. His last hit was Loukyam in 2014, after which his career came to a standstill. The films that followed – Jil, Soukhyam, Goutham Nanda, Oxygen and the much-delayed release Aaradugula Bulletu – failed to make any mark.
As I sit for a chat with Gopichand after a gap of two years, I realise there’s a lot to talk about, especially with the actor trying to boost his career; he has his hopes pinned on Pantham. But it’s a challenge to make the usually reticent actor talk.
Was he under a lot of pressure before the release of Pantham? “I don’t think it’s specific to this film. I’d be lying if I said I don’t get nervous before the release of any of my films. So much work goes into them that you desperately want the film to strike a chord with the audience. You are obviously disappointed when that doesn’t happen, you have no choice but to move on,” he says.
While the opening numbers for Pantham are promising, it remains to be seen if the film will sustain the momentum through the week. The actor makes a candid confession. “Over the last few years, I have been struggling with my choice of films. These films had great stories, but were not well executed. This time, I didn’t want to take any risk,” he says. The film’s cinematographer Prasad Murella was instrumental in convincing the actor that despite it being director K. Chakravarthy’s first film, he would do a remarkable job. “In fact, Prasad garu took extreme care about each and every aspect of the film,” Gopichand says.
For an actor who has been in the industry for a long time, how did Gopichand not realise that things were not going in the right direction during the making of his last few films? Gopichand takes a moment before he answers. “Frankly, there’s a point during the making of the film when you realise that things aren’t working out. But, it’s too late then. The producer has already invested a great deal of money and all you can do is attempt to salvage the film,” he says. “You might wonder how we go ahead and promote a film with a straight face despite knowing that. But, the answer is simple. You have to fulfill your commitment to a project and that’s exactly what I have been doing.”
Though the actor is not at the top of his game now, Pantham marks an important milestone in his career – it is his 25th film. But, Gopichand says he treats every film like his first. “Yes, 25 is a good number, but there is nothing to rave about it. I am happy to have survived the journey this long and happier that I have a long way to go. What more can I ask for?”