Talking about the film, the actor says, “Crores of people pray to Tirupati Venkatachalapathy, but very few people know the history of the pilgrim centre… how it came into existence, how Srinivasa Perumal became Venkatachalapathy, and the legends associated with the God. There are nine emotions in stories and this film will have all these navarasas.”
Ask him why he said ‘yes’ to a mythological film so early in his career and Shyam says, “When Bombay Gnanam approached me, I asked her if she was planning to do this as a play, as she has done several similar spirituality-themed plays. She told me that she was going to make a film, and that’s why she wanted me as the lead. I am a big fan of Rajini sir. Generally, you think of him as a Superstar or as an action hero, but he has also played Sri Raghavendra Swamy and that is what gave me the inspiration to agree to this role. While he could do a film on Raghavendra only with his 100th film, I consider it a blessing to be playing Venkatachalapthy in the beginning of my career itself.”
The other inspiration was legendary actor NT Rama Rao, he adds. “When you talk about devotional films, especially one involving Lord Vishnu, NTR is the actor who comes to our mind, so it was quite a challenge to play one of the forms of Perumal. At every stage, I was ably supported by Bombay Gnanam and our talented crew who made me look like a God and made me believe I was a God,” he adds.
The actor says he watched two films as reference to play the role — Rajinikanth’s Sri Raghavendrar (1985) and Nagarjuna’s Annamayya (1997). “Even this film’s climax involves Annamayya and how he attains moksha after falling at the feet of Venkatachalapathy. It will leave everyone feeling very emotional,” he assures and adds, “This film will not only appeal to those who watch devotional movies, but to anyone who watches commercial cinema. Just like how they watch the Spider-man or Superman films, this one will feel like a namma ooru superhero padam.”
The team has completed shooting for the film and Shyam says that the final copy will be ready by next month.