Vishal is Kollywood’s biggest success story in recent times. He came to the industry in 2004, and within a short span of four years and just six films has risen to the top.
He has zoomed past more established names and is today considered not only a ‘saleable star’ but a ‘safe bet’ by the distributors. The production cost of his new film Sathyam is a whopping Rs 27 crore, the combined cost of all his earlier six films put together! And Sathyam scheduled to release on August 14, has been sold all areas, including a record price for its Telugu version Salute.
What makes Vishal Reddy, the tall, dark hero with unconventional looks click with the masses as an action hero? It is his fiery determination backed by hard work, discipline, and commitment that got him to the top in a record time.
Like most of the new generation actors, he is also an industry child. He is the son of veteran producer GK Reddy and younger brother of Vikram Krishna who tried to be a hero and ended up as a producer. He had the right connections and at a young age was influenced by Ram Gopal Varma films and wanted to be his assistant.
Since his parents did not want him to go to Mumbai, he assisted ‘action king’ Arjun who saw the spark of an action hero in him. Later Vicky (brother) launched him with Chellamay, directed by Gandhi Krishna which went on to become a hit. However it was Sandakozhi directed by Lingusamy and produced by Vicky that went on to become a blockbuster, and a star was born.
In his early days, Vishal was influenced by Vijay type of mass masala movies where he played the larger-than-life action hero who is an all-rounder singing, dancing and fighting on screen. In films like Thimiru, Thamarabharani and Malaikottai he virtually cloned Vijay’s success formula and was able to create his own fan base in B & C centres.
Vishal, who started as an assistant director, was able to correctly read the pulse of the mass audiences, and the industry grapevine has it that he ‘ghost directs’ his film. And his brother Vikram Krishna too played a big role in Vishal’s success story by choosing the right projects and betting big on his younger brother. What Bonny Kapoor was to Anil Kapoor in his early days, Vicky is to Vishal. The two are also adept at marketing their films.
Many veterans in the industry point out that Vishal is the biggest marketing success of the decade in Kollywood. After winning over the B & C audiences the mass hero wants to take over the upper class audience with Sathyam. “Sathyam is an unusual cop story, with a great twist. I play an encounter cop in the film. Director Rajasekharan is trying to say something different. We are trying to make it exactly opposite of the usual formula cop story.
My role model for the character I play is ACP Shailendra Babu. He gave me a peek into the life of a real life cop,” says Vishal. The film has Kannada superstar Upendra playing a role with negative shades and the glamorous Nayanthara playing the role of a television reporter.
To make it realistic Vishal says, “I toned my body and did regular work-outs, to get that six- pack abs look, which was important for the story. People tell me I really look like a cop in the promos of the film.”
Vishal added he has been largely influenced by Shankar school of film making. “Sathyam is a mega budget film which has grandeur, visual effects, awesome action scenes, including a never seen before car chase through the streets of Chennai, choreographed by Craig Munna, peppy music by Harris Jayaraj and splendid camera work by cinematographer RD Rajasekhar,” says Vishal. There will be an audio launch of the film next week in Chennai. Sathyam is Harris Jayaraj’s 25th film and there are five songs in the album.
One of the highlights of the film is the steamy hot soft erotic song picturised on Vishal and Nayanthara, where they will lip-lock. Added Vishal: “It is the hottest song you will ever see on Tamil cinema. Harris has composed very unusual numbers for the film, which are sure going to be hits.”
Meanwhile Vicky is working out the release strategy of the film which is due on August 14, as he is trying to market Vishal as the “first macho action hero in Kollywood, with rippling muscles.” Source: timesofindia
Cast: Vishal, Nayanthara, Upendra, Premji Gangai Amaran
Music: Harris Jayaraj
Production: Vikram Krishna