Rangayana Raghu has wooed his audience with his acting in films. He has come a long way from his debut in the Shivaraj Kumar starrer Bhoomi Thaiyiya Chochchala Maga. The actor has donned every kind of a role from a corrupt swamiji to a lazy cop and assorted comic characters with a dark shade. He won awards for his performances in Duniya and Cyanide. The actor was last seen as a police officer in the comic caper, French Biriyani. Raghu, got the moniker Rangayana as he worked in the eponymous theatre troupe, run by the legendary BV Karanth. The actor talks to MetroPlus about his journey from stage to screen and more. Excerpts.
How did your journey into the world of theatre begin?
I did my schooling and college in National College, Basavanagudi. The principal, H Narasinhaiah encouraged students to participate in cultural and sports activities apart from studies. I was never too keen on studying and failed a couple of times. When I went to college, I got involved with theatre and fared well. Iwas inspired by my father who was an agriculturist and a theatre artiste back home. He was a part of every bialaata (folk theatre) that happened in our village. I dreamt of following in his footsteps. I felt if I took up acting, I will not have to ever study again. (laughs). That was when I met Rajashekara Kamabara, who with his father, Chandrashekar, advised me to study theatre seriously and referred me to Rangayana.
After I was selected, I found the first six months hard to get through. I was homesick and shocked at the amount of books I was given to read. It was only when we started doing public shows that I started getting passionate about acting.
Now we see you more on screen and not so much on stage….
True. I last performed on stage in 2001. After that I have been busy with films. My wife Mangala and I started a theatre group, Sanchari, which is 18 years old now. The group is active. Even though I may not be actively involved in it, I am still a part of it and help in choosing the plays, give suggestions and so on.
Many theatre actors say it is hard for them to adapt to cinema style acting as everything has to be controlled. What is your take on this?
When I first started acting in films, I was distracted by the term ‘cut’. On stage you act in a flow, in cinema, you get interrupted often. And it is shot in bits and pieces. There are also days when you shoot the last scene first and vice versa. Many a times you do not even understand the continuity of the story because of this. It took me five years to get used to working in cinema. It was only during dubbing that I would realise what was happening and would try and better myself in the next film.
On stage you have explored many characters, but in most films you are typecast in comic roles. How do you feel about it?
If I get choosy, I will come across as a man with a superiority complex. As an actor, one does not always get the role he/she likes. So I try and do something new with every film I get. And somewhere a fan will come and say he liked that particular improvisation and then I feel satisfied as an actor.
How has life been in the past few months?
Life is the most important. The past few months have been hard for everyone, including actors. No one sought entertainment, but everyone fought for life. So once life and health is there, only then does entertainment enter the picture. We have seen tsunamis and natural disasters and disease, but this one has locked up the entire world. Cinema and the limelight are not as important as being alive. Whether I am a doctor or an actor, we are all human and we all love life.
Now the shooting style has also changed…
Yes. It is different to work now. The government has released the lockdown, but the pandemic has not yet released us. So, we have to be cautious and look for a corona style of acting.