Nikhil Siddhartha on Kirrak Party: It’s the best campus drama since Happy Days

In an exclusive chat with Hindustan Times, Nikhil Siddhartha opened up about working on Kirrak Party and explained why the film couldn’t be coming at a better time.

regional movies Updated: Mar 17, 2018 12:25 IST
Kirrak Party,Nikhil Siddhartha,Nikhil Siddhartha actor
Kirrak Party actor Nikhil Siddhartha says shooting for this film was a memorable experience.

It’s been over a decade since the release of Sekhar Kammula’s heartwarming Telugu campus drama Happy Days, which was celebrated by audiences and critics alike and launched the careers of actors such as Varun Sandesh, Tamannaah Bhatia and Nikhil Siddhartha among others. Since then, there hasn’t been a single noteworthy college-based story in Telugu cinema. However, all that’s going to change with this week’s Telugu release, Kirrak Party (remake of Kirik Party), which Nikhil describes as a nostalgic throwback to the college days. In an exclusive chat with Hindustan Times, Nikhil opened up about the project and explained why the film couldn’t be coming at a better time.

“It’s been ten years since I did a college-based film. Happy Days will always remain a special film. Even though I did some good projects over the years, I believe Kirrak Party was memorable, simply because it gave me the opportunity to revisit my college days. It was a very new experience to go back to college and feel young,” Nikhil said, assuring that Kirrak Party will be the best campus drama since Happy Days. “People who loved Happy Days will love this even more. You’ll find more campus drama, love and action,” he said.

The film is the official remake of 2016 Kannada blockbuster Kirik Party, which featured Rakshit Shetty, Rashmika Mandanna and Samyuktha Hegde in the lead. Nikhil, without mincing words, says Kirrak Party is a faithful remake. “The soul of the film hasn’t been changed. We’ve made slight changes to suit Telugu sensibilities. We’ve made a faithful remake. What really got me excited about the project is that Telugu audiences have not experienced a college-based film in a long time. It’ll be a refreshing experience for them. The exam season is just getting over and I believe we’re coming to cinemas at the right time”

Talking more about the project, Nikhil said: “There are two things we couldn’t change and we’re glad we didn’t. The original was a campus-based musical and all the songs were received very well. Therefore, we couldn’t tamper with the music. We also couldn’t replace Samyuktha because she was terrific in the original. Since she’s not familiar to Telugu audiences, we retained her in her role. Rashmika, on the other hand, had already done two Telugu films. We wanted a fresh face for her role and hence decided to not to go with her.”

Nikhil had a whale of a time shooting for the project. “I’d reach the sets before everybody because I would excitedly look forward to the shoot each day. It’s a project that’s very close to the hearts of all of us involved in its making. I need to thank my producer Anil Sunkara for bringing this project to me,” he said, adding he had to beef up for his role. “It’s the story of the rise of a guy from first year of college till the point he becomes the college union leader. I had to look young and lean for the initial portion of the college and subsequently gain weight as I become the leader. I gained about ten kilos to play the latter portion of the film. The weight gaining process, which took me about 4-5 months, also resulted in delay of commencement of the shoot. It’s one of the projects where I had great scope to perform and at the same time had fun shooting”.

Nikhil will next be seen in the Telugu remake of Tamil film Kanithan, which shone the spotlight on fake certificates. Asked about his sudden fascination for remakes, he said: “As much as I admit Kirrak Party is a remake, I have to clarify that we’re not exactly remaking Kanithan. We’re taking the issue it addresses, which is about fake certificates, and we will treat it differently.” He also said it’s just a coincidence that he’s doing two remakes in succession and didn’t plan it that way. “After Kanithan, I’ll be working on Karthikeya 2 with Chandoo Mondeti. It’ll be a proper sequel. I also have two other projects but it’s too early to talk about them.”

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First Published: Mar 17, 2018 12:18 IST