The first time I looked at pictures of Siddharth (shown to me by stimpy, good friend and my door to South-Indian cinema), I thought to myself, "Eh, cross a puppy and a young Portuguese football player and you get this guy. Sure, whatever."
Fast-forward a month or four, and I watched Rang De Basanti, which I adored. The Portuguese football player/puppy cross guy was in it, too, but I was too busy drying my Madhavan-induced tears to pay attention. Everybody else was kicking up a fuss about him, though, a hype that I brushed off quite quickly. Yeah, so he can act. Whatever.
Again, time went by, and somewhere along the line I started seeing a long, long Telugu film title pop up here and there. During one of my visits to stimpy's wonderful film library, she nudged the very same film into my pile of borrowed titles. Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana, the film was called. "Everybody's been talking about this film," I said with a shrug. "I guess I could see it."
I popped it in with low expectations and was soon presented with ...
In retrospect, this was the watershed event. I know many people, even existing Siddharth fans, found his character Santosh annoyingly hyper - like a kid high on sugar - during the first half of NVNN. Not me. I love all of it. Ostrich pants, random dancing included.
And now, after having seen everything with this guy (and owning all but two of his movies), it's quite embarrassing to admit that what drew me in was not his award-winning serious acting, but rather the young but fantastic all-around entertainer with an eye for good scripts that we see mainly in his four Telugu films (NVNN, Bommarillu, Aata and Chukkallo Chandrudu - in my personal order of preference). On the other hand I could argue that this Siddharth is exactly what Indian cinema overall needs; younger heroes with not only the sufficient acting and dancing skills but also enough charm to genuinely win over audiences, not just ape the older stars that do.
Tragic times have struck us, though. Since the Vishal Bharadwaj AIDS awareness short, Blood Brothers (also starring Ayesha Takia and Pankaj Kapur), Siddharth hasn't been filming anything. His name is connected to a number of things, but nothing official about anything as far as I know.
Regardless, if you find yourself shaking your head reading this post, or any of the exuberant praise that I give this guy in this blog, don't worry, I didn't see it either for a very long time. In fact, I think the real revelation only happened after I saw Bommarillu and realized I couldn't wait to see whatever his next film would be. The film was of course Aata, and you all know how I feel about that film (obsessed is a good word).
This concludes the first post in my