Mysuru’s own Chikkanna from Kiraathaka to Upadhyaksha
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Mysuru’s own Chikkanna from Kiraathaka to Upadhyaksha

February 1, 2024

By S.N. Venkatnag Sobers

Having emerged from a humble background, Chikkanna has now risen to prominence as one of the most sought-after actors in the Kannada Film Industry. He stands out as one of the few actors to have shared the screen with almost every lead actor, from ‘Rocking Star’ Yash to ‘Kiccha’ Sudeep. With a career spanning over 200 movies since 2011, Chikkanna has recently taken a significant leap by starring as the lead actor in the film ‘Upadhyaksha.’ Star of Mysore caught up with the actor during his visit to Mysuru recently. Excerpts…

Star of Mysore (SOM): Congratulations on the tremendous success of the movie ‘Upadhyaksha’. Did you anticipate such a strong opening?

Chikkanna: Thank you. It’s indeed a fantastic opening and I honestly never expected such a positive response. As an actor, predominantly known for comic roles, being embraced by the audience in a leading role feels like a significant triumph.

SOM: Venturing into a lead role is a bold move. What influenced your decision?

Chikkanna: The decision was driven solely by the compelling story and narration presented to me. Given the success of the movie ‘Adhyaksha,’ we decided to create a sequel and fortunately, it has resonated well with the audience, which brings me immense joy. Additionally, I sought feedback from my friends and close circles, receiving a positive response. Subsequently, a meeting with the producer was arranged to move forward with the project.

SOM: Your filmography includes collaborations with a majority of lead actors such as Dr. Puneeth Rajkumar (late), Yash, Darshan Thoogudeepa, and ‘Kiccha’ Sudeep. This is a unique opportunity not many get. How did you manage to achieve this?

Chikkanna: Indeed, I consider myself fortunate to have worked alongside all the lead actors, not just in one movie but in many. The warmth and affection extended to me by everyone in the industry have been a blessing, motivating me to take on more projects. The widespread support from the entire Kannada film industry for ‘Upadhyaksha’ is a testament to the love I have received from all quarters.

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SOM: How did your journey into movies unfold? Was becoming a movie star something you  had envisioned?

Chikkanna: The journey into movies began unexpectedly during a rehearsal for a programme commemorating 75 years of Kannada film industry. Yash noticed my talent and subsequently cast me in the movie ‘Kiraathaka,’ marking the beginning of a transformative journey. I had never envisioned becoming a part of the film industry even in my wildest dreams. Initially involved in TV serials, thanks to Balanna, a television actor, the opportunity to feature in numerous movies was something I had never imagined.

SOM: Reflecting on your 13-year journey, how do you perceive it?

Chikkanna: The journey has been remarkably smooth without major challenges. I never actively sought opportunities; after ‘Kiraathaka’ with Yash, I naturally landed in smaller roles, which I took up  with dedication while continuing to work in television shows. The turning point came with ‘Raja Huli,’ once again alongside Yash. This paved the way for ‘Adhyaksha’ alongside Sharan and from that point onward, there has been a continuous and rewarding journey.

SOM: In numerous interviews, you’ve shared details about your background. Looking back, do you experience a sense of satisfaction?

Chikkanna: I do feel content and happy. Going from a point where I couldn’t even afford to buy a bicycle to the position I am in now, brings a deep sense of satisfaction.

SOM: Having taken on a lead role, do you envision doing only hero-centric roles in the future?

Chikkanna: No, not at all. I have upcoming movies where I play comic roles, such as ‘Choo Mantar,’ ‘Martin,’ and ‘Raju James Bond,’ which are to be released. I plan to continue portraying diverse characters, just as I have done in the past. If scripts similar to ‘Upadhyaksha’ come my way, I would certainly consider taking them up.

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SOM: For aspiring individuals in the industry, what advice would you offer?

Chikkanna: Success doesn’t come through shortcuts. Whether in the film industry or any other profession, hard work is the key to reaping rewards. It might take time, but persistence is crucial. As an example, ‘Upadhyaksha’ waited for three years before hitting the silver screens. Despite challenges such as big banner releases after COVID-19 and elections, we didn’t lose hope. The wait has proven worthwhile, with the movie enjoying a fantastic opening.

SOM: There have been instances of fan wars in recent times. What is your perspective on this?

Chikkanna: It’s heartening to see fans show immense love and admiration for their favourite heroes. However, this enthusiasm must not translate into conflicts among themselves. While there might be minor disagreements with a few individuals in the industry, it’s crucial to remember that tomorrow the same actors might collaborate in a movie. In the film industry, relationships are dynamic and one cannot definitively categorise anyone as a friend or a foe.

SOM: Your thoughts on Mysuru.

Chikkanna: Mysuru holds a special place in my heart. It’s the city where I grew up, blessed by the  presence of Goddess Chamundeshwari.

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