Ashish Vidyardhi is a familiar face to Telugu audiences although he is not a frequently cast actor. He has given good performances in his two-and-half-long filmy career in Telugu cinema.
Take his character in ‘Pokiri’ — a corrupt police officer with a comical-yet-defiant demeanour, SP Mallikarjun in ‘Aagadu’, Danny Bhai in Mahesh Babu’s ‘Athidhi’ or the character Rammurthy in ‘iSmart Shankar’, Vidyarthi got to play diverse and versatile roles that earned a special name in the hearts of Telugu moviegoers.
Now after a brief pause post Covid, he is playing the role of a father in the upcoming Telugu film ‘Writer Padmabushan’ starring actor Suhas in the lead. “I play the father of the protagonist in the film. He is simple. He has a fixed way of living life. The wife should be treated this way and son should be treated this way, neighbours .. and then suddenly when something different happens in his life. And that I’m not going to reveal,” he laughs adding, “There’s gonna be an amazing twist in the end. I promise Telugu audiences wholesome laughter. If I’ve to put it another way, it’s a funny thriller. It has heart, humour and varied emotions.”
Starring Suhas, senior actress Rohini, Ashish Vidyarthi, and Tina Shilparaj in the lead roles, ‘Writer Padmabhushan’ is a quirky and humorous tale of an aspiring writer from Vijayawada city whose life treads a roller-coaster ride in his endeavour to publish a book. Directed by debutant Shanmukha Prasanth, the film is being bankrolled under the banners Chai Bisket Films and Lahari Films.
Having started his Telugu debut with J.D Chakravarthy’s ‘Pape Naa Pranam’ way back in 1998, the senior actor bagged memorable roles if not career-defining ones in Telugu. At a time when he was finding it hard to get roles in Bollywood, Vidhhyarthi admits that it was producers and filmmakers from Telugu who offered him good roles. “I’m grateful to the directors here in Telugu for giving me a lot of variety. South India welcomed me with good roles that I can’t forget in a lifetime. I owe my work to the South Indian film industry,” he smiles.
Although he started as an actor in Hindi films in 1991, he has done more films in South than in Hindi. “Surprisingly, I’ve done close to 180 films in various languages in the South compared to 40-odd films in Bollywood,” he says.
How did you manage all these 25 years in the south film industry without your voice?
“As an actor, you’re told that your voice is an asset. But language is not one of my strengths. I’d shuffle from one industry to another and somebody would dub it. From now on, I will not try, I will just do it in Telugu,” he admits.