Video Credit:

Life may have come full circle for South Indian icon Allu Arjun as he unveiled his wax statue at Madame Tussauds Dubai earlier this week. However, the big reveal wouldn’t be complete for the ‘Pushpa’ sensation without his tribe, including his wife, children, brother, in-laws, and even his kids’ best friend, joining him in that moment. He waited patiently as they joined him before unveiling his own wax figure in that iconic red jacket that he wore in the boardroom dance scene from his blockbuster film, ‘Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo’.

But the stirring moment that elicited the most number of cheers? When Allu Arjun, 41, insisted that a young boy who was waiting by the sidelines, apparently his child’s good mate, join his triumphant tribe and share that collectively happy moment.

“For every actor, this is a milestone moment … And for most people, family is their biggest strength. You spend most of your time with them and they are the people who deal with your core personality … Who you are, a lot of credit goes to them,” said Arjun in an interview with Gulf News.

TAB ALLU 100-1712229529164
Allu Arjun was with his wife, brother, in-laws, and his children at the unveiling of his wax statue at Madame Tussauds in Dubai

Going by our brief interaction with Allu Arjun and his yardstick that his family has shaped him, Allu Arjun appeared to be an actor who’s painfully modest and keenly aware of his privilege. He’s the son of prolific film producer Allu Aravind and the grandson of comedian Allu Ramalingaiah. He’s also related to actor Chirjanjeevi’s family since his paternal aunt is married to the veteran actor.

“In all honesty, I am extremely privileged. I have been very fortunate so far. I absolutely understand that because I know so many people who are struggling to enter this industry … I am always respectful of that and I know how fortunate I am to be here in this industry,” said Arjun, glancing at his wax replica behind him.

“There are very few milestones in your life for every actor, so being etched as this wax statue at Madame Tussauds Dubai is definitely a gold-class milestone for any celebrity in this world. It’s such a big moment. And this is my first and firsts will always be special,” he added.

TAB ALLU 145-1712229509933
Allu Arjun's wax figure was a culmination of over 200 measurements taken during a 'sitting' earlier this year with the actor

Speaking of firsts, winning his career’s first National Award last year for his role in the gangster epic ‘Pushpa: The Rise’ was another glorious feather in his cap. This film, which catapulted him into a new league and made him a familiar name across India, saw him play a gangster with incredible swagger.

“Pushpa was a career-defining movie. It was a good milestone moment where a regional South Indian actor like me became this Pan-Indian actor. It was a golden moment for me,” said Arjun.

The second instalment, with its original team including director Sukumar, actress Rashmika Mandanna, and actor Fahadh Faasil returning for its sequel, will be rolled out on August 15. Expectations are skyrocketing with this one, but Arjun isn’t worried. Its trailer will be launched later this week on April 8, coinciding with the actor’s birthday.

“It’s a very fortunate spot to be in as an actor … Expectations also mean that there are lots of people who really liked the product and are expecting the best to come out of you. I really hope I don’t disappoint them. But I am very positive,” said Arjun. The last sentence also rings true for Allu Arjun’s personality. He wants it all, he jokes — the reviews, the box-office success, the adulation.

PUSHPA 2-1712229520161
A still of Allu Arjun in 'Pushpa 2', scheduled to release in cinemas worldwide on August 15

So how does he go about choosing scripts?

“The scripts are important, but I always tell everybody that the intentions behind the project are the most important thing. I work with people who have the best intentions. Sometimes, an average script can become great if you have the best intentions,” said Arjun.

He’s also one of the most bankable stars in Telugu cinema today and has always taken pride in backing mainstream content. His movies — be it his whacky comedy ‘Ala Vaikunthapurrramuloo’ or political drama ‘Sarrainodu’ — are unapologetically commercial enterprises filled with songs, stunts, colour, and drama.

“I am unapologetic about being a mainstream actor … Playing the lead in a mainstream film is one of the biggest, toughest challenges … When you are doing a commercial film, you are pushing a person to their maximum potential — be it fight or dance scenes in extreme temperatures.”

It’s not as easy and effortless as it looks, he cautions.

“A mainstream actor needs to have multiple skill sets. He needs to be a good performer and needs to have a good idea about stunts and choreography too … Physically, it’s one of the toughest formats for any actor in the world and it’s very hard,” said Arjun.

But Allu Arjun is the long-enduring portrait of being a hero for such “masala” movies. When it comes to making money through his glossy entertaining films, Allu Arjun has mastered that space.

“But I still have lots more to do. I want to be the best and the most authentic version of myself … While I am enjoying a great phase in my life, I still have loads to do. I am not done yet,” said Arjun.

Did you know?
Allu Arjun is described as the king of dance, despite not being a trained dancer. But who are his biggest inspirations?

“Prabhu Deva and Michael Jackson”