I like to challenge myself as an actor: Jr NTR
Jr NTR opens up about his TV experience and the challenges he encountered playing three contrasting roles in his next outing Jai Lava Kusa which comes out this Thursday
Jr NTR doesn’t want to be biased towards any role and finds all three characters he plays in the upcoming actioner Jai Lava Kusa close to his heart. “As an actor, I don’t want to name one and sabotage the others. The three roles have been made with a lot of heart and soul and I enjoyed performing each of them. However, I find Jai really special as it’s completely contrasting to what I've done in the past. At the same time, the film is incomplete without Lava and Kusa.”
He admits that playing the anti-hero has been physically demanding too. “Jai is definitely the toughest role among the three--both emotionally and physically. It is a demanding character, and I had to push myself to look convincing on screen. These characters took a toll on me. I like to challenge myself as an actor and I tried to internalise each role,” says the 34-year-old actor, who was subconsciously inspired by the roles of his late grandfather NTR from Bhale Thammudu and Daana Veera Soora Karna.
From stammering to portraying three difficult roles, NTR has gone through a taxing journey. “I have gone through several difficulties and I don’t know how I struck a balance between the three characters. I was ably supported by my brother Kalyan Ram, and co-stars Raashi, Nivetha, director Bobby and other unit members.”
He reveals that he didn’t visit any therapist to get the stammering act right for Jai’s character. “I don’t believe in the system of coaching. I’m a learner myself. When do we first act? The first time we lie to our parents and gets caught. I realised that people try to exaggerate specific sounds to stutter. Like Jai stammers while saying a word dh…dh… to say dhairyam, I tweaked it a bit and made it look like dh…dh…airyam.”
Apart from being brothers, what’s the one aspect that’s common to the three roles? He shares, “Although they are three identical characters, their emotions are the same. They always talk about one particular aspect missing in their life, and there’s also the wish of a mother who hopes that her sons would be Rama, Lakshmana and Bharatha.”
Although the film has got Hollywood makeup expert Vance Hartwall aboard, NTR maintains that he never used the masks. “We got three layers of prosthetic masks for the three roles. While one role is in focus, we thought of blurring the others so that we could use these masks. Once we shot, we didn’t go for any shortcuts and didn’t use them.”
He agrees that after Janatha Garage won many accolades, he felt a greater sense of responsibility as an actor. “With success, there lies a responsibility. There has also been a constant pressure which makes me give 101 percent.”
“Our life is divided into many stages and I know that both good and bad phases come and go. Rather than cribbing about the bad, I take these things positively and try to enjoy my journey. I vow to deliver good films and also strive to improve myself to entertain the audience and fans,” he adds.
The actor admits that playing three roles took a toll on him and he credits Bigg Boss for giving him a break away from these intense characters. “The most challenging aspect is moving away from the three characters. In Bigg Boss, I played my usual self and that show helped me with leaving the characters behind. I used to unwind by talking and laugh a lot on the show,” reveals NTR, who is yet to decide on hosting the second season of the reality show.
Bigg Boss has been a life-changing experience in many celebrities’ career. Ask NTR what lessons he learnt from the show, and he says with pride, “For me, the biggest take away from Bigg Boss was learning how to stop being inhumane. We have to stay away from the luxurious life with zero contact from the outside world. Technology is to make life easy, but not to steal away the sole essence of being humans. The show helped the contestants, and me, the host, to get back to ground reality.”