Working with Nagarjuna was a dream-come-true for me: Nani
The actor talks about sharing screen space with the veteran actor in Ashwini Dutt's production, acting in multi-starrers, Bigg Boss 2 and Jersey
After a disastrous Krishnarjuna Yuddham, Nani has pinned all his hopes on his upcoming action-comedy Devadas. The film is memorable to Nani for many reasons – his first multi-starrer, sharing screen space with actor Nagarjuna and his second project in Ashwini Dutt’s home production, after Yevade Subrahmanyam.
Excerpts from a conversation with the actor:
Did the failure of Krishnarjuna Yuddham (KAY) disappoint you a lot?
It has warded off the drishti (evil eye). I introspected what went wrong and realised that I didn’t make any mistake. Maybe we could’ve made some changes in the script. Otherwise, I gave my 100 per cent for the film and was confident of success. Unfortunately, people did not like it.
Your experience of working with actor Nagarjuna...
Initially, a lot was running in my mind. I had a lot of apprehensions as to how Nag sir would receive me and how do we get along on the sets. Chiranjeevi garu, Balakrishna garu, Nagarjuna garu and Venkatesh garu are senior actors and they are in a different league. You may call other senior actors your classmates or friends, but definitely not these stars. They have set the bar high and are the most respected artistes of our times.
As for Devadas, we shot our first combination scene with a song, and by afternoon, we got along well. I felt like I was working with an actor of my age group. Whenever I saw him on the sets, I used to recollect how I stood in the serpentine queues fighting to grab a ticket for his Ninne Pelladutha. After he saw the rough cut, he called me and appreciated me, especially mentioning the first five minutes of the film.
Was it a conscious decision to sign a multi-starrer?
There has been a debate that Telugu actors don’t work in multi-starrers. When the script of Devadas came my way, there was no looking back. I’m not an actor who has a lineage or stardom to worry about. Working in such films will help directors to come up with several fresh ideas. Also, getting a chance to star opposite Nagarjuna, whom I’ve idolised from my childhood days was like a dream-come-true for me. Adding to that, when Vyjayanthi is backing a film, there was no question of missing out on the opportunity.
People have been drawing comparisons to Gundamma Katha and Munnabhai MBBS..
It's only because we both look like brothers. Also, going by the promos, people thought the film is only driven by comedy, but the film is loaded with heart-touching emotions that will make a lasting impact. Of course, the storytelling is a bit like in Raju Hirani films.
How has life changed after Bigg Boss 2?
The show has changed me a lot as a person. I used to live in my own bubble assuming that people around me are soft-spoken and humble. I was taken aback after seeing the feedback and the responses I got for my hosting skills on several platforms. This experience gave me an altogether different perspective on life. These three months have been a life-changing journey for me.
I’m doing a film titled Jersey with Gowtam Tinnanuri. It will go on floors on Dasara. I’m taking cricket lessons for three-and-half hours a day to prepare for the batsman’s role. This is one film I will remember for the rest of my career.