Venkatesh: Narappa is the most challenging character I have ever played in my career
Ahead of the digital premiere of Narappa on July 20, Venkatesh reflects on what working in remakes mean to him
Actor Venkatesh Daggubati is gearing up for his first direct digital release Narappa. A remake of Tamil action entertainer Asuran, Narappa is being directed by Srikanth Addala and also features Priyamani as the leading lady. Ahead of the film's digital premiere on July 20 on Amazon Prime Video, Venkatesh reflects on what working in remakes mean to him.
Narappa was originally made for a theatrical release. So what prompted the team to choose a direct digital release?
We are adapting to the methods while adhering to the present times. I am not a person who is bound by time and I think let us not question the time. At times, you have to take what comes to you. As an actor, I always believed in doing my work and put in the best efforts and left the decisions to producers on the release plans as high stakes are really high in the process. I knew that my fans were disappointed. But if we take a new path, these disappointments are bound to happen. I sincerely apologize to my fans for not releasing Narappa in theatres. They are wonderful people and I am sure they will respect this decision.
What is it about Narappa, the remake of the Tamil film, Asuran, that made you say yes to the project?
Asuran is one of the best films I have ever watched. I have never come across such a hard-hitting emotional drama in my life. It was my instinct that has made me say yes to this film. While many think that remakes are easy to work in, but recreating the world of Asuran was really difficult.
What are the challenges while adapting a celebrated movie into a different language and culture?
Narappa is the most challenging character I have ever played in my career. The film showcases a bundle of emotions and I worked really hard to get these things right. The obvious challenge is to avoid comparisons. So I have added my own style and signature to it. Dhanush is an outstanding actor and he did a great job. I would say this character, literally, tested me a lot and I really enjoyed portraying it. I would say he would have felt the same when he acted in the Tamil remake of my film, Aadavari Matalaku Arthale Verule.
As for the preparation, I never detached from the character. Even after pack up, I chose to remain in the same costume to not get myself emotionally disconnected from this role. I would say it was exhausting to portray this motley of emotions in the film. It's really refreshing to portray a strong character after many years. Frankly, I never plan to do remakes, but they happened that way. The audience is happy and the producers are happy with the choices I have made. It's important to respect everyone's style of functioning.
How did Srikanth Addala come on board as the director for Narappa?
He worked with me in the past (for Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu). We believed that he would do justice to this film and approached him. Srikanth worked hard, made a lot of changes to the original and has done a commendable job. The audience will know about it after watching the film.
Aren't you working overtime with so many films at the same time?
I am really lucky to be associated with multiple projects. There were days when I had no work. So doing multiple films at these trying (pandemic) times feels amazing. I am having a ball portraying different characters that depict varied emotions.
You are doing a film with director Tharun Bhascker...
We had planned to collaborate in a sports drama, but we are working on something else now. It's too early to talk about it as things had to fall into place.
Tell us about Drushyam 2 and F3.
We have wrapped up Drushyam 2 in an uninterrupted single schedule. The film is ready for release. It is another film that has challenged the actor in me. Mohanlal is a brilliant actor and to step into his shoes is really difficult. I am confident that everyone will like our film. As for F3, the shooting is in progress.
What lessons have you imbibed during this pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded one and all that let's not take things lightly. This pandemic has taught us all a big lesson -- we should build a positive mindset in life and take one step (a day) at a time. I have learned to respect everything God has given me.