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Naga Chaitanya: I have changed my approach towards films- Cinema express

Naga Chaitanya: I have changed my approach towards films


Naga Chaitanya on Thank You, Bollywood debut, script selection, and his approach towards a character

Published: 19th July 2022

After delivering two back-to-back hits, Naga Chaitanya is eyeing a hat-trick with his July 22 release Thank You. "The film tells the story of Abhiram from his teens to late 30s. The character has a lot of layers which, I felt, was challenging to perform. Working in Thank You was both physically and mentally exhausting as I have to sport three distinct looks. I have attended workshops for three months and transformed my body to get into the skin of the character. I enjoyed the whole process because a script like Thank You is rare to come by. I won't be able to play a teenager again in my career. So I approached this film thinking this is my last chance to play a 16-year-old. The emotional conflict in our film will definitely tug at your heartstrings," says Chaitanya, adding, "I am playing a Mahesh Babu fan in the film and there are references of films like Okkadu (2003), Pokiri (2006) and Dookudu (2011)."

The Bangarraju actor says that Thank You has transformed him as a person. "I am a man of few words and was not expressive. But this film has changed me as a person and I have become more expressive now. I also feel closer to my friends and parents than ever before."

The film also features Raashi Khanna as the leading lady. "Raashi's character acts as a catalyst and helps Abhiram to introspect on life. In fact, it is her character that changes the course of the narrative and brings about the change in Abhiram's character. The film also stars Avika Gor in the role of my sister," shares the actor.

The film brings Chaitanya and director Vikram K Kumar together after Manam (2014). "Vikram is a perfectionist. You can learn a lot just by observing him. All his stories appear simple on paper, but they are not! Be it Manam (2014) or 24 (2016), his stories have many layers and many magical moments. I like the way he breaks the logic to entertain the audience," observes Chaitanya.

Up next, Chaitanya is teaming up with director Venkat Prabhu for a Telugu-Tamil bilingual. "It's a commercial entertainer that is both sensible and intelligent while being in my element. I am playing a cop in it and for the first time, I am trying to break my image with this film. Also, Venkat and I contemplated remaking Maanaadu (2021) in Telugu, but it didn't work out. I am glad that Rana Daggubati is now remaking it in Telugu," says Chaitanya, adding, "I recently met director Parasuram Petla (Bujji) and discussed a storyline. We will meet again in a week or so and finalise the script and other modalities. Tharun Bhascker, too, narrated an exciting line and it's also in the pipeline."

The Akkineni scion is also testing waters in Bollywood in a special role in Aamir Khan-starrer Laal Singh Chaddha. "It's a dream come true to work with Aamir Khan. He is a wonderful mentor, who never demands us to perform in a certain way. But we will get to learn the (acting) process if we spend some time with him. Likewise, I have learned a lot from him and it feels exciting to be associated with a film featuring a talented actor like him. I am playing an Army officer, who is also a good friend of Aamir in the film. I am eagerly waiting to see how the Hindi audience will receive me. I will continue to work in Bollywood only if I get acceptance there," says the Ye Maaya Chesave actor.

Chaitanya is also making his digital debut with the Amazon Prime series Dhoota. "I play a hero without a heroine in Dhoota. The shooting will be completed by August and the series will stream either in January or in the first quarter of 2023," shares Chaitanya.

Throwing light on changing film viewing preferences of audiences, Chaitanya explains, "The taste and movie choices of the audience have changed considerably. They have become more selective and they will watch a film only if it has an exciting factor. Having said that, I have changed my approach towards films and have been prioritising scripts that are rich in content."

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