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Manam is a milestone film to all of us - Nagarjuna


Nagarjuna claims ‘Manam’ is a great achievement for Akkineni family and is the best classic film ever for Late Akkineni Nageswara Rao, Naga Chaitanya and him in their film careers. According to him, ‘Manam’ is a complicated story, but he went ahead with the project after getting confirmation from his dad Nageswara Rao about the film’s success. Directed by Vikram K Kumar, ‘Manam’ had a great opening on May 23 and screenings proved to be a grand success. On this occasion Nagarjuna organized a press meet on Saturday and shared some of his beautiful memories of ‘Manam’.

Nagarjuna success meet about ManamIn his words, “Wonders happen only when the work is done with dedicated heart.  ‘Manam’ is the film which Akkineni family sincerely attempted and became successful.  I’m very happy with tremendous response of the film.  However, the enjoyment is incomplete with the absence of our parents.  On the other hand we are fully satisfied for delivering a good film to the audience. All those who watched the film are saying that it was a wonderful gift from dad and I do agree that.  It will remain as the best classic film ever in our careers.”

'Manam' was a complicated story
“I strongly believe in rebirth.  That’s the reason for doing ‘Janaki Ramudu’ under Raghavendra Rao garu’s direction and now ‘Manam’ with Vikram. The credit of film’s success belongs to the entire unit equally.  All of us liked the script of ‘Manam’ but it was a complicated story.  Therefore I did not want to take risk as my judgment proved to be wrong in ‘Bhai’ and ‘Greeku Veerudu’.  So when I asked for father’s advice, he confidentially said that it will be a big hit if it’s told in an understandable manner even to a kid.  That has boosted my confidence level and made me go ahead with the script work for another six months. Similarly Raghavendra Rao garu suggested me to be very careful with every aspect of the film. ‘Manam’ is a classic film not just in dad’s career, but in Chaitu’s and mine as well.”

Dad encouraged Chaitu and gave him full support
“Films with characters like grandfather and grandson is a success formula, and the audience expect great comedy from this combination.  In ‘Manam’ too, scenes between father and Chaitanya are big hit.  All have been specially designed.  Infact, Chaitu felt it very difficult to call dad ‘Musaloda’.  But dad encouraged him and gave his full support.  At one point of time, I used to feel nervous to share the screen space with dad. Chaitu experienced the same when he had to act with both of us.  He played dual role in ‘Manam’, both of which were difficult and he did complete justice to both. Samantha’s character is yet another pillar to the film. Shriya too gave wonderful performance as doctor and as village belle. This could be her best performance in her career, especially the heart beat scene. Amala played cameo as dance teacher in the film when the actual artist did not turn up.  Overall it’s a milestone film for all of us.”

I felt like giving a slipper slap
“I launched the first trailer through dad and screened it to distributors. Few of them asked for change the voice since they felt that dad’s voice was wobbling.  At that moment I felt like giving a slipper slap, but I was helpless.  We even brought four mimicry artists.  But dad was not in favour of it.  We knew that the audience accept a new voice, having got used to dad’s voice for 70 years.  Luck and his will power permitted him to complete his dubbing part in three days.  The same voice got accolades in theaters.”

Kamal Haasan said 'Manam is a great tribute to ANRNagarjuna success meet about Manam
Kamal Haasan garu had good attachment with dad.  He watched ‘Manam’ and spoke about it for an hour over phone.  He was in tears saying that it’s a great tribute to him.  Similarly we got the idea of Amitabh Bachchan’s special role only after the completion of the film and he agreed to do it without any hesitation.  We would have definitely planned few scenes in his combination with dad, had we got the idea before.”

Mahesh Babu was keen to know how we judged the story
“After watching ‘Manam’, Mahesh called me to know how we have judged this story.  He appreciated Vikram’s style of filmmaking and told me that several big directors appreciated Vikram’s work. He said he had heard a story from Vikram and also asked me to listen to and advice accordingly.”

'Manam' was not made for commercial purpose
“Offers are pouring in for ‘Manam’ rights.  Nonetheless this being dad’s last film and a special film for us, we do not want to make commercial and loose its flavor.  That’s the reason why we have decided not to give away the rights to anyone.  I never bothered to know about its collections also. ‘Premabhishekam’ would have crossed 100 crores club had it been delivered now.  I’m sure Telugu cinema will reach 100 crores club in the near future.  But I do not want our film to be let down by comparing with those.”

Comparing with Mahesh Babu was a great compliment for Akhil 
“I’m very happy with Akhil acting debut. I’m now relaxed.  He has got clarity and confidence in his work.  Going by his screen presence, many said that he would become yet another prince Mahesh Babu.  It’s a great compliment for Akhil even without doing a single film.  Vikram has 40 more stories. I told him to narrate few good stories to Akhil and I’m going to produce his maiden film.”

I decided to do roles that are suitable to my age
“From now onwards I’ve decided to produce feel good films like ‘Uyyala Jampala’.  Likewise I’ve also taken the decision of doing roles that suit my age.  I want to do more of muti-starer films.  It’s known about my next project with NTR.  But after watching ‘Manam’, NTR asked for a change of script.  So far, I’ve been recognized as a star.  Now I’m confident of becoming one among you with my television show ‘Meelo Evaru Koteeswarudu’.  It’s a great feeling along with great experience. When I told Amitabh garu about this show, he just said one thing, ‘You will be completely changed by the end of this show.’ I feel the change in me within five to six episodes.  I thank the audience on behalf of Akkineni family for making the film successful and making my dream come true,” Nagarjuna concluded.

Updated on April 24, 2020