‘King’ Nagarjuna talks about his latest film ‘Bhai’, which is releasing on October 25. ‘Bhai’ is said to be a clean family entertainer written and directed by Veerabhadram and produced by Nagarjuna by casting himself and Richa Gangopadhyay in lead roles. It’s not new to the Telugu audience to see him in different get-ups. He is one of those heroes who never believe in star image. In recent times also, he did films from different genre like ‘Rajanna’, ‘Shirdi Sai’ and ‘Dhamarukam’. “Acting is magic for me. It gives me bread and butter. So I’ll continue acting in films as long as I can. I don’t have the habit of thinking about future though,” says Nagarjuna. On the eve of ‘Bhai’ release on October 25, the charismatic individual gave a media interview. Read on to discover several things about his working methods and projects.
Tell us about your role in ‘Bhai’.
My character has three different shades. I’ll be seen as a right hand to Bhai in Hong Kong, as a Mafia Don in Hyderabad and as a common man who reunite the separated families. ‘Bhai’ will be a good family entertainer with complete stylish action sequences.
You are a lead actor and also producer for this film. What is it like from being in front of camera and also taking part in production activities?
We took lot of care for this film as it is coming from our banner after ‘Rajanna’. The value of every rupee spent will be seen in the film. Without any compromise, we allocated the budget required for the film and carved it without wasting a single rupee. An old city set was erected to shoot the major part of the film. Shooting at Slovenia is an unforgettable experience. Those structures have amazed me. The entire first half is on mafia backdrop and the second half is filled with entertainment on old city backdrop. Fights are very stylish. The family audience will enjoy to the maximum extent. The highlights of the film are feel good songs, punch dialogues and Brahmanandam-J.P-M.S comedy.
What is your favourite thing about Devisri’s music?
Devi has a different style of music. All movies in our combination are musical hits. He is a specialist in doing title songs. He rocked with title songs in Chiranjeevi’s ‘Shankar Dada’, ‘King’, Pawan Kalyan’s ‘Gabbar Singh’ and once again the title song in ‘Bhai’. Besides the title song in ‘Bhai’, I’ve one more favourite song ‘Most Wanted…’ sung by Mamta Mohandas.
While talking about dialogues, Nag recollected one of the shooting incidents. He said, “Recently while packing up the shooting at a hospital, someone asked me, “Enti Sir Aaru Daatithe Playboy avutaara?” I couldn’t stop laughing. That shows to what level dialogues got connected with the people. There are several dialogues in the film that would capture the audience’s attention. ‘Bhai Bullets’ trailer received tremendous response.
What was it like to work with Richa Gangopadhyay?
Richa is a fantastic costar. She did a funny character in this film. I’m sure that she will earn a good name in this film. Her dance performances were also good.
How was it to work with Reliance Entertainment?
I like to do business with new people. So we tied up only for future relationship. Otherwise I don’t think Annapurna Studios and Reliance need to tie-up as both the production houses are big and made films on par with Hollywood standards.
Could you tell us about the progress of ‘Manam’?
‘Manam’ completed 60% of shooting. The response for the recently released first look was tremendous. Several people called and appreciated it. We are proud for making this film. My dad has to work for four more days. The entire shooting will be completed by December. We have to wait and see the amount of time required for post production works. We will release the film only after complete satisfaction.
You seem to have passion for sports. When can we see you in a sportsman get-up?
(Laughs) Several people have asked me if I would do a film on sports backdrop since I like sports a lot. But at present situation, I don’t see directors who can come out with such innovative ideas. Rajamouli is the only director who can do films with such different ideas. He is the pride of Telugu industry.
Talking about Naga Chaitanya’s forthcoming films, he said, “Naga Chaitanya will work with ‘Dhamarukam’ Srinivas Reddy for which C Kalyan is the producer. Shooting will start from December. This apart, he will do a romantic entertainer under the direction of Vijay Kumar Konda of ‘Gunde Jaari Gallanthayyinde’ fame.”
When are you going to launch Akhil into films?
Right now Akhil is doing Film and Media Courses. So far the stories that I’ve heard are not suitable for him. So, I’m waiting for a good script, since I want to launch him grandly.
Do you have plans to do films with students from Annapurna Film School?
Yes, we will definitely do. But their courses will complete only after two years. I watched the short films taken by them. They are all doing excellently.
What’s your final say about ‘Bhai’?
I won’t say that ‘Bhai’ will set a trend or will create records. But I’m sure the audience will enjoy it thoroughly. It’s a pucca commercial film, a full-length family entertainer. Second half is outstanding. Overall, it is a paisa vasool film.
Nagarjuna says he is ready to compromise on his remuneration and do small budget films if they are made of new concepts. In his words, “The recently released ‘Bhag Milka Bhag’ and Shahid’s movie got good recognition. But they are multiplex movies and can’t collect as much as ‘Chennai Express’. According to me new conceptual films in a budget of 6-7 crores should come with star heroes. I’m sure this trend will start in another two years. Though I’ve no idea about other heroes, I can say that I’m ready to compromise on remuneration for a small budget movie with new conceptual stories. It’s known to all about the small budget film ‘Gaganam’ in the past. I’ll do films like that purely for my satisfaction only.”
On Sachin’s retirement Nagarjuna commented, “It’s very sad to note about Sachin’s retirement. He took Indian cricket to heights. He is a legend cricketer. No one can replace him.
While talking about his partnership in IBL he commented, “Mahi Racing Team is very fast and came close to final season. It’s sure to become a world champion. I became a partner with Sunil Gavaskar in IBL. Since PVP already owns Hyderabad Hotshots, I had to go for Mumbai franchise.”
About Anil Kapoor’s TV show ‘24’ he commented, “I like Anil Kapoor’s TV show ‘24’ very much. I watched all 12 episodes from 5th series. If I get an opportunity to do that kind of show in Telugu, I will certainly do. I love game shows a lot.
Nagarjuna will next star in director Dolly’s movie followed by another movie under Durga Arts banner. The actor however says that he had kept both the projects under hold.