After portraying the historical role of Ramadasu in the summer blockbuster movie Sri Ramadasu, Nagarjuna is now playing the role of a workaholic real estate businessman in his yet-to-be-released Romantic comedy movie, Boss. Close on the heels of celebrating his 46th birthday on August 29th, this charismatic actor and entrepreneur takes a break from a song shooting, at Ramanaidu Studios, to talk about his latest film Boss, films in general and his birthday plans.
Boss is like Manmadhudu and Santhosham
Q: What is USP of your film Boss?
A: USP? Boss is an entertaining love story between a boss and his secretary. It deals with that. It has the same feel like my earlier films Santhosham and Manmadhudu had. Boss is a mix of those kind of films. This film has a lot of comedy and romance in it. We used a lot of amusing one liners. It has a mixture of everything, a little of action and a little of drama, music. Like that. I will not tell that it is a new kind of film or it is going to set a trend or something like that. Boss has a very good screenplay, good dialogues and sweet moments. It is a wholesome family entertainer.
Q: So you play the role of a corporate boss?
A: Not a corporate boss. I am the boss of a real estate construction company. It is not a multinational company.
I am the same kind of Boss in real life too
Q: What kind of person is Boss?
A: He is the typical boss. You know? The arrogant type. He is very ambitious and wants his firm to become the best construction company in the city. He is work driven and does the same to his employees. He is bad at work, in the sense he will get the work done come what may. But at the same time he takes care of his employees.
Q: What kind of Boss are you in real life?
A: I am exactly the same kind of person. I drive my people to work. I don’t tolerate mistakes. May be once, but I don’t like people repeating a mistake.
Q: In Manmadhudu you were mostly into suits and formals and your kurtas became quite a rage. What kind of outfits you sport in Boss?
A: In Boss I am very trendily dressed. My clothes are pretty fashionable and trendy. Only a couple of times am I seen in the formal attire like in conferences and business meetings. If not I wear quite trendy shirts and pants.
Nayana Tara tells “I love you” to me
Q: Tells about Nayana Tara and Poonam Bajwa in the film?
A: Nayana Tara plays the role of my secretary and it is she who tells “I Love You” to me and that is why we had the title as Boss-I Love You. Poonam is not my leading lady in the film but she has a very good character in the movie.
Q: Did Nayana Tara lose weight just for this film?
A: No. it was her personal decision to lose weight. She is a very professional person and wanted our pair to look good on screen. She worked very hard for the role.
Q: Shriya is doing a guest role in Boss?
A: Yes. But it is a very fleeting kind of appearance. Not even a song. You blink and you miss it.
Kalyani Malik lives up to his brother’s standards
Q: What about the music of Boss?
A: The music of Boss is absolutely good and melodious. Kalyana Malik has lived up to the standards of his brother Keeravani.
Q: Boss audio was supposed to be released on your birthday, 29th August?
A: Yes. But because of less prints we had to postpone the audio release. Now we will be launching the audio on September 3rd.
Q: When is Boss being released?
A: We haven’t decided as yet. Once all the formalities are done with, the date will be announced by the producer.
Boss is a complete paisa vasool movie
Q: What about the publicity for Boss?
A: I have been very careful in that. There are some action stills also in Boss. And if people will see those they might mistake Boss for an action movie which it is not. So we had to be extra careful with the kind of posters and stills we let out. I very specifically told the designer that we should see to the stills also, that are being given out, rather than only the posters.
Q: If asked what would you give as the reason as to why people should watch Boss in the theaters?
A: Very simple. Boss is a complete paisa vasool entertainment.movie. Value for money.
Q: Was it easy to shift from a character like Ramadasu to the one you are playing in Boss?
A: Initially no. In the beginning it was a bit difficult to change the mannerism so fast after Ramadasu. But once I got used to it it became easier.
Q: You normally do not work with the same director soon after a film with him. Why this change of heart with director V.N.Aditya?
A: Firstly I have immense trust and faith in my producer D.Shiva Prasad Reddy. Then, Aditya gave me one of my biggest hits Nenunnanu which is a very simple film but I like it a lot. And it is not that I don’t repeat my directors. I have worked with Raghavendra Rao garu for 7 to 8 movies now. Even before signing this film with Aditya I worked in two to three films in between.
Sri Ramadasu is a film about basic emotions
Q: How are you feeling about Sri Ramadasu’s success? Especially after it is an even bigger success than Annamaya?
A: It feels real good. Sri Ramadasu gives me a very elevating feeling. Especially after I listen to the phone calls that I get or when people speak to me about it. The difference in success of Annamya and Sri Ramadasu is understandable. Annamaya is a film that will be liked more by the intellectual lot whereas Sri Ramadasu is a film more about the basic emotions of a man.
Q: Which is your favorite movie between Annamaya and Sri Ramadasu?
A: My personal favorite is Annamaya. But people liked Sri Ramadasu a lot more I guess (laughs). The number of people who watched Sri Ramadasu in the theaters is far more than the people who watched Annamaya in the theaters. A lot of people saw Annamaya on the TV and on DVDs. I guess the masses liked all the strong emotions and feelings that were seen in Sri Ramadasu.
Keeravani is the true hero of Sri Ramadasu
Q: What about the music of the two films?
A: See Annamaya’s songs are more of the devotional kind. They have a good feeling about them. But Sri Ramadasu emotes via his songs. His songs show the anger, sadness, anguish or even happiness that he experienced at that point of time. You have to just listen to the song and you will automatically get the emotions. The songs are very magnetic. They just pull the people. What Keeravani has done with the kertanas is absolutely fantastic.
Q: M.M.Keeravani gave a controversial statement that if not for the care he had taken for the re recording of Sri Ramadasu, the film would have flopped.
A: I am really sorry that a statement like that had been made. But I sincerely believe, and I not being modest about it, that Keeravani is the true hero of the film, despite what others think. Both K.Raghavendra Rao and Keeravani are the true heroes of the film. The music that Keeravani had provided for Sri Ramadasu is absolutely amazing. There are 19 songs in that movie that means that one and a half hour out of two and a half hours of movie, is only songs. And to make all the songs so good and captivating is not a mean feat. Keeravani is one of the few Indian music directors who know what music actually is.
My birthday is very boring this year
Q: How are you planning to celebrate your Birthday this year?
A: My birthdays (on August 29th) are usually very simple. I like to spend it with the people who I care about and who care about me. First thing in the morning I go see my parents and then I spend time with my fans who come all over the state to see me. And then spend the rest of the day with my family and friends. This birthday, it’s on a Tuesday, will be even more boring as I am working on that day.
Q: Which was your most memorable birthday till date?
A: It was not a memorable one but a very valuable birthday. It was about six years ago. I was traveling from Chennai to Hyderabad and I took the second flight home, of the two that were bound for Hyderabad. There was supposed to be a party at my place but when I reached home all my family members were in tears and looked at me as if they were seeing a ghost. It so happened that the first flight, that I was supposed to be on, crashed and everybody died. And my family members and friends did know that was coming in the second flight. The relief and happiness that I saw on my family’s and friend’s faces meant so much to me. I mean I could have been on the flight that crashed. That was when I realized how much I am loved by these people.
Q: What is the one thing that you would or would not want to happen on your birthday?
A: I am very sentimental about such things and I don’t want to say anything. I don’t want to deny or go against fate or some such thing.
I don’t watch my movies more than once
Q: Which is your favorite all time movie? Which of your movies have you watched more than once?
A: I don’t have anything like a favorite movie. I have some eight or tens movies that I like but even those I can’t recollect now. As far as watching my movies more than once is concerned, You usually don’t feel the emotions, when you are watching your own film, as you do when you are seeing another hero’s movie. That is why I haven’t watched any of my films more than once. It kind of gets boring. Very rarely do I watch a movie twice. Even Sri Ramadasu I have watched only once. (Smiles suddenly) but I watched the Climax about 30 odd times. You know every time some VIP would invite me to watch the movie with them, I would end up going during the last reel. That is why I saw the climax quite a few times.
Q: Which is your favorite song off late?
A: Off late I have been humming a lot of “jeele jeele” from Boss and am listening to “Tauba Tauba” from Stalin. Whenever I switch on the radio I listen to “Gala Gala” from Pokiri. It reminds me of Enrique’s song “I love to see you cry” (laughs).
Q: You have acted with a lot of heroines. Who is your favorite?
A: (laughs) I think I will be diplomatic there and won’t take a name. But I liked my on screen pairing with Sonali for Manmadhudu. The designing and everything was just right in that movie. Then again Sonali is not my favorite heroine.
I take things as they come
Q: What is your way of life?
A: (smiles) it is difficult to answer such philosophical questions. I….I try to be positive, I think, a lot. I take life as it comes. When ever I planned out anything. Whether in films or my life, it flopped. So I just take things as they come.
Q: You seem to be growing younger and hotter every year. What is the reason behind that?
A: (laughs) may be I am like wine. But actually nothing like that. Of course I am very conscious about the way I look. I work hard and I take very good care of my health. I sleep a lot (laughs).
Q: Which is most weird pick up line you faced. Even though you are happily married you must have girls throwing pick up lines your way?
A: Yes (smiles). I do have a lot of pick up lines coming my way. One of the most common ones these days is the one where they give you a number and say “That’s my number what is yours” such things have become very common. And sms have just made things more convenient and easy for people.
I am not talented enough to become a director
Q: Do you aspire to become a director one day?
A: No. direction is a different ball game. When you are an actor you just have to handle the acting part. But a director has to handle a whole lot of stuff right from direction to camera work and editing etc. He should be acquainted with all the departments of film making. And I do not have that kind of talent.
Q: When the film is finally made. Who decides on the final look of the film? As in who decides what needs to be edited off and what left?
A: It is a team work. All of my hits films have been products of team work. The producer, director, cameraman, music director and I, we all decide what needs to be removed from the film and what stays. Mostly it is the director who decides but sometimes when I don’t feel right about certain things and I am able to convince the director of it, we get those scenes chopped.
Q: Any instances where you and the director did not agree on the editing issues?
A: One incident occurred for Chandralekha. There was this song that was picturised on Ramyakrishna and me. I did not think that the song fit into the picture but the director convinced me of otherwise. Then one week after the movie was released the song was edited of from the film and it was not because of me. Chandralekha is one of my personal favorites but the movie did not run for even a week.
I am not interested in remakes
Q: Remakes is the present trend in the industry. Which remake would you like to act in?
A: No nothing. I am interested in remakes.
Q: What about movies like Shiva 2006?
A: Shiva 2006 is entirely different from the Shiva that I acted in. Ram Gopal Varma just used the same style of making for this film that is all. Ramu is the creator of the original Shiva. He wrote it, he has all the rights to modify and reuse the style the way he wants to.
The two stories are entirely different. One was a college student and the other is a police Inspector. They just have similar storylines.
Q: You did a couple of Bollywood films in the past. Any plans for the future?
A: At one time I was interested in Hindi films. But now I have lost interest in Hindi movies. So even though I am getting offers I do not want to take them up. After Shiva Ram Gopal Varma asked me to settle in Bombay. But I did not want to put one foot here and the other there. I did not want to move out of the Telugu Film Industry and Hyderabad.
Rumors are spread just to sell the product
Q: What about rumors about doing the rounds in Bollywood circles.
A: See people will write many things. Now days products are not being sold easily and you need some spicy news to sell the stuff. Its all for survival. This culture has come into Bollywood some 10 years ago and it is just now entering our industry.
Q: Bollywood is a lot into multiplex movies now days. Would you consider doing a multiplex kind of movie? Something that is not even remotely close to the formula film?
A: When we have around 50 multiplexes in our state then I will definitely consider such a movie. With only two multiplexes, that two only in Hyderabad, it will be difficult for such a film to be successful. If you speak about Bollywood, Mumbai has at least one Multiplex in each street so it is viable for them
Why the big issue on hike in ticket prices?
Q: Your comment on the raise in ticket fares?
A: I think it is better that the government and the film producer makes money rather than undeserving people earning it illegally. This system has been in action in other states like Tamilnadu and Maharashtra for quite a few years now but has been introduced only this year in our state. I don’t understand why people are making a big issue of the ticket hike. After all films are also a commodity and the right people need to benefit from it. Movies are also based on demand and supply. So people who want to really watch the movie will buy the ticket irrespective of the ticket hike while the others will wait and watch the movie after two weeks. You have a choice there.
We should preserve our language
Q: Off late many of your movies have English titles like Mass, Super and now Boss. Is it deliberate?
A: Not at all. And I don’t think that words like mass and super are considered English anymore. Even if you go to places like Rajahmundry and Anakapalli people over there use words like super to describe a movie. So I think we should have a new dictionary which will have these words included in the Telugu language (Laughs).
Q: Sumanth’s Godavari and your Sri Ramadasu, portray the rich Telugu culture and both the movies were released this summer and have been successful. How do you feel about it?
A: It feels really good. In fact I had such nice experiences with Sri Ramadasu. My Telugu has improved a lot since that movie. Now days even though we speak in Telugu we use a lot of English words in between and that cannot be helped what with all the globalization. It won’t be long before English will be the common language of the world. Even a strict country like China has started relenting to English. The same with the French. But at the same time we should not forget our mother tongue and we should preserve it.
I reflect the talent of the newcomers
Q: You have given break to quite a few new directors but off late you have worked with only reputed film makers. Are you worried about the risk?
A: What risk? Most of these newcomers have given me the biggest hits and trendsetting films of my career. Even Mani Ratnam, when I worked with him for Geetanjali, he was relatively unknown to the Telugu film Industry. I did Shiva with Ram Gopal Varma. EVV was only two films old when I acted in his Hello Brother movie. That was the first big film for him. All these people have given me good films and hits. The young blood is very encouraging. I like the fire in them. Their newness and fresh talent reflects in me, when I make movies with them.
Q: Is Don your next film with Lawrence?
A: I am doing a film with Lawrence. If everything goes well the movie will go on floors in December. But we haven’t finalized the title as Don as yet.
Q: Did you see Godavari?
A: Yes. Godavari is a good film. It reminded me of Geetanjali.
Q: Are you doing a film with Sekhar Kammula?
A: Well, he has a subject for me, though I have yet to hear it. Probably in September, he will narrate it.