I Felt Depressed : Nagarjuna [Interview]Apr 13, 2016 11:57 AM
Nagarjuna has always had a knack for experimenting with his roles. He often shocks audiences with the choice of his subjects, but everytime he experiments, he would be successful. Fresh from the big success of 'Soggade Chinni Nayana', Nagarjuna is coming up with 'Oopiri'. Both are very contrasting roles. While he played a very energetic, romantic role in SCN, he plays a wheelchair bound quadriplegic in 'Oopiri'. The film will hit the screens on March 25th. Nag interacted with the media ahead of the release of the film. In this interview, he talks about why he played such a role, his relation with Karthi, his upcoming film with K.Raghavendra Rao etc.
Vamsi was Apprehensive
When I watched the original version 'The Intouchables' four years back, I was very impressed and felt like someone should do it in Telugu. What impressed me is there is no tragedy in the film, the film was narrated in a fun way. I didn't expect that some one would approach me with this subject. When Vamsi and PVP approache me with this story, Vamsi was afraid and apprehensive about how I would react. He gave me the CD and asked me to watch. When I came to know that it is 'The Intouchables', I immediately agreed to act in the film.
I play Vikram Aditya, who is physically handicapped in the movie. Though he is disabled, he is powerful and doesn't like someone sympathising with him. After 10 minutes into the film, audiences won't feel sorry for him. They won't even feel like he is physically handicapped. Vikram Aditya finds a friend in a slum dweller Srinu, played by Karthi. Unlike others, Srinu treats him just like a man and Aditya likes it. How friendship blooms between them and develops into a very beautiful bonding is the story of the film. Tamannaah is like a spectator between these two characters.
Many feel that it's ok to just sit and act. But it was very difficult to me, because I was not supposed to move my hands or any other body part. I had to express everything through facial expressions. It was difficult and frustrating to sit without moving. Before the shoot started, I said to Vamshi to not hesitate to ask me for another take or even 20 takes because it was new to me and I was prepared. We also had to shoot for Tamil version simultaneously. I felt depressed some times. Some times the take count would be 18, 19 and even 20. Then I felt like I don't know acting (smiles). But after watching the film, I felt very happy. the output is fantastic. I give credit to Vamsi, Karthi, P.S.Vinod and the whole unit. They were very patient.
There is no flashback episode or dream sequences in the film, where I would have scope to be normal. I clearly said to Vamsi that I won't act in the film, if he includes flashback episodes like I get physically disabled due to an accident or some thing.
Life changing film
I am very happy with the output of 'Oopiri'. I don't call it a landmark film. I call it is a life changing film. 'Shiva', 'Annamayya' etc life changing films for me since they inspired writers to come up different films. After watching 'Oopiri', writers get confidence to imagine me any kind of role.
NTR garu and my father used to do
During my childhood, I have seen NTR garu and my father playing different and challenging roles like the one I played in 'Oopiri'. But since 80s, heroes stopped playing such characters.
We are fortunate
I always feel that we are fortunate to have been blessed with good bodies and health. We should take care about them. That feeling became stronger after working for 'Oopiri' and playing a physically disabled. One should be very strong mentally to lead such a life. The message in the film is "Whether you are physically disabled or socially disabled, if you have a good partner, life would be beautiful.
Karthi is a fantastic actor and more than that a very good human being just like his family members Suriya, his father and mother. He is very dedicated. I was stunned watching him mouthing Telugu dialogues with so much ease. Even Jayasudha garu said it to me. I felt ashamed that I couldn't deliver Tamil dialogues with such ease, even though I know the language. Some other person dubbed his voice for my role in the Tamil version initially. But Karthi insisted that I should dub my own voice. He even said that he would sit with me. I thought why shouldn't I try when he is so surprised.
It was a memorable experience to shoot in Paris after 14 years. For 'Manmadhudu' we shot on the Eiffel Tower. But now we were not allowed up due to security threats.
Would Receive Well
When I was about to start 'Annamayya' after 'Ninne Pelladatha', many questioned me how audiences would receive me in such a contrasting role after a romantic film. But the film did very well. Now many are asking how audiences would accept me playing quadriplegic after an energetic role like Bangarraju. If the story is good and if it is executed well, audiences would it well. Fans would also feel proud that their hero is doing different movies.
PVP Cinema should be appreciated for making different films in different genres. They never compromised regarding the budget of this film. If the budget of this film was high, it is because Telugu and Tamil versions were shot simultaneously and we had to shoot the same scenes with different artists. For songs, since the lyrics are different, we had to shoot differently. So the budget of this movie was high.
He is Fantastic
This film is an emotional ride. Gopi Sunder is outstanding and his background score is the soul of the movie. He did a fantastic job. No wonder he won National award two times.
Tarak was the first choice
It is true that Tarak (NTR) was considered for the role, played by Karthi. But he couldn't adjust his dates. After that, I was busy. So, Tarak felt that it wouldn't be possible for him to act in the film and said, "Baabai you proceed".
Devotional film from May
We will probably start shooting for Raghavendra Rao's film based on Baba Hathiram's life in May. The team is currently on look out for locations that match with that of Tirumala Tirupati. Since the story was set in 17th century, Tirupati was still like a forest then. So, the team is on look out for hills which would be exactly like Tirumala hills.
Haven't decided on it yet
We haven't decided on Akhil's second movie yet. A Hindi remake and two other stories are in discussion. But I advised Akhil to take his own time.