Nani on upcoming film Ninnu Kori: 'Nivetha Thomas is one of the finest performers I've seen'
2017 has been an amazing year so far, in Telugu actor Nani’s life. Starting from Nenu Local, which turned out to be a huge hit earlier this year, to winning a Nandi award, it couldn’t have been a better beginning for him.
Amidst all this, he spent almost a month in the US to shoot his forthcoming film Ninnu Kori, and then, he went on to host IIFA awards ceremony, a first in his career, before winning another award at SIIMA. However, none of these have come close to the high he experienced when he was blessed with a baby boy on March 29.
His son, who has been named Arjun, is now the centre of Nani’s world. Ask him if the last few months have been like a blur, he says, “It’s been an amazing year so far and sometimes, when things get really crazy, I wonder if I have enough time to really enjoy the moment. Right now, I’ve been dividing my time between my work and watching my son grow. Earlier, whenever I used to get time, I ensured that I listened to scripts because I get really bored if I don’t have to shoot for my films. But now, I simply head back home to be with my son.”
Right now, all his focus is on his forthcoming film Ninnu Kori in which he has played the role of Uma Maheshwara Rao.
Directed by Shiva Nirvana, the film also stars Nivetha Thomas and Aadhi Pinisetty in lead roles; however, Nani confirms that it’s not a triangular love story.
“The film is about the drama which happens between three characters. It’s emotional, but at the same time, it’s neither melodramatic nor sad. I’m sure that everyone will be able to relate at least some aspect of their life to what happens in the story. It’s not everyday that we get to see a film like this in Telugu and that’s one of the reasons why I believe that it’s going to be a memorable film. It’ll make you both smile and cry.”
The actor is all praise for his co-stars Nivetha Thomas and Aadhi Pinisetty, and he confesses that both of them will stand out in the film.
“If I’ve to rank the performances, I have to say that Nivetha Thomas is ahead of both Aadhi and me. She’s one of the finest performers in the industry today and Ninnu Kori will prove it once again. And I was pleasantly surprised by what Aadhi had done in the film. He’s amazing and I can’t imagine anyone else playing these two characters. When Shiva narrated me the story, I liked my character and then, when he began narrating me the characters of Pallavi (played by Nivetha) and Arun (played by Aadhi Pinisetty), I knew I had to do this film,” Nani says.
Over the past few years, the actor has developed the knack for finding good content-driven stories. Whether it’s Yevade Subramanayam or Mohan Krishna Indraganti’s Gentleman, Nani has slipped into the shoes of various characters effortlessly.
And this, he says, is the most challenging part of his job.
“When it comes to a commercial film, you have to deliver when the director asks you to do. Be it walking in slow motion or delivering lengthy dialogues, you can pull it off. But every time someone comes and tell you that they don’t want to see you as the hero in the film, it’s a challenge to be that character. If you ask me, I was a hero in Nenu Local, and in Ninnu Kori, I’m just one of three characters. Each type of film has its own advantages. With Nenu Local, I was able to reach out to a wider audience, and now, with Ninnu Kori, I’m back to a familiar turf,” Nani avers.
Ever since the film’s promos were aired, several people pointed out that the film reminds them of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, and few others went a step further and said that it reminds them of Mani Ratnam’s Mouna Ragam.
But to begin with - Is Ninnu Kori in the similar space of Mouna Ragam?
“In a way, yes. But I must say that Ninnu Kori begins where Mouna Ragam ends and it takes a look at these characters from a new perspective. You’ll have to watch the film to understand what I mean. However, just because there are three characters in Ninnu Kori and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam doesn’t make it the same film. The only thing I’m glad about is that our film is being compared to some really good films in the past, otherwise I would have been very worried,” he laughs.
The tagline of the film ‘Let’s Welcome Life’ is, in Nani’s own words, the very essence of Ninnu Kori and that’s what makes it such a positive film.
For someone who’s eager to surprise the audience with each film, Nani has made peace with his work a long time ago. And that made a whole lot of difference. “I don’t work in films just for the sake of it. I’m completely immersed into my profession and I really enjoy the time I spend on the sets. You can’t take a vacation when working on a film itself feels like a holiday. Isn’t it?” Nani signs off.