Nagarjuna on Rarandoi Veduka Choodham, and how Samantha changed Naga Chaitanya’s life
'I’m confident that Naga Chaitanya’s Rarandoi Veduka Choodham will be a blockbuster,' says Nagarjuna.
“I promised that this year we are going to deliver two blockbusters with both Naga Chaitanya and Akhil, and I’m confident that Naga Chaitanya’s Rarandoi Veduka Choodham is going to be the first of the two,” Nagarjuna said at the recent pre-release event of the film.
Directed by Kalyan Krishna, the family drama explores the relationship between a young couple, who come from different backgrounds. Having worked with Nagarjuna in the past for Soggade Chinni Nayana, Kalyan Krishna was the natural choice to direct this family drama; however, it took a while before Naga Chaitanya was confident about pulling off the role.
“Chay could relate more to Gautham Menon’s style of filmmaking, where it’s all about him, his girl and his bike (laughs). In this film, he plays the role of a youngster who’s from Vizag and for someone who has never lived that sort of life, it’s tough to envision how to approach the character,” Nagarjuna recalls, referring to his initial conversations with his son.
He adds, “I really wanted him to do a film which will appeal to everyone, no matter what their socio-economic background is. And Rarandoi Veduka Choodham is exactly that kind of film. Kalyan’s take on relationships - whether it’s between father and his son, or father and his daughter - is quite interesting and we had people like Satyanand, GK Mohan helping us out with the script.”
To help Naga Chaitanya get into the character, Nagarjuna had a simple advice. “I just told him to spend as much time as he can with Kalyan Krishna and follow him. This reminds me of what I had done for some of my own films like Hello Brother and President Gari Pellam. I just couldn’t relate to the characters that I was supposed to play in these films. So, in the end, I just did whatever they wanted me to. Interestingly, these films helped me to connect more with the audience even in remote areas, much more than what I managed to with my films like Shiva and Geethanjali,” Nagarjuna says.
Now that the film is ready for release, Nagarjuna is all praise for what Naga Chaitanya has done in the film.
“Initially, I thought Chay was holding himself back, but now he has eased up a lot. I think it’s all because of Samantha (laughs). I can see a stark change in him ever since he has been in a relationship with Samantha. They say that a man realises his potential only after he turns 30. Maybe that could also be another reason,” Nagarjuna laughs.
Naga Chaitanya and Samantha had gotten engaged earlier this year in January and with the couple planning to get hitched in October this year, the festivities have already begun in the Akkineni family.
“I have left the decision to them to decide when they want to get married. I have known Samantha for a while now and we became very close during the shoot of Manam. Initially, she used to call me ‘sir’, but now, I’ve convinced her to call me ‘Mama’ (laughs).”
Ask him about the film’s lead actress Rakul, Nagarjuna springs a surprise by comparing her with the likes of Sridevi and Tabu. “I was quite surprised when I saw the footage. Rakul reminded me of Tabu. She has done a fabulous job, and both Chay and Rakul look great together. I’ve always wanted to recreate the magic of Ninne Pelladutha, which is one of my favourite films. It’s got a beautiful family drama and I feel that we’ve succeeded in adapting that sort of drama in Rarandoi Veduka Choodham which would appeal to the current generation,” he confesses.
Of late, Nagarjuna has been juggling between acting and producing films under his own banner - Annapurna Studios - and he confesses to being hands on with his films.
“I don’t want to repeat whatever happened with my previous failures like Bhai. I didn’t focus much on the film because I was busy with my own businesses, but the failure of Bhai was a wakeup call for me. I try to be hands on with every aspect of the film, including scripting, shoot and post-production. It’s too early for Chay or Akhil to get involved with production, but I have asked them to understand the nuances of post-production, like editing, CGI etc. I want them to focus on their careers first,” Nagarjuna adds.
Apart from producing couple of films, Nagarjuna is also busy shooting for Raju Gari Gadhi 2 which is nearing completion and there are rumours about Bangarraju, a spin-off of Soggade Chinni Nayana being on the cards.
On the other hand, he reveals that he has been approached to play the role of Karna in VA Shrikumar Menon’s Mahabharata, starring Mohanlal as Bheema.
“I was approached by Shrikumar a while ago; however, they haven’t come back to me with a proper script yet. I still don’t know if I’m going to do that film. I think it’s too early to talk about it,” he says.
As a producer, he’s chuffed that Baahubali 2 has become a mega-blockbuster across the country and expanded the market for Telugu films. But more than anything else, Nagarjuna opines that there’s a lot to learn from the success of the film.
“The makers of Baahubali treated their film as God and worked together to make a good film, without thinking about what they are going to gain from it. I think each one of us in the industry has to follow the same principle and set aside our egos and work towards making good films. In fact, a lot of people from Annapurna Studios had worked on Baahubali during post-production and thanks to Rajamouli and his team, I feel that our standards have also increased now. The film has already grossed more than Rs 1500 crores and it makes the rest of us look so tiny. I think it’s best if we stop talking about films making Rs 50 crores or even Rs 100 crores for the time being (laughs),” he says.
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