Nani opens up about turning producer with Awe: 'A lot of people think I did it to make profits'

Haricharan Pudipeddi

Feb,01 2018 14:50:42 IST

Popular Telugu actor Nani turned producer with the forthcoming multi-starrer thriller Awe which features an ensemble cast of Kajal Aggarwal, Nithya Menen, Regina Cassandra, Eesha Rebba and Srinivas Avasarla among others.

Telugu actor-producer Nani. Image from Twitter/@SerialKaSoap

Telugu actor-producer Nani. Image from Twitter/@SerialKaSoap

Speaking at the film’s pre-release event on 31 January in Hyderabad, Nani opened up about turning producer and what the experience taught him. Directed by debutante Prasanth Varma, the film is slated to hit theater screens on 16 February.

“When Prasanth approached me with the story (which I really liked), I learnt that he was finding it difficult to find a producer. After I heard the story, I promised him I’ll find a producer who can take this film to the audiences in a big way. Meanwhile, I got busy with the shoot of my film Ninnu Kori. We were shooting a promo video for a song and as the camera panned to one side, I caught Prashant standing in one corner. I was reminded of my promise to him, so during the shot break, I went up to him and told him I’ll produce the film,” said Nani.

Having made a mark in the Telugu film industry with several hits to his credit, Nani decided to turn producer to give back to the industry that made him.

“Everything I have earned so far is through cinema. I want to give back to the same cinema. I told myself 'if I don’t support such interesting story ideas, then we won’t be able to see different films getting made in the Telugu film industry.'” He clarified that he didn't turn producer because it's a money-making business. "A lot of people would think that I turned producer to make profits. Honestly, it's not easy to make a film today. After producing Awe, my respect for other producers grew manifold."

Nani also used the opportunity to thank his actors. Talking about Nithya Menen, he said nobody else could have played her role. “We haven’t spoken much about her character because we want it to remain a surprise. When I heard the story, I was sure only she could do justice to the character. I’m thankful she agreed to be part of the project.”

Cassandra’s look in the film has drawn a lot of attention ever since it was announced. She even shaved a portion of her head for the sake of her look. Praising her for her commitment, Nani said, “When Prasanth showed me her character sketch, I told myself she’s not going to put in so much effort for a role. But when I saw her on the set on the first day, I couldn’t believe what she had done to her hair. I was stunned by her dedication.”

Actor Ravi Teja has lent his voice to a Bonsai tree in the film. “When Ravi heard the story, he called and asked me if he could co-produce the film with me. Even though he predominantly works in commercial films, the fact that he immediately agreed to be part of Awe proves his excitement for new subjects and young talent,” said Nani.

Prasanth also thanked Nani for believing in his vision. “Initially, I approached Nani because I wanted him to give the voice-over for a fish's character in the film. I wanted Awe to be a small film with small artists. But when Nani heard the story and agreed to come on board, it became a big film. A lot of people scared me when I told them Nani was going to produce the film. I was told that he'd interfere a lot in the making. Honestly, he (Nani) didn't even ask me to change a single frame.”

Talking about the reason behind the title Awe, Prasanth said, “Most of the artists were in awe after they heard the story. We decided to use their reaction as the film’s title.”

At the pre-release event, Baahubali filmmaker SS Rajamouli was one of the guests for the evening. He appreciated the young director (Prasanth) for putting the project together. “As I was waiting to be called on stage, I was thinking about whether I should start by talking about Nani or the actors, as they’re all well known to me, but then I decided to start with the director because his work in the trailer had impressed me. The purpose of any trailer is to entice a viewer into wathching the film. I think the trailer of Awe achieved that purpose,” said Rajamouli.

Talking about Nani turning producer, Rajamouli said, “I lost track of how many hits Nani has scored recently. I remember sending him a message after the success of one of his recent films. I told him he should do something more. Honestly, I didn’t expect he’d come up with a project like Awe.”

Updated Date: Feb 01, 2018 14:50 PM