Akkineni Nageshwara Rao, Nagarjuna and Naga Chaitanya starrer ‘Manam’, directed by VIkram K Kumar under Annapurna Studios banner had a grand opening on May 23rd. For the first time in his career, Naga Chaitanya played a dual role as Radha Krishna and Nagarjuna in this film. “I’m blessed to share my screen space with dad and grandpa. It’s a rare feat to act as father to father. I consider myself lucky for getting one such rare opportunity,” said Naga Chaitanya in his interview to the media. Go through this interview to know more about his shooting experiences during the making of ‘Manam’.
How are you feeling with kind of response ‘Manam’ is receiving?
‘Manam’ is a special film to our entire family. Reincarnation is a successful formula in Telugu cinema. Those who watched ‘Manam’ are promoting it. ‘Manam’ collected $ 1 million at overseas as well and created sensation. This is a new record among Akkineni family collections. It’s a great achievement for Akkineni family. All this was possible only with the blessings of grandpa.
Do you believe in sentiments?
Trust me. I don’t believe in sentiments. I heard that many heroes of my generation tasted success of their seventh film. However according to me, the success of ‘Manam’ is purely based on hard work and luck.
So what was it like playing the character Radha Mohan?
It’s a very complicated character. Unlike dad and grandpa, I’m not experienced enough to do a character of that sort. So I was a little confused as to how to play father to dad. Nevertheless Vikram briefed the character and encouraged me to perform it in my own style. Without his support it wouldn’t have been possible for me to do that role so well. I hope that I did justice to it.
Are you expecting an award for your performance in ‘Manam’?
‘Manam’ was done neither for profits or awards. This being ANR’s last film, we wanted ‘Manam’ to remain in the history of Telugu cinema. It’s a great accomplishment for Akkineni family to receive such huge response for the film. Our entire family is very happy and satisfied with ‘Manam’.
What was it like working with director Vikram?
It was an amazing experience. Firstly, I must thank director Vikram for encouraging me to do this film. ‘Manam’ was a big challenge to him. All of us were immensely impressed with the story and were very sure that the film would turn into a huge success. I must also thank our entire technical team like music director Anoop Rubens, cinematographer Vinod, editor Praveen Pudi and everyone else in the team.
Tell us your work experience with your grandfather?
He is a legend. Initially I felt very uncomfortable to call him ‘Orey Musaloda…!’. But grandpa gave one on my head and encouraged me to say that dialogue. Infact, he even performed and showed me how to do that scene. Keeping aside our relationship, dad, grandpa and I literally behaved like friends. That’s an unforgettable experience in life which I’ll cherish throughout my life. No words to express!!!
This is the first time you have worked with your dad too. Could you please share that experience also?
Dad is a well experienced actor. So initially, I felt it difficult to act alongside him. You know, I couldn’t stop laughing while doing the flight scene. As said before, playing Nagarjuna was not an easy task either, because in most of the scenes I’ll be seen as a drunken. I was feeling nervous throughout the first shooting schedule. But dad and grandpa tried to keep me comfortable as much as they could, in scenes involving all three of us.
When is your next film with your dad?
I’m always ready, but again, that depends on the right script.
Musical scores are light and soothing. Background score is awesome.
Yes. The background score actually took the film to next level. All songs are as per situations in the story. Grandpa was supposed to be part of ‘Piyo Piyo…’ song. But he was not included in that due to his ill-health.
Your onscreen chemistry with Samantha is awesome.
Samantha and I started our careers almost at the same time. We have worked in three films together and that has increased our comfort levels. Thus, the chemistry between us has worked out well.
Did your mom watch your film?
Yeah, she did! She even appreciated me saying that she was immensely impressed with my performance.
What’s your comment on Akhil’s introduction?
Akhil got an extraordinary introduction through the film ‘Manam’. That way, he is very lucky.
When is his debut film expected?
He is most likely to make his acting debut this year. He has good clarity about it. Infact he gives me suggestions about films. He might be a good competitor to me in near future. I welcome that. Only then we will come out with variety films.
Do you have any plans to venture into production?
Actually I’m planning to produce my own films and later on Annapurna Studios banner also.
Any plans to do new conceptual films?
Both dad and grandpa did films in different genres. I too wanted to do different films like them. I’ve had bad experience of doing same formula films. Later I learnt that the audience like to watch new conceptual films. But we should try and choose good stories. Only then we will be successful.
When is ‘Autonagar Surya’ arriving theaters?
I do not know. Just like you, I’m eagerly waiting for the release of that film too! The output is great. “Autonagar Surya’ belongs to a new genre. I’m confident that it will become a huge hit even if it’s released today.
What’s next for Naga Chaitanya?
Right now I’m doing ‘Oka Laila Kosam’ which is taking shape under Vijay Kumar Konda’s direction. The talkie part has been completed. We are going abroad next month to shoot songs. This movie is most likely to get released in July or August. So after completion of this film, I will be joining the sets of director Sudhir Varma. This film will be launched in July. I’ve decided to do a minimum of two films a year from now onwards.