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Renu Desai about 'Tiger Nageswara Rao', Akira Nandan and more


Ravi Teja's 'Tiger Nageswara Rao' is a period actioner set in the 1970s' Stuartpuram. The film stars Renu Desai in the role of a social activist. The 'Badri' actress is playing Hemalatha Lavanam in this October 19th release. In this interview, she talks about her character, her preferences as an artist, her past as a stylist, her son Akira's persuasions and more. She also reveals that she has a nice speech ready for the pre-release event of 'TNR'. "I have some things to say about Ravi Teja on the occasion," Renu reveals.

I am well-versed in Telugu. I started learning the language right from the time I did 'Badri'. If I am doing films in a particular language, I should learn the language. That's my attitude.

Hemalatha Lavanam was born in the 1930s. She was a larger-than-life personality about whom I didn't know anything until 'TNR' happened. She was brave, she toured Chambal region and Bundelkhand to reform social rebels. Concepts like feminism are new to us, but not to her. She was happily married and yet she wore the dress meant for widows. She did it as part of her mission. She fought for the rights of Joginis, among others. I feel extremely fortunate to have played such a great woman on screen. She serves as an inspiration to today's youngsters. Her fortitude and resolve were phenomenal.

Producer Abhishek Agarwal and director Vamsee are nice people. The latter is such a talented technician. The producers I have worked with so far have been very nice. I was new to the industry when I did 'Badri'. The producer didn't treat me as a newcomer. Geetha Arts, of course, was part of my larger family. Abhishek garu has become like family. I have only praises for Abhishek Agarwal Arts. I never had to stress out.

And it's an honour to have got to share screen space with Ravi Teja. My character, the story, and the director. All these have to fall into place for me to want to be willing to take up an acting assignment. In the case of 'TNR', all three worked out.

I studied the body language of Hemalatha garu. She had a calm poise. I usually move my head while talking. I had to keep it immutable. I worked on the dialogue. In my very first scene, I mouth long lines. I have tried my best to be true to her right from the way I wore the saree, I did my hair, etc. I brought honesty to the character. I even matched her skin tone.

In real life, I am like an activist. I have given speeches in front of crowds. Although I am not a full-time activist, I have that streak in me. I have to do much more socially. That's what I have realized after doing 'TNR' and playing someone who did so much back in the 1960s and 1970s. We tend to think about ourselves and our family. Once my daughter completes Class X, I will start an NGO and work for the welfare of underprivileged children. I will start out in a small way.

I have never been a costume designer. I am a stylist. I am the first stylist in Telugu cinema. The term got into vogue after I started out (with films like 'Kushi'). I have a sense of using colours. I am trained to do that. People mistake me for the costume designer of some films. But I have never been that. After 'Badri' and before 'Kushi', I and Kalyan garu happened to tour a foreign country. I discovered my talent for styling during a shopping stint.

The only compliments and comments that matter to me are the ones that come from my kids. My daughter liked my appearance in the trailer for 'TNR'. She is proud that I am doing an age-appropriate role. I am 42. I am not young to do any sort of role that comes my way.

Akira, as of this moment, is not interested in acting. That is the present. I don't know about the future. Akira has done a film production course in the US. It was not an acting course. But if he wants to become an onscreen hero in the future, I will support him. Neither I nor Kalyan garu would like to force him to do this or that. He is interested in Yoga, martial arts, etc. He looks good, is tall. As a mother, I would like to see him on the silver screen, especially because I have been an actor in the past and his father is an actor.  

Updated on October 13, 2023