The smashing success of Adhi has catapulted NTR Junior to the big league since it has grossed more than Rs 30 crores. Obviously his next release Allari Ramudu has gained enough significance as he teams up with veteran director B Gopal. “I am doing comedy for the first time” stated the youngster unfazed about the repercussions of releasing a light-hemained film immediately after playing a angry young man in Adhi. Bowing to the viewer’s demands, he has decided to play the angry-young man more often. After the debacle of Subbu and realising the importance of sharing the burden with others after Adhi, he has resolved to discuss all aspects with his directors unwilling to take any chance with his new-found stardom. He is equally confident about his film for VMC Productions and claims that Ratnam’s Naaga will have a hard-hitting message for the youth. By signing just two out of 30-odd offers, he proves that he is in no hurry and his preference is for exciting scripts over money.
Isn’t it a cause of concern to release a light-hemained flick like Allari Ramudu immediately playing the anger young man in Adhi?
Not really because even in Allari Ramudu, while the first half is entertaining, there is anger and emotions in the second half. For the first time, I am attempting comedy which will be on the lines of legendary NTR’s Gundamma Katha and is sure to attract all. My teaming up with veteran B Gopal has evoked high expectations and I assure you that it will be more powerful and hard-hitting than Adhi since the fusion of comedy and action has come out well. Also my stakes have increased in Nizam area so I have decided to hold it with a family entertainer. After enjoying working with Gopalji, I have resolved to do at least one film a year with him.
In Allari … whose idea was it to have a parody number of Akuchatu Pindethadise performed by your grandfather NTR?
Producer Chanti came up with this idea and everyone agreed to do it as the song is very popular even today. Incidentally, the main director, the cinematographer and the director of Allari … had worked as assistants in their respective depmainments for that original number when it was shot on my grandpa and they said they enjoyed doing its parody now. Though we have changed the lyrics, I hope the audience will still enjoy it.
Weren’t you confident about your film for VMC Productions since you gave prominence to Allari … and were you instrumental in changing the director?
On the contrary. I am quite confident about it since it’s shaping up very well under the able guidance of seasoned producer Doraiswamy Raju. I had to concentrate on Allari … since the council insists on giving priority to the film nearing completion. It was not because of me but the producer had some problems with director Pavan Sridhar and now Udayshankar has been signed to wrap up the film. I was impressed with Uday’s work in the Tamil film Thavasi and let me tell you this will be one of the best films of my career.
Everyone including the director was surprised with the record-breaking hit Adhi and have you signed any more such films?
Except for me, the record-breaking success of Adhi has surprised every unit member. I knew that it would hit the bull’s eye the minute I had heard the story-line. Though it sounds pompous but the fact remains that I told my director it is going to be a blockbuster. And I am yet to sign a factionist film. However, I don’t rule it out for next year.
With Subbu and Adhi, it seems like you are drifting towards action films pushing behind the lover boy image of your earlier films?
Though I love both the images I have decided to heed to the wishes of my fans since they have liked me immensely in emotion-packed roles in the above-mentioned films. Now my ambition is to accept characters which have maximum mass appeal and I want to be an actor who has tried various roles within the commercial format. However, I would also like to stick to the pattern of my films which are exploiting both the images.
The action in Subbu was much better than that in Adhi yet it failed to impress much. Does this mean you will again take the big risk of carrying the film entirely on your shoulders like you did in Adhi?
I do agree that the action was much better in Subbu but the director failed to make a convincing film. I believe that a director should be given a free hand to make the film. Similarly I didn’t question director Vinayak’s casting during Adhi but from now onwards I would like to discuss all the aspects including the technicians, casting and other details with my directors before commencing a film. I also feel that the burden should be shared among the team members rather than placing it on one head.
Is it not too early to play a political leader in Naaga?
It has nothing to do with general politics. The film is about student politics in colleges. Naaga is another film after Adhi which gave me the instant feeling that we have a winner on hand. Director Suresh captivated me with his spell-bound narration and I instantly agreed do the film since it was the ideal youth-centric film I was dying to do for quite some time. Since it is also related to the public, Ratnam preferred to launch it on a grand scale amidst thousands of people at Tirupati which incidentally had been a lucky place for my grandfather.
This year seems to belong to you and your father Harikrishna who delivered a big hit Lahiri. How do you handle your new-found stardom?
My joy knew no bounds when my father’s film Lahiri was declared a hit and undoubtedly, his mind-blowing performance played a key role in its success. It sounds nice when people say that it has been the year of the father and son.
As for handling the pressures of stardom, you may be surprised to know that I have waited for this to happen since my childhood. Though I have a free exchange of views with the producers and directors, I have signed only two films including one for my father’s friend which will be directed by Vinayak. It has been smooth-sailing so far as the producers know that it is not the money bags that can lure me but only good scripts.