In a largely star-driven Telugu film industry, Naveen Babu Ghanta, or Nani as he is called, has been a breath of fresh air. Without any godfather, a muscular physique or exceptional dancing skills, Nani has risen to become one of Tollywood’s most dependable actors—based on his talent and the content of his films. After delivering four hits in a row—Yevade Subramanyam, Bhale Bhale Mogadivoi, Krishna Gaadi Veera Prema Gaadha and Gentleman— it’s no surprise that expectations are high from his latest, Majnu.
“What’s special about this film is that it’s entertaining from the beginning to the end. So many love stories are coming up these days, and the challenge for us was to do something different. I think we succeeded,” says Nani.
One of the most endearing qualities about the actor is his unparalleled comic timing, and a lot of fans throng the theatres just for it. Nani says the audience can expect the same from Majnu. “Our focus was on situational humour. Nothing was forced. I think this type of comedy works better than putting a comedy track for the sake of it. Humour has to be a part of the story, otherwise the impact isn’t there,” he says.
One of the most popular aspects of Majnu has been the comic scenes involving Vennela Kishore, an actor who Nani knows personally and has acted with on multiple occasions. “I enjoy doing comedy scenes because they come naturally to me. But with Vennela, I have great fun because we discuss each scene and later improvise,” says the actor.
Nani is also one of Tollywood’s most versatile actors. From playing a forgetful guy in Bhale Bhale Mogadivoi to a dark character in Gentleman, the actor has shown that he has many shades. “I get bored of myself fast. So there is a constant need for me to do something new each time. For instance, it will be a while before I do a thriller after Gentleman again. We often say we should do films that the audience will enjoy. We talk as if the audience are a separate entity. I consider myself as a part of the audience. I’m in this profession because I love watching movies and so if I feel that there is a movie that I would enjoy watching, I’m sure the audience would enjoy it too,” explains the 32-year-old.
At a time when star actors are being cautious about the projects they choose, Nani is quietly racking up one release after another. Majnu is his third release of 2016 and the actor is far from finished. “Time and quality do not clash. When you have clarity about the project, there’s no reason to waste any time and be a burden for the producers,” he says.
Up next, Nani will be seen in Nenu Local, which is directed by Trinadh Rao. “We are targeting a Christmas release, which means I will have four films in 2016, the highest in a calendar year so far for me. I will keep continuing in the same vein as long as exciting scripts keep coming my way. My world revolves around cinema. When I’m not shooting, I’m either listening to scripts or promoting my films or watching new films. Cinema is everywhere,” he signs off.