HYDERABAD: What separates Nani from the rest of Tollywood’s superstars is that he doesn’t have the aura of stardom surrounding him, despite enjoying considerable success. Despite being one of the most bankable actors in the Telugu film industry, having delivered four back-to-back hits, Nani’s USP remains his ability to make everyone relate to him. Nothing that he does seems too over-the-top. He doesn’t run through an army of goons with his fist – as if it means nothing, nor does he dance around in extravagant locations or deliver mind-numbing punch dialogues. You can find Nani among your group of friends – he can be your partner-in-crime, or the guy who gives you relationship advice, or the guy who goes on bike trips with you. And that’s what makes Nani successful, and he says he wouldn’t change it for the world.
“A star is somebody who can save himself, an actor is somebody who can save the film. For me, it’s more important to be an actor. Honestly, success hasn’t affected me in any way. The way I felt before Ashta Chemma was releasing, I feel the same way before Majnu’s release. For me it’s not about how much money it collects or records it breaks, for me it’s about watching the first day morning show with the people and seeing if we are all on the same page. Seeing the smile on their faces is the biggest payback for us,” Nani shares, passionately.
Nani, who’s known for choosing unconventional, content-based cinema, feels that the largely star-driven Tollywood industry is now undergoing a massive change.
“I think the meaning of stardom is gradually changing and you can clearly see it when you look at the kind of films people are encouraging. We can see a change happening in Telugu cinema and in future – content will be the star. Star is not about the introductory scenes, songs or punch dialogues anymore. It’s about who can provide good content. In a selfish way, I want to be a part of this change,” he explains.
Nani’s now gearing up for the release of Majnu, his third release this year after Krishna Gaadi Veera Prema Gaadha and Gentleman – both of which turned out to be hits.
“Majnu is the story of an assistant director and how he solves a problem that arises in his life. What’s special about this film is that it’s entertaining from the beginning to the end. These days, a lot of love stories are coming up so everybody tries to do something different. But in this film, there are no twists and turns or elements of suspense as such. The two hours that you spend in the theatre will be a complete fun ride. And you come out with a very good feeling,” explains the 32-year-old.
A guy with an excellent comic timing, Nani’s films are always packed with humour and that’s also the case with Majnu.
“There are a lot of fun elements in the film, but they are not loud. There’s not a separate comedy track that’s in place for the sake of it. It’s all situational comedy and everything is within the story. I personally feel such kind of humour works much better than having a separate comedy track,” Nani observes.
The actor showed us his versatile side with Gentleman, where his character had a negative shade. While Nani says his decision to experiment was not a conscious decision, he doesn’t enjoy doing the same thing all the time.
“I get bored of myself very easily. For instance, after Gentleman, I dint want to do another thriller. So I decided to do a love story instead. More than a conscious effort to experiment, it’s the constant need to do something different,” the actor points out.
At a time when the big stars have just one releases per year, Nani will have four releases in 2016.
“I have already started working on Nenu Local, which is my next film after Majnu. We are planning to finish shoot and release by December. So I will have four releases this year, which has never happened before. But I love cinema. This is what I had set out to do and I’m enjoying every minute of it,” he adds with a smile.
Directed by Virinchi Varma, Majnu features Anu Emmanuel as the female lead and is slated to hit screens on September 23.