Naga Chaitanya doesn’t like being called a star and prefers the term, actor. He is currently looking forward to the release of the Telugu remake of Malayalam blockbuster Premam (2015). CE has a chat with the artiste, who was in the city recently to launch ‘Tollywood Thunders’, the Celebrity Badminton League team.
How does it feel coming to Chennai?
It feels great to be here (I drop in on and off). I was a Chennaiite for 18 years and did my schooling in PSBB, T Nagar. Moving out of this place was difficult initially. Now, I got used to it.
Can we expect you to do Tamil films soon?
Definitely yes, if something interests me. I am a huge fan of Tamil cinema and am open to doing even multi-starrers. I did a cameo in the STR-starrer Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa (2010). All along, I was focusing on Telugu films, spending a lot of time reading scripts and studying characters. Different kinds of films work in Tamil unlike Telugu. I love Gautham Menon and Mani Ratnam. They are my favourites. What I like about Gautham is that he gives the space to his actors to be spontaneous and improve themselves on the sets. As far as Mani Ratnam is concerned, his movies are realistic.
Tell us something about being a star-kid.
The tag comes with a huge responsibility. Akhil (his younger brother) is into acting as well. The audience would naturally have high expectations because of the family we belong to. Everyone thinks opportunities come in a platter to us, but I don’t think so. I feel happy and at the same time I am proud of my dad, who’s rocking even in his 50s. Many say he looks like my elder brother. (Laughs)
How choosy are you with scripts?
I just wrapped up the Telugu action-thriller Saahasam Swasaga Sagipo. I want to do films which will make the audience remember me for my roles. I don’t see myself as a star, but as an actor. We usually think that they want to see us in certain roles, but they are open to watching us in good films. Also, I want to shed this lover-boy image and I am working towards it.
Experiences of working on the Telugu remake of Premam...
I signed the film only after many told me that if it were made in Telugu, it would suit me. When I watched the film in Malayalam, I loved it! There were moments that I could relate to and I picked many pointers from Nivin’s acting.