NEW DELHI: All the love coming his way for "Shyam Singha Roy", a reincarnation drama that has found fans beyond its traditional Telugu audience base, is an indication that Indians are warming up to regional cinema with subtitles, says superstar Nani.
The actor, whose real name is Ghanta Naveen Babu, plays the dual role of an aspiring filmmaker and a Telugu-Bengali revolutionary in the period drama, which has received acclaim for its beautifully choreographed song "Pranavalaya" performed by female lead Sai Pallavi.
The film, partially set in Bengal, followed its theatrical success with a release on Netflix where it has been received warmly for its portrayal of a tender romance between a revolutionary and a devdasi, played by Pallavi.
"I think more than pan-India films, people will start enjoying films in the original languages itself more than the dubbed ones for better impact and feel of the story. I see it as the future of cinema," Nani told PTI in a Zoom interview.
"Even a straight Telugu film is being watched with subtitles in all languages so the pan-India term can be applied to them as well. In that way 'Shyam Singha Roy' is a true pan-Indian film," he added.
Directed by Rahul Sankrityan, "Shyam Singha Roy" was shot in Kolkata for almost 40 days to bring an authentic feel to the period setting, which Nani believes played an important role in the success of the movie.
Praising art director Avinash Kolla and Sanu John Varghese, the Director of Photography (DOP), the actor said they both ensured that the visuals looked "splendid" on the screen.
"I got a lot of messages with people saying that they were blown away with the visuals and we are happy that we created that kind of impact with the story," he said.
As someone who loves the reincarnation genre, Nani said it was a no-brainer to say yes to the film.
"Reincarnation as a genre is very nostalgic. I don't know what exactly is the meaning of a 'masala' film but there are those mainstream elements of love, romance, action in the movie, and even reincarnation, in a way, is larger-than-life. I like films that transport us to a different world."
But the actor believes that execution of all the elements has to be on point in order to gain desired audience reaction.
"If you don't connect to the emotions and if you don't be in that world and feel the story and the emotion, there is no point in doing all this," he added.
Nani, 37, said he is not averse to doing Hindi films if the story and the subject appeal to him but Telugu cinema is where his heart truly lies.
"If something excites me, and there is a need then (on Hindi cinema). That could be one or two films or once in a while. I don't have any plans though and I know my future, my career, my everything is with Telugu cinema. I am a Telugu boy and I want to tell stories in Telugu, which can be watched by Tamil audiences, Malayalam audiences, Hindi audiences so that I can take my language and go to all the states in the country," he said.
The actor's enviable filmography includes hits such as "Ashta Chamma", "Ride", "Eaga", "Ala Modalaindi", "Yeto Vellipoyindhi Manasu", "Yevade Subramanyam", "Bhale Bhale Magadivoy" and "Gentleman", "Nenu Local" and "Middle Class Abbayi" among others.
With the Hindi remake of his hit 2019 Telugu film "Jersey", the actor is happy that the stories are finding resonance beyond a particular language.
Nani said he is looking forward to Shahid Kapoor's portrayal in "Jersey" and has complete faith in director Gowtam Tinnanuri, who has directed both the Telugu and Hindi versions of the film.
"I am looking forward to 'Jersey' and I know Gautam would have done a terrific job and Shahid (Kapoor) would have done great. It is an opportunity for me to see it as an audience and just feel the story. In the original, somewhere I will myself so this is a chance for me to see just the story and feel it."
"Shyam Singha Roy" also stars Madonna Sebastian, Jisshu Sengupta, Murali Sharma and Rahul Ravindran in pivotal roles.