The new beginning

DC | SURESH KAVIRAYANI
Published Dec 22, 2013, 7:54 pm IST
Updated Jan 10, 2016, 8:38 am IST
Naresh talks about his seamless transition from leading man to playing significant character roles.

Naresh is one of the most sought after actors in T’town these days. He currently has his plate full, with half a dozen films ready for release and a dozen more in production! When you ask the actor the reason for the sudden spurt in his work, Naresh lists three: “Firstly, it took me ten years to transition from a lead actor to a character artiste. Secondly, there is a shortage of actors from my age group in Telugu cinema and there are many ‘imports’ from other film industries. But directors are slowly beginning to opt for local talent. The third reason responsible for so much work coming my way is that the new-age directors are coming up with new subjects. In fact, they’re creating different kinds of characters for me.”

“I’ve accepted these films because I like them. I have some more offers too but I don’t want to take them up just for the money,” he insists, adding that he’s happy to be playing the main character in some of the films in his kitty.

 

Naresh plays a key role in films such as 'Chandamama Kathalu', 'Rey, Karthika Masam', 'Parampara' and 'Nede Choodandi'. The actor is also entering Kollywood, as two of his films — Sekhar Kammula’s 'Anamika' and 'Malini 22', directed by yesteryear actress Sripriya, are being released in Tamil as well.

“I would like to expand to other languages too,” Naresh says.

Telugu film actors are often accused of desperately clinging to the “hero” tag even when they are past their prime. Naresh agrees: “Most stars find it tough to step out of stardom and accept other roles. Some of them even slip into depression. But once they snap out of it, it becomes easy for them and it’s also good for the industry.”

“If you ask me, I’ve never believed in stardom because it doesn’t last. Only an actor will last, so I focus on being one. Most of my films are performance oriented and not star based,” points out the actor who is inspired by Kamal Haasan, Naseeruddin Shah and Prakash Raj.

“They are all at the peak of their careers and I’m inspired by them. I have also cleverly transformed into a character artiste,” Naresh reveals.

He considers his recent release, 'Adu Magadura Bujji', to be a turning point in his career. “My character was fleshed out very well in the film and it has really given my career a boost. Directors are now confident that I can portray any character,” he says.

With a career spanning nearly four decades, does he find any drastic changes in the industry since his debut as a child artiste?  “I was 16 when I did my first film 'Nalugu Stabalata'. Those days, most of the films were based on social concepts and many women would come to the theatres. Now, most of the films revolve around love and action. Women prefer to watch TV at home and the younger crowd comes to watch films,” Naresh notes.

“I feel bad that actors don’t mingle with each other these days and there is no bonding between them. For example, hardly anyone from the industry attended the condolence meet for Dharmavarapu garu. I feel very bad about that,” he laments.

Not many know that the actor also dabbles in writing and poetry, and harbours one more ambition. “I’ve had offers to direct films earlier but I was busy at the time. “I will direct a film for sure,” Naresh says.

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