As the release date of his first co-production Srimanthudu approaches, Mahesh Babu — unlike most actors who would only be willing to chat about their work — opens up about Namrata, their kids, Daenerys Targaryen (Game of Thrones) and other interesting aspects of his life that people are curious to know. He has mastered acting, and is now getting into producing. In the future, what other aspects of filmmaking will Mahesh Babu explore? Does directing interest him? “To be honest, I have never thought about getting into direction.
Directing a film requires a different set of skills. It is a difficult job and I am happy being an actor.” How involved is he with the scripts of the movies that he does? “When I listen to a film’s script, I go by instinct and say yes to the story if I like it. After that I don’t get too involved. If I have any doubts I make sure that everything is explained to me before the movie begins.”
Once shooting begins, Mahesh says he gets totally involved with his character and the only thing he discusses with the director is his acting.
Even as a co-producer, it will be the same and the actor has no immediate plans to build his own studio or become a full-time producer.
“Right now I will be co-producing films which will be executed by other producers, once I get more experience in this department, then I will think about the whole picture because making films, executing the work and introducing new talent is a huge responsibility. You need to be ready for that.”
Mahesh comes from a traditional film family. How much did this upbringing help him in his career and how is it helping his son Gautam? “My background helped me tremendously. I grew up in Chennai and lived a normal life with my parents and siblings. I would go to school in an auto and dad (Krishna) never brought his star status home.”
The actor is trying to give his son Gautam the same grounded upbringing, but agrees it is a tad difficult. “The exposure now is so much that Gautam knows I am a big star. He tends to get a little spoilt — we try to keep him grounded. Namrata takes care of that. All the disciplining is by her. I am just here to play with the kids,” laughs the actor.
And he does make an effort to give Gautam a normal life. The doting dad often drops his son to school and makes it a point to attend school events as “Gautam makes it clear to me that he wants me there”.
The actor decided to take his wife and kids to Switzerland for a short break recently when he got some time-off from shooting. “I love holidaying with the kids after working hard, it is amazing. I always do this. When I am shooting a film and it has a big schedule, I make sure that I take a week off with the family. It gives you new energy.”
His daughter Sitara is just three years old, but Mahesh ensures he does things like chilling in the pool (during holidays) because she likes that.
Apart from the kids, another integral part of Mahesh’s life is his wife. “She has brought a certain sense of calm into my life. I am more centered now,” he says. Namrata is a huge help in his professional life too because, thanks to her handling all his other affairs, including finances, he is able to concentrate on his acting. Namrata is a good singer, but has admitted to never singing anything for him. Why? He claims, “I am not a romantic person. If she sings I will end up laughing.”
And why is the couple not seen in public? “Earlier when we used to live in an apartment, we used to go out a lot. But ever since we moved into our home, we never want to leave it. We just love it here and call our friends over.”
Along with vacationing, the actor also likes to unwind with a good TV show. His current favourite is Game of Thrones and his favourite character is the Mother of Dragons — Daenerys Targaryen. “Her entire character is just amazing.”
Tamil yes, Bollywood no
What about acting in other film industries? “I am committed to films in Tollywood and have not come across anything exciting in Hindi films.” But the actor is keen to do a Tamil movie since he grew up in Chennai and is fluent in the language. “I would ideally like to do a bilingual which will be made in Tamil and Telugu. Very keen to work with A.R. Murugadoss.”
Mahesh and Murugadoss have met a couple of times and the actor reveals that a script is being worked on by the famous director. If things go according to plan, Mahesh will make his Tamil debut soon.
Television is another medium that is exciting. Priyanka Chopra is making her mark in Hollywood through her TV show Quantico, Amitabh Bachchan hosts and even acted in a Hindi serial and S.S. Rajamouli is now contemplating Baahubali as a TV show.
Has anything tempting been offered to Mahesh in this medium? “TV here is not as big as it is in Hindi. There is nothing to get stars excited yet. Only Nagarjuna’s Telugu version of KBC was the only show we all took notice of.”