He is suave, sophisticated, and wears his sobriquet of ‘prince’ lightly! Yes, we are talking about Mahesh Babu, the Chennai born star who was in the city recently to promote his upcoming Tamil flick Selvandhan (Srimanthudu in Telugu) in the first ever simultaneous release (August 7) for the actor.
The soft-spoken actor starts his conversation in chaste Tamil asking, “Ellarum nalla irukeengala (How are you)?” and adds, “I was born and brought up in Chennai, and did my schooling and college in St. Bede’s and Loyola respectively. Having lived here for 23 years, Chennai holds a special place in my heart. There is a bond and I feel at home whenever I am in here.”
After the huge success of Baahubali in Telugu and Tamil, it looks like T-town is catching up with the trend of expanding its horizons. “Not only that, the script of Srimanthudu talks about strong human emotions and a bond between father and son, besides romance and action. Tamil audiences would connect well to it. There’s a strong message in it as well. We have shot at many locations in Tamil Nadu and there are several actors and technicians from K-town in Selvandhan, like Sukanya, Sampath, DSP and Madhie,” he says.
Despite being fluent in Tamil the actor has not done an only-Tamil movie. He says, “Most of my Telugu films like Pokiri have been remade in Tamil and are blockbuster hits. So far, I have not got an only-Tamil script. I am thinking of doing a Tamil film soon. The Kolly industry has such great talent.” Ask him which Tamil actor he wishes to act with, and he replies, “Vijay sir. We are good friends and have met quite a few times already.”
But we hear that you refused to act in the remake of Vijay’s Kaththi? “Not really! Kaththi is a director’s film. There’s no one like AR Murugadoss in Telugu who can remake it there. Hence, I didn’t opt for it.” The actor says he recently watched the Tamil film Kakka Muttai and loved it.
This is what he has to say about multi-starrers, “I did Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu with Venkatesh garu. It was a big hit. I don’t mind doing a multi-starrer if the subject has enough scope for all the actors.”
Reacting to a question about why he never attempts to experiment with his looks he says, “I did try once with 1-Nenokkadine. But it didn’t work out as expected (smiles).” Like Mahesh who played the younger version of his dad Krishna in an old film, his son Gautham recently made his acting debut in 1-Nenokkadine as the younger Mahesh Babu. Any plans of launching him in films later? “He is too young now. The director of that film, Sukumar, felt that it will be nice if Gautham does my childhood role. He was also happy to do that.”
The moment you ask him the secret to his good looks he blushes and says, “It’s God’s gift.” It is known that Mahesh Babu had deferred the release of Srimanthudu by a few weeks so as not to clash with the release of Baahubali.
“Yeah, when Rajamouli garu was making a mammoth film like Baahubali, I wanted to respect it being from the same industry. So, we slotted our film’s release a few weeks later to pave the way for Baahubali’s run.” All the same, though he admitted that he is doing a film with Rajamouli, he declined to talk about it, saying, ‘it is in a nascent stage.’ The actor says that his future Telugu films will have simultaneous releases in Tamil. He has also resolved to dub his own voice in Tamil for his next, titled Brahmotsavam.
He is also clear that he would never enter politics. “I have no interest in politics. I know nothing other than acting and entertaining people. I want to give good films,” he signs off.