One flop doesn’t bring you down: Nagarjuna

Deccan Chronicle.  | Sashidhar Adivi

Entertainment, Tollywood

In an exclusive interview, Nagarjuna talks about life in lockdown, completing 35 years in the industry and how he has evolved as an actor

Nagarjuna

Nagarjuna has the quality of being able to radiate positivity while remaining grounded. Though the world was rattled by the COVID-19 pandemic, Nag says it taught him major lessons.

Professionally speaking, he learnt that everyone is dispensable, and so it’s best “not to think too much and give importance to yourself.” On the personal front, he says with equanimity, that the lockdown gave him the opportunity to spend time with his family.

“We had all been leading stressful and busy lives, so the lockdown gave me the opportunity to bond with my family big time. The pandemic also taught us to value health and work,” he notes.

In May, the actor will be completing 35 years in the film industry (his debut film Vikram was released in May 1986). “I still remember my first shot,” he says, looking back, and adds that his journey has been a satisfying one.

“I have seen all kinds of transformations — filmmaking, technology, how actors changed and evolved. Any creative process requires constant changing and reinventing oneself. That has been a great challenge and I am glad that I have evolved with age,” shares the actor.

Ask him what has changed and what remained unchanged about him over the years, and he laughs. “I am exactly the same as I was. The thirst to excel and try different things is what keeps me going,” he says.

One flop doesn’t bring you down

Commenting that he has seen several ups and down in his career, Nag says, “I have realised that one flop doesn’t mean that you are down and out, that’s the beauty of this industry.” The star also noted that his contemporaries in the industry, like Chiranjeevi, Balakrishna and Venkatesh, were all blessed with great opportunities.

Nag doesn’t chase box office numbers, and the success or failure of his films never really affected his stardom. Ask him what has changed and what remained unchanged about him over the years, and he laughs. “I am exactly the same as I was. The thirst to excel and try different things is what keeps me going,” he says.

For someone who is known as a romantic hero, Nag has signed a slew of action films such as Officer, Wild Dog and another film under director Praveen Sattaru, and of course Brahmastra, his comeback film in Bollywood.

“It’s not a strategy; the Brahmastra makers approached me,” he says, adding that they had him in mind while penning the role. “It’s not a full-length role, but a role that has great impact; moreover, the span of the film and story made me accept it,” he said.

Looking forward

Talking about the immediate future, the actor says that he signed on for Wild Dog because the script really appealed to him. “The film deals with bomb blasts and subsequent investigations. I was in Hyderabad when the blasts happened, so I could connect to the story,” shares Nag.

Having acted in 90 plus films, is there any dream role he still wishes to do, we ask, and he replies, “Nothing specific.” Observing that “It is difficult for the Tollywood audience to accept a man in his mid-50s romancing, as against Hollywood,” he says he keeps looking for scripts that have universal appeal and are fresh.

Sons Chai & Akhil

Nag, the father of two, is a family man. While his elder son Nag Chaitanya has cemented his place in Tollywood, his second son Akhil is being nurtured.

“I do talk to them about films but I do not give Akhil any advice. I think he is smart enough to take his own calls. But as an actor-father I want both of them to try different roles to better understand the craft,” he reveals, while claiming that he doesn't even know the storyline of Akhil’s next film, Most Eligible Bachelor.

“To me the most important thing is audience acceptance. I am happy that Akhil got that. Acceptance is the first step towards success, So I think it’s just a matter of time before he gets success,” he  points out.

“Acceptance is important, especially when you try to make a film with a difference,” he says, and praises director Ashishor Solomon for his work on Wild Dog, which will be released on April 2.

Not social media savvy

Being a superstar, Nag keeps his fans updated about the latest happenings in his life — be it films or holidays. So how much of the real Nag do people get to see from his social media handle?

“Not much,” he admits, adding that he’s not a social media person. “I joined Twitter because back then it was new; and since then millions of fans have followed me. I post updates about my film; it’s a great platform to share information officially,” he explains, and adds that he also likes to post photos from his holidays.

“But I do not like to disclose personal information; that’s because I was born in an era where there was no TV and mobile phones,” he says with a grin.

Nag has seen it all — success and failures in his personal and professional life – during the nearly sixty years of his life. So what does life mean to him? “To me life’s all about being happy with family and friends; you need people around to laugh and joke with. But above all, I need to work; if I don’t work I am not the nicest person to be around,” he laughs, and reveals that it’s something he still feels apprehensive about.

Read more...