Nine years after he first met his life partner Samantha Ruth Prabhu and fell in love with her on the sets of Gautam Menon’s Ye Maaya Chesave, Naga Chaitanya is back with her in Majili, a film that in many ways reflects his own journey as an actor and husband.
Says Chay, “When we first met during Ye Maaya Chesave, we played young lovers who were discovering love. Then we did a couple of other films together, including the family film Manam (in which the actor shared screen space with father Nagarjuna and grandfather Nageshwara Rao) where our relationship both on screen and in our personal life had evolved. Now, in our latest film, we are playing a married couple going through the process of adjusting with one another.”
Naga Chaitanya admits that it wasn’t easy being with his wife on screen. “But then we’ve decided that whenever we work together, we will leave our personal relationship at home. Also, whatever we do together on screen has to take our combination forward,” says the young actor.
Talking about his role, Chaitanya confesses, “I don’t think I’ve played any character as dark and complex as the one in Majili. He was a challenge to play because that’s really not me. There was always the dilemma between giving what the audience wants and doing roles that would take me further as an actor. I think I’ve resolved that dilemma in this film. Earlier, I would start off with the intention of doing what I felt was right, followed by some commercial tweaking. Not this time though.”
The film traces the story of a man’s journey from first love to marriage. “There is a wide arc in the graph of my character. I start off as a young lover and then go on to play a married man. I think I’ve got a few more years where I can play characters younger than my age,” he states with a smile.
Meanwhile, Naga Chaitanya’s father and uncle Nagarjuna and Venkatesh continue to inspire him. “They’ve taught me to take risks in my career, to go beyond the expectations of the audience and oneself. If my father had not taken risks, he wouldn’t have done films like Shiva and Geethanjali. Similarly, Venky Mama (Venkatesh) continues to do the unexpected. Look at how much fun he had doing F2. It became such a hit. We are so proud of him,” says Chay.
Ever the doting husband, Naga Chaitanya is all praise for the work being done by his wife. “Samantha is constantly pushing the envelope. In fact, she is doing more work now and far more challenging roles than she did before we got married. Those old theories of audiences not wanting to see married actresses don’t ring true anymore.”...