2018 has an interesting line up of films with filmmakers trying out new combinations. So you have Nani teaming up with Nagarjuna, NTR and Ram Charan in Rajamouli’s social-drama, a Nithiin and Sharwanand starrer in the offing and Allari Naresh all set to rub shoulders with Mahesh Babu among others. In an industry where actors are image conscious and very particular about their screen time, what makes stars green light these types of projects? Also, how challenging is it for filmmakers to convince the stars?
When it was reported that Nagarjuna and Nani would work together under director Sriram Adittya, it surprised many. But Nag reveals, “When Sriram Adittya came up with an idea of a film co-starring Nani, I was excited because I liked Nani ever since I saw Eega. His comic timing and dialogue delivery are fantastic. Our film is a comic entertainer.” He adds, “Multi-starrers are not about screen time, but how well the combination can elevate the film.”
When Rajamouli posted a photo along with Jr NTR and Ram Charan, it became the most-talked about multi-starrer. Fans started to discuss who would share how much screen time. A source close to Rajamouli reveals, “The director felt that a multi-starrer would be an ideal follow up to Baahubali. Since he’s the most sought-after filmmaker, getting together two stars wasn’t difficult and he knows how to deal with an ensemble cast. He is working on making sure that it perfectly matches both the heroes’ image.”
Director Vamsi Paidipally, whose upcoming film sees Mahesh Babu and Allari Naresh together, admits that balancing the images of two stars is challenging. “Today’s cinema is about breaking barriers and going beyond. Stars are also thinking broadly and value the script in totality. So as long as they believe in the content and the director, they have no qualms with their screen time. The challenging aspect is to smartly balance the stars’ roles with their image.
Moreover, if the stars can relate to their characters, the bonding can be seen, like in my earlier multi-starrer Oopiri.
Yet another film that’s got people excited is Harish Shankar’s next with Nithiin and Sharwanand. And, a combination that’s raising eyebrows is director Anil Ravipudi’s next film. The action drama, starring Venkatesh and Varun Tej, is already becoming the talk of the town. But aren’t multi-starrers risky budget-wise? Producer Dil Raju, who bankrolled multi-starrers like Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu, starring Mahesh Babu and Venkatesh explains, “For a multi-starrer, naturally the budget goes up, so we have to be extremely careful in getting the right script and a suitable cast. The stars should believe in their characters and their camaraderie should reflect onscreen. A multi-starrer definitely helps in getting better openings, but if the content isn’t convincing, it falls flat.”