Whether he acts as the rich father to Mahesh Babu or the classic villain opposite Jr NTR, Jagapathi Babu perfectly fits into any role. And he wants to be called JB or Jagapathi, not Jagapathi Babu. “Yes, please call me JB or Jagapathi, which is more convenient for me,” he says.
After making a comeback as a villain in Legend, his stars have been on the rise. “I believe in time. Three years before Legend I did a portfolio and decided to do character and villain roles and I told everyone the same. But at that time no one approached me. Director Boyapati Srinu saw the same photo after three years and approached me for Legend, which became a great success,” says the actor.
He adds with that success, the next director wanted to show him in a better way. “That’s the reason that my characters become better with each film,” says JB.
But will he only play rich fathers or villains in big budget films? “No, it’s a completely wrong opinion. I have never said that I will only do big-budget films or play a rich character. I am available for budget films and am ready to do interesting characters in concept-based films. I am ready to adjust my remuneration too,” he says, adding that he was impressed with the success of small films recently.
Is he open to working with new directors? “Yes. There is a wrong opinion that I am busy, not approachable, take high remunerations and so on. I want to say that first come to me and narrate the character, if I like it I will definitely accept it, and don’t bother about my remuneration,” says the actor.
JB adds that he did a film without remuneration but the makers didn’t use it properly. “The film was about cancer. I liked the role and I thought that it was for a cause, so I told them that I would allot full dates for them and they needn’t think about my remuneration. Though I did so much for them, the film didn’t happen because of some problem,” says the actor.
“Initially people said that I was not fit to be a hero, but later they accepted me and the same people said that I had a golden leg. I wanted to do one film in my life, but I completed more than 100 films successfully. I have seen the highs and lows in life,” he says.
“When I started as a hero I knew that it would not last long. That’s the reason I didn’t believe in attachments. That’s how I took a positive decision to do a negative role,” he says.
The actor is now busy in Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada and Telugu. “I accepted the Malayalam film because of Mohan Lal. I want to work with him because I like him. After I met him I liked him even more as he is very simple and down to earth. Everyone knows that he is a very talented person and that’s the reason I did the Malayalam film,” says JB. He adds that he is also committed to two Tamil films, one with Vijay and the other with Vishal.
Any chances of producing a film under his popular home banner Jagapathi Pictures? “No. I don’t want to do that. But I want to do something new to encourage new talent so I am going to start a portal, Click Cine Card, which will give a platform to innovative and young filmmakers,” he says, adding that the idea came from popular cinematographer Surender Reddy and choreographer Vidya Sagar. “I am just helping them as I know cinema very well,” he says.
He adds that his wife or his kids never take any rumours about him seriously. “They are not interested — they know that it is common in this industry. That’s why they always maintain low profiles,” he says.
His elder daughter’s recent marriage was also low profile. “Marriage is a family affair and it’s a home function. I don’t believe in spending lots of money and calling hundreds of people. I called my relatives and closest friends and that’s it,” he says.
There are rumours that he was promoting actresses Priyamani and Kalyani. JB says. “Priyamani is a talented actress and she has proved herself. She doesn’t need any promotion and it’s totally wrong that I promoted her in films.
“But I agree that I encouraged Kalyani because she is innocent, so I suggested her for a few films.”