It seems real life relationships, be it that of a sibling or of father and son, they may not translate well into reel life. Several families of Telugu cinema, be it the Akkinenis, Nandamuris or the families of Krishna, Mohan Babu and Chiranjeevi, have several actors within the indsutry. But when it comes to doing films together and bringing their real life relationships on to the big screen, they all seem unsure about audience acceptance.
Varun Tej and his sister Niharika are both actors, but when asked if he is ready to do a film with her playing his sister, provided someone comes up with a good script, he says he is “not sure”. “What would be interesting about us playing the same characters onscreen? The audience knows about our real life and it won’t look natural when I cry for my sister on screen. So I don’t think it would work out if we play our real life roles in reel,” explains Varun Tej.
The actor reveals that his father Naga Babu was offered the role of his onscreen father in Kanche, but the idea was dropped: “Krish approached my father for the role. But nanna and I discussed it with him and we both agreed that it wouldn’t work. So we dropped the idea and roped in Gollapudi Maruthi Rao garu, who played my grandfather instead.”
Perhaps that’s the reason many actors choose not to work with family for such roles. In fact, Nagarjuna and Nageswara Rao played father and son in a couple of films in the early stage of Nag’s career, but refrained from doing so later. “If they play the same relationship on the screen once in a while, people accept it, but if they regularly appear together, it becomes boring,” explains director B. Jaya.
Jaya adds that nowadays everyone knows the lives of celebrities very well. “Instead of playing lengthy roles, if an actor appears as a cameo, then it would be interesting,” she says. If you look at Naga Chaitanya’s upcoming film directed by Kalyan Krishna, initially they roped in Samantha as the female lead. But once their real life relationship status was announced, they dropped Samantha and roped in Rakul Preet Singh instead. The film’s shooting is almost complete and may hit the screens in the month of May. In an earlier interview, Naga Chaitanya said that he doesn't like his real life relationship with Samantha to help his film’s publicity. “I don’t want to mix my personal life into my profession as I look at both differently,” he said. That’s why other actresses have been roped in for all his films, even though he has a chance to romance his fiancée.
However, there are a few exceptions like Manam where the film works only because of the family. The three generations of Akkinenis played three different roles and if they had roped in any other person instead of these three, the film may not have worked out.
Megastar Chiranjeevi too appeared in a cameo in Ram Charan’s Magadheera, but has never played his father in any of his films. Also, while siblings Naga Babu and Chiranjeevi worked together in films, they never played brothers to one another.
“I personally feel that if the story is strong, you can rope in any actor who is suitable for the role. It all depends on the story, not the real life relationship or anything else,” says director Teja.