Actor Mahesh Babu. (Twitter)
Mahesh Babu’s charm and unassuming nature wins you over. In an interview with DC, the superstar, whose Sarkaaru Vaari Paata (SVP) is a runaway success at the box office, talked about his new career high, and his journey thus far in cinema.
Excerpts from an interview:
What does the super success of SVP mean to you?
This success is very special — because of the pandemic. It’s been a tough two years for all of us. We have gone through something strange and surreal as a result of the lockdowns. Our itineraries were chaotic — it was ‘Start-Stop-Start’ with the shooting. I am glad that Sarkaaru Vaari Pata is finally out. The love we are receiving is overwhelming.
SVP is setting new records! Do you believe in numbers?
You have to (laughs)! Numbers are important for a big film. With every film, the equation changes and the numbers keep going up. So, the challenge is to match up to those figures.
Your film Sarileru Neekevvaru, just before the pandemic, was a blockbuster. In that context, how important is SVP’s success?
It is very important, especially for a big film, to succeed; there’s no other way, because the stakes are high. Everything matters — from my co-actors to my filmmakers. The fact that the film resonated with the audience gives me immense satisfaction.
Do you make a conscious effort to convey a message in your films?
Not really. I have never really thought about it. It just happens that way. In SVP, more than the underlying message, the entertainment quotient and my characterisation were what excited me. My role has little vibes of Pokiri in it, and people who have watched the film have been saying they saw a vintage Mahesh. Thanks to director Parasuram for his writing and the way he designed the character.
When you sign a film, do you have a checklist to tick?
I go with my gut feeling first! The plot or the story idea have to excite me to start with. Later, I try to see whether all aspects are covered. Entertainment is of prime importance. I think people go to theatres to be entertained, so that’s what I look at. But over the years, I have evolved as an actor. I became more mature in selecting scripts. I make my own decisions when I am doing a film. I don’t go around looking for any validation.
It’s been around 22 years since you came into the industry. How do you reflect on your journey?
Twenty-two years may sound like a very long journey (smiles), but in my head, I feel I have just entered the industry! My journey hasn’t changed my personality and the way I think. I am still very young in my head, thank God for that! My approach is the same now as it was when I did my first film. I am still very insecure when I approach the sets. I still feel there’s so much to learn and that’s a very good aspect of me. I still get very nervous about film releases (smiles). So yeah, I still feel like a newcomer.
What were your learnings during your journey in films?
I have realised that you just have to take everything in your stride! Be it success or failure, you just own it! It’s your responsibility.
Expectations are already soaring about your film with Rajamouli. Does that put you under pressure?
There’s no pressure at all! There’s a lot of excitement! It’s a dream come true, working with Rajamouli garu. We’ve been waiting for a long time and are glad and excited that it is finally happening. It’ll be an incredible journey. I am excited and looking forward to it.
Does choosing a script with a pan-India appeal put pressure on actors?
I believe in making films that I like. Such films naturally transcend boundaries and people will appreciate them. I don’t think you can plan anything; everything has to happen organically.
Are you open to multi-starrers?
Why not? We need to have the right script though.
You frequently go on a holiday; is travelling your stress buster?
Yes! Travelling with my family always gives me energy and contentment.
Your daughter Sitara is impressive in her music videos. Will she debut as an actress?
I think Sitara has a natural talent. She’s doing it all by herself! Sometimes her performances surprise me. As a father, I feel very proud. I encourage my children to pursue their own dreams. They can do what they want. Namrata and I don’t tell them specifically what to do; we give them the freedom to choose what they want.
When can we see Guatham on the silver screen?
He wants to study right now! He wants to go abroad after completing his schooling. So I don’t know what he has in mind.
What was the best quality you imbibed from your superstar father?
Discipline – it’s one of the reasons my journey has been so exciting. I lead a disciplined life.