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Interview with Naga Chaitanya
Date: March 6, 2010, Hyderabad

Naga Chaitanya is going to bring a sea change in Telugu film industry soon. When our next generation heroes are running relentlessly after box office records and commercial elements, Naga Chaitanya carved out a new path for himself. He is going to do sensible and commercially acceptable different cinema. He will jump into records bandwagon when the time is right. Naga Chaitanya is a simple guy and has clarity of thinking. Here is exclusive interview with the latest sensation of Telugu cinema -

When did you decide to make acting as your career?
I spend my first 19 years in Chennai and then shifted to Hyderabad. I was bitten by acting bug in my 2nd year of college. I used to go to sets of dad movies. I expressed my wish to dad and he asked me to join a short course in acting. I went to Mumbai during summer vacation and did a short acting course in ‘creating characters’. After completing my B. Com. I went to LA and did another acting course. I also got trained in martial arts and gymnastics for 5 months over there.

How did Josh happen?
I focussed on Telugu movies and perfecting Telugu language for a couple of years after I decided to go for acting. The word was out that I was interested in acting and the doors were open for other banners as well. Dil Raju approached me with the subject of Kotha Bangaru Lokam when I was in college. It was a nice subject, but I wanted a film with action elements as my debut. Dil Raju came again with the script of Josh when I was ready. We asked for certain changes and we finalised script in 10 days of story-sitting.

What went wrong with Josh?
I had no experience when I acted in Josh. I didn’t realise the amount of expectations Telugu movie lovers have for a star’s son launch. I felt that it would connect with everybody. If you look at the progression of my character in Josh, it grows with the time and become a full-blown character by the climax. The movie lovers expected an energetic character in Josh. If I had done Josh after 5/6 movies, may be people would have accepted it.

Your debut movie has a new director (Vasu Varma). Your second movie had Gowtam Menon who never had direct hit in Telugu. Your next movie has Ajay Bhuyan directing it and his debut film is unreleased. Being the son of Nagarjuna, you could get any big commercial director (Rajamouli, Trivikram, Seenu Vytla, VV Vinayak, Puri Jagan etc). Why are taking risks for each and every movie?
We have great film directors in Telugu film industry. I spoke the most of the top commercial directors. They told me that because they are stuck in commercial mold, they can’t break free and do different cinemas. Most of them end up making commercially appealing films only. If I do any hit film with any of these directors, audiences don’t allow me to do different movies. If I get a commercial blockbuster, audiences/trade people would be looking for my next movie to collect better than earlier movie. If I get a big commercial blockbuster, I could never do Ye Maya Chesave (YMC) as a follow up project. I want to start small and prove myself with good and meaningful films before embarking on big commercial projects.

Tell us about how YMC happened?
When Manjula approached me with YMC project, Josh movie was not released. After the release of Josh, lots of people wanted me not to do YMC. Pressure on me doubled after Josh’s result. I am a big fan of Gowtam Menon and acting in his film is like the dream come true. YMC is a fresh and a different script. Coming from the lineage of Akkineni’s, dad’s fans wanted my debut film Josh to be a love story. YMC is for them.

I was confident when I acted in YMC. We saw the preview seven days before the release. My confidence levels were high after watching the movie. I am satisfied with the response it received.

What is the most difficult scene to do in YMC?
The climax of the movie. You have to emotionally build it up in a continuous scene.

YMC film had full close-ups and you did supremely well. How did you manage it for your second movie?
Gowtam Menon gave me a bound script and I had ample time to prepare. I got to know about character. Gowtam Menon is a kind of director who doesn’t prefer rehearsals. He feels that naturalness will be lost if we do rehearsals. He goes for a maximum of 3 takes. Even if you do badly in 3rd take, he still prefers to take the better among the first 3 takes as he firmly believes that freshness and naturalness will be lost if actors repeats again and again. Gowtam Menon also used to emote before the scene to show me how to do it.

Samantha is getting raving appreciation. Tell us about her?
For a first movie, nobody expects the kind of performance Samantha delivered. She gave me tremendous support as a co-artist.

You are very natural in love scenes in the movie. Do you have any experience in real life?
Love is something essential in everybody’s life. I too have experience in love. Whatever kind of love at my age, I had my moments in real life. And it helped on the screen as well.

What is the feedback (positive & negative) you got about YMC?
Positive: They are saying that I have improved a lot compared to my first film. It feels happy to know that I had grown as an actor.

Negative: They say that my face is little stiff and expressions are less. I underplayed my characters in Josh and YMC. Probably that might have given them such an impression.

Tell us about your next movie?
I am doing an energetic character in my next movie. It will be a commercial entertainer with action orientation. I love action part and martial arts. This film will be directed by Ajay Bhuyan and produced by D Siva Prasad Reddy.

How do you see yourself as an actor down the line?
I don’t want to have an image (like lover boy or a commercial hero). I want audiences to remember the characters and movie names when they watch movies. I don’t want them to remember Naga Chaitanya. People remembered Karthik in YMC, not Naga Chaitanya.

How similar is Karthik character to your real life character?
I am a simple boy next door like Karthik. I am clear about what I want like Karthik.

Your cousin Rana’s movie Leader was released just a week before released. How did you like Rana’s work?
We never wanted to release our movies in the same month. The Tamil version of YMC was slated for 26 Feb released and we didn’t want to miss the bus. I really appreciate Rana for trying a different genre. Leader is not a regular masala movie. Hats off to Rana and he has got enormous screen presence. Sekhar Kammula made a beautiful movie by sticking to the new genre.

What kind of movies do you like?
I like films of all genres except for Horror.

What is the kind of support you are getting from Nag’s fans?
I am really surprised the way they embraced YMC. Thanks to their support. Dad prepared them mentally before the movie release. I do need the support of fans throughout my career.

Tell us about your fitness/diet regime?
I am kind of guy who thoroughly enjoys fitness. I never miss gym. Diet is very crucial for my career. I am very strict with my diet and indulge in food completely just for one day a week.

Any message to IB visitors?
I follow regularly and very frequently. I like it more because it gives healthy content and restrains from gossip and unconfirmed news. Since we can’t meet audiences personally, net provides the best way to get to know what people think through user comments, user reviews, blogs and discussion boards. Thanks to for providing us a great feedback.

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