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Home Personality Interviews Nagarjuna Akkineni

Nagarjuna Akkineni

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Interview with a hearthrob of many a Telugu women

 

Nagarjuna

Meeting up with him, why, even chatting with NAGARJUNA over the phone, is an experience far removed from the usual one of film star vs. journalist. Nag is always unfailingly polite arid warm..... you get an instant sense of welcome as you just pick off where you left off never mind if that was a few months ago! Truly, the Last of the Gentlemen! Unfortunately, such is the BO roulette wheel, that he seems to have hit a low patch of late, but I surely speak for all his well-wishers when I pray that the sun sets soon on this phase. Nag on Nagarjuna...

Q. So what’s responsible for the current low ebb in your career?

Answer : (laughs heartily) Is there a low ebb in my career? It happens. Up and down, up and down. It’s not the first time. I like to take a little risk, which is not always accepted by the people. But its the choice I make. Sometimes -when it pays off! - people say, ‘path breaking movies’ - Ofcourse, the price we pay is heavy. If the movie is a flop, career goes down, money doesn’t come in. But it is exciting in a way.....to take risks, do things others haven’t done. Right from the beginning, I started off like this.

Q. Why is it that the Telugu film industry doesn’t really take any gambles with their scripts, unlike say, Malayalam films?

Answer : See, the Malayalam film industry, their films are very different from the rest of the country. Almost every family in Kerala is educated, trained in some art form. Its their culture, so you can’t really compare. If we can’ t make their kind of films, they can’t really make our kind of films either. Here, a movie like Shiva or Geetanjali - that kind of script hasn’t come again.

Q. Do you think having a huge image can be detrimental in its own way?

Answer : It is a major problem - when the image is bigger than the star. From the producers and the distributors point of view, I have to consider the image thing too. They also expect certain things. I don’t have complete freedom as an artiste. Definitely. Knowing the pulse of the audience is the most difficult thing. You just can’t dictate that. Not here, not in Hollywood, not anywhere. We call it ‘organized chaos’! It falls into place - sometimes. We all make mistakes.

Q. So is the ‘camp’ system prevalent in the Telugu film industry?

Answer : Not really. Camp system was there, but quite a while back. It’s a very healthy attitude today, Maybe the producers are comfortable with us, or whatever, but there are others who’ve worked with Chiranjeevi, Venky, Balakrishna, me, There are very few roles that an actor can talk about in his lifetime. How many scripts are there, the same six songs, family sentiments. I have done roles like Chiranjeevi and Venky, and vice versa. At the most, I can change my hairstyle or my clothes!

Q. What if You weren’t an actor...

Answer : I have no idea. That’s the reason I got into films! I am a Mechanical Engineer, I tried pursuing that as a profession when I was in America, but things just didn’t work out. I guess its called Destiny. Today, if I find something more interesting, I’ll quit films.

Q. How do you handle the gossip that is the necessary baggage of a high profile person?

Answer : A long time ago, it used to bother me. Especially when someone gets hurt. See, what happens is.....you and me are good friends. Someone twists it, and somewhere along, you and me start feeling awkward. A barrier builds up. Yes, the Bombay Press has written more, and the Deccan Chronicle lifts it off from there. Its fine, Deccan Chronicle has to survive too - it’s either me or Chandrababu Naidu they write about!

Q. Is it easier then, to be married to someone from the same profession?

Answer : I think any intelligent, secure person should understand. If they don’t have trust, if they’re not happy, then all these problems come up. I’ve seen lots of families who are very happy, where the husband is an actor or director, or the wife is from films, Even if they’re not from films, any other profession - they find a balance somewhere, they are secure in their relationship. Emotions never mature. They remain the same.

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