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Nagarjuna: Samantha proved to be lucky for us


For someone who has an impressive three-decade-long career behind him, Nagarjuna’s excitement at the response his latest release Raju Gari Gadhi 2 has received, is quite amusing. But he has his reasons: “this is the first film after Sam-Chaitu got married, so naturally we were all very excited. And Samantha proved that she’s lucky for us. Raju Gari Gadhi 2 is being received well and is getting a good response — we are elated. In fact, this film’s success has invigorated me. I’m on cloud nine, as is Chaitu. The whole family is in a celebratory mood,” explains Nag, delightedly.

All praise for his daughter-in-law with whom he shared screenspace in the horror comedy, Nag goes on, “She’s a great actor and I’m a big fan of hers. In fact, after Ye Maya Chesave, (her first film with Naga Chaitanya which also marked her debut) I had called her personally and appreciated her acting. She has consistently improved her performance. working with her has been a good experience, both in Manam and now in Interestingly, a lot of praise has also come Nag’s way for attempting a character like Rudra that doesn’t pander to his ‘star’ image as Tollywood’s ‘Manmadhudu’. There are no fight sequences; no songs; why, he doesn’t even have a heroine! Is this the beginning of a new Nag, on screen? “(Laughs) See, Rudra is not a character that comes your way every day. It’s an author-backed role in a content-driven film. I was really excited about playing the role of a mentalist as it’s a subject that has always piqued my interest. I’ve always been interested in the supernatural. In fact, at one point in life I actually tried to practise being a mentalist. But it’s not easy. It needs a lot of focus and concentration. So when Ohmkar approached me with this role, I was like ‘I finally get to be one, at least on screen!'” he quips, adding, “Thankfully, my audience has been supportive. They want me to test new genres, try new characterisations. As an actor too, it keeps me going.”

Talking of fans, the posters of RRG2 with a fierce looking Rudra wielding a rudraksha mala, seemed to have reminded a lot of them of a younger Nag in Shiva, wielding a cycle chain. Was that throwback intentional? “Yes, it was Ohmkar’s idea. He’s a huge fan of Shiva and he wanted the poster to be some sort of a tribute to it. That said, the rudraksha is not something used only for the look. It has its own significance. in Rudra’s confrontation with the ghost, it is the power of the rudraksha which saves him. The introduction of Rudra also happens with it; so it contributed to his overall personality of the modern-day Guru, if I can call Rudra that,” says Nagarjuna.

 By the way, this will be the first Diwali in the Akkineni family post the big ChaiSam wedding. Any big plans? “Sam has joined us, so it will be double the celebrations for sure,” he says, signing off.
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