Telugu films are leaving no stone upturned to get pan-India recognition. The star cast of upcoming epic film, Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy — including Megastar Chiranjeevi, Sudeep and Vijay Sethupathi along with producer Ram Charan and director Surender Reddy landed in Mumbai recently for the teaser launch, where the veteran star held forth on a variety of topics in a freewheeling media interaction.
Admitting that he had stopped working in films for nearly a decade to devote time to politics, Chiranjeevi said, “I don’t know why it took so long to come back to Bollywood. I guess I just didn’t get the right kind of content to do a film. But when I started working again in 2016, I was convinced that I should do this project.”
Sye Raa will also see the coming together of two icons of cinema — Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan and Chiranjeevi. “Amitabh Bachchanji is my real life mentor and plays my guru in the film too. There is only one Megastar and that is Amitabh Bachchan. None can even come near him and I am really indebted to him for agreeing to work with me,” said Chiranjeevi, adding, “When I called him for this special role that would require a week’s work, he immediately agreed.”
Chiranjeevi admits that the stunts were very demanding but integral to the film. “At this age, riding a horse and performing the stunts were really difficult for me, especially since I already have a bad shoulder that has been operated upon. But I believe in hard work and cherish it,” said the icon, elaborating on the shooting schedule. “We used to start shooting by 7 am, so I would get up at 4 am, workout for an hour and then start working on the sets,” he narrates, adding in jest, “My team did not allow me to have a body double, but it felt good to put in the hard work. I really enjoyed doing this film, and cherish the lovely moments while shooting for it.” Interestingly, each of the language versions has a different voiceover. Commenting on the same, Chiranjeevi revealed, “Mohanlal is presenting it in Malayalam while my brother Pawan Kalyan will do the voiceover for the Telugu version. Meanwhile, we are trying to get other stars to do the voiceover for the other versions.”
As one who has been in the industry for nearly three decades now, the Megastar has also been witness to the many changes in the industry and the filmmaking process in general. “From the early 90’s till 2007, I worked in films but after that, I stopped acting to devote time to politics. By the time I re-entered the industry in 2016, I found that a lot had changed,” observed the actor, who added, “In the early days, there would be a clapboard and a film negative, but everything has changed now. In fact, this film — my 150th, makes me feel like a newcomer. The way films are made, distributed and shown may have changed, but the content, emotions and the soul of the film must be retained, and only get better with time.”