New Delhi: Telugu cinema superstar Nani says the trend of viewers opening up to films across languages needs to be celebrated rather than being made into a topic of debate.
The blockbuster run of SS Rajamouli’s ”RRR”, Allu Arjun-led ”Pushpa” and Yash’s ”KGF: Chapter 2” in the Hindi-speaking belt at a time when most of the Bollywood films have failed to generate buzz at the box office has led to chatters that the south film industry is challenging the monopoly of its northern counterpart.
The 38-year-old actor, whose National Award-winning film ”Jersey” was recently remade in Hindi with Shahid Kapoor, believes success of films from any region of the country should be taken in stride as it contributes to the growth of the Indian film industry.
”This divide is stupid. With whatever is happening now, cinema is winning. We are naming ourselves — Bollywood, Tollywood, Kollywood — these are like borrowed names from Hollywood. I don’t understand why we call ourselves different industries. The languages may be different but we are one nation,” Nani told PTI in an interview.
The actor, whose real name is Ghanta Naveen Babu, has featured in some of the most popular Telugu titles including ”Eega”, ”Gentleman”, ”Devadas” and ”Shyam Singha Roy”.
Most of his films have been dubbed in various languages and enjoy a loyal fan base in the Hindi-speaking audience as well.
Nani said he has a positive outlook towards this creative exchange as it will lead to diverse stories being told.
”We are celebrating every good film coming from every state. Each state has different superstars and if everyone is celebrating a good film, the focus won’t be on casting a star. The focus will now be on how to make a nice film. It’s a good change we are going through as a film industry. There is no discussion on north versus south,” he added.
The actor is also averse to the idea of branding films as ‘pan-India’ projects. He believes pan-India status should be given to a movie by the audience and not the makers.
”When a film is exciting and creates the right presence across India, it’s a pan-India film. Not because we are releasing it everywhere. A film which is loved by the audience everywhere is a true pan-India film,” he said.
According to the Hyderabad-born actor, the Aamir Khan-starrer ”Dangal” and Rajamouli’s ”Baahubali” and ”RRR” are true pan-India films. ”We need to concentrate on making a great film so people across the country would love it,” he added.
Nani’s latest release is romantic comedy ”Ante Sundaraniki”, directed by Vivek Athreya.
It follows the story of Sundar, a Brahmin man who falls for Leela, a Christian woman and trains her to be a Brahmin to convince his orthodox parents, only for their plan to backfire. The film opened to positive reviews and audience reaction on Friday.
The actor said he fell in love with the story the moment Athreya narrated it to him as it gave him the opportunity to do something new.
”I never really plan my next film. So when Vivek told me about the story, I immediately said yes. It presents me in a new way,” she added.
The film, a Mythri Movie Makers project, features Nazriya Nazim as the female lead. Casting the ”Bangalore Days” star was an organic decision, said Nani.
”Leela was important to us. Both of us, Vivek and I, thought someone like Nazriya would fit the bill perfectly and we are very happy that we brought her on board.” Nani is currently shooting for his next project ”Dasara”, directed by Srikanth Odhela. The actor said he has completed almost 30 per cent of the filming for the action drama, which also features National Award winner Keerthy Suresh.
”It’s an authentic and raw film. Telugu cinema has not seen something so raw. It’s probably the most challenging film of my career, because of the coal mine set up, the dialect and I need to get the slang right, so it’s a lot of hard work,” he said.