Chennai: He rode to stardom on the wings of a housefly in Rajamouli’s blockbuster Naan E; now, he’s heading up Yash Raj Films’ first foray into the south Indian film market. Meet Telugu actor Nani, who takes on Ranveer Singh’s role from the Hindi hit, Band Baaja Baraat, in this weekend’s Tamil release Aaha Kalyanam by debutant director A. Gokul Krishna.
Q: What made you take up this film?
A: It is often presumed that a remake of a successful film is an easy job. Actually, it is more risky because comparisons will always be made with the original. I was aware of this when I took on the role. We have tried our best to make it an enjoyable experience for the audience.
Q: How was it working with Gokul and Vani Kapoor?
A: For a first timer, Gokul is very calm. He knew exactly what he wanted from us and has done an amazing job. Vani is a dedicated actor. I marvel at her perseverance in learning dialogues in a new language. She respects the language and took utmost effort to get it right.
Q: Were films a planned career?
A: I have been mad over films since college. Mani Ratnam and Kamal Haasan have inspired me. I have watched Mani sir’s films umpteen times and have many copies of the DVDs of each of his films. I was keen on directing rather than acting since I believed that I did not have star looks. So, I worked as an assistant director for some time and then got my first break in Telugu with Ashta Chamma.
Q: What about your family’s support?
A: We are 17 cousins and 16 of them are in the US now. I was the only one loafing around and my parents were not happy with it. There came a time when they stopped attending family functions to avoid answering questions from others. After a point, they realised that I was serious about films. Today, they are happy when they are introduced as Nani’s parents.
Q: Playing Shakti, did it bring back memories of your wedding day?
A: My wedding was a rushed affair as my father-in law was seriously ill. We did not even have invitation cards. We wanted to get married in his presence. All the hungama [crazy fun] that I missed in real life, I think I found it on the sets.