Actor Mahesh Babu is set to begin 2020 with Sarileru Neekevvaru, which is due in cinemas tomorrow. And he is very confident that the film will be a blockbuster.
Excerpts from Mahesh Babu’s interaction with journalists in Hyderabad:
Q. Tell us about your experience shooting for Sarileru Neekevvaru.
It was an amazing journey. Anil Ravipudi first gave me a 40-minute narration while he was shooting F2. I told him that we could proceed further with the project after I complete my prior commitments. But, after watching F2, I felt that I should work with him immediately. I have been only doing message-oriented films of late. I wanted to do an entertaining movie like Dookudu. So after Maharshi, I decided to shoot for Sarileru Neekevvaru. Anil was very happy with my decision. We started the shoot in July and finished it in December. I think doing this film is one of the best decisions that I have taken in my career.
Q. How confident are you about the film’s success?
The movie will be a blockbuster (smiles). Not just me, my entire team is feeling very confident about the film’s success.
Q. Sarileru Neekevvaru seems to be a blend of entertainment and patriotism. How did you balance both?
I think that is the strength of my director Anil Ravipudi. It is not a joke to strike a balance between heroism and comedy in the character of an army officer. At the same time, we should handle the character with care. The director kept all the elements in mind and has delivered an entertainer. I think people will be amazed by what Anil Ravipudi has done. He has evolved as a director with this film.
Q. How did you approach your character?
For me, being in sync with my director is very important. Once I surrender to my director’s vision, I do what they ask me to do. I was very comfortable with Ravipudi once I realised the kind of clarity he had on the subject. Then it became easy for me. So, all the credit goes to the director. My fans will see a new side of me, and it will be something very fresh.
Q. Is there any sentiment behind why you shot in the backdrop of Kondareddy Buruju for this movie?
The story is set in the backdrop of Kurnool. Given that Kondareddy Buruju is the landmark in Kurnool, it also became a character in the movie. Fortunately, the Kondareddy Buruju scene from Okkadu become an iconic scene. So, we thought it would be nice to recreate that whole feel. And full credit goes to art director Prakash. He recreated Kondareddy Buruju at Ramoji Film City.
Q. What kind of training did you undergo to play an army officer?
I worked out very hard and followed a strict diet. I lost 6 kg in preparation for the role. Being physically fit is very important to play the role of a soldier. That’s why we delayed the shoot for a month, so that I could get in required shape.
Q. How was it working with Vijayashanthi again?
It was amazing to work with her again. 30 years ago, I had worked with her in Koduku Diddina Kapuram (1989). And after that, I did not stay in touch with her. When I met her on sets again, I felt as if Koduku Diddina Kapuram shooting happened yesterday. She was very jovial with me on the sets. I thank her for agreeing to be a part of the movie. Having her on board was a huge advantage for this film.
Q. What is your take on two big films releasing on the same day?
It’s not good for business. The Producers Guild came forward and sorted out the issue (between Sarileru Neekevvaru and Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo). I am thankful to them.
Q. Tell us about your upcoming projects.
I am doing my next film with director Vamsi Paidipally. I will start shooting for the film after a two-month break.
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