Actor Nagarjuna Akkineni’s Manmadhudu 2 is the remake of French romantic comedy I Do. The Tollywood star is also producing the film, in addition to playing the lead role. Written and directed by Rahul Ravindran, the film, releasing this Friday, stars Rakul Preet as the female lead.
Nagarjuna opens up about the rom-com in this group interview with the media. Here are excerpts from the conversation.
Q. What about the French film, I Do, made you buy its rights and remake it in Telugu?
I wasn’t looking for rom-com movies at this point of my career as they won’t suit me. When I saw the French movie, I thought it was tailor-made for me. The lead character was a middle-aged bachelor. The film was not about romance or true love. It’s more about how even a middle-aged person can be bullied or influenced by his family into doing things.
Q. Why did you choose Portugal as backdrop for the film?
In the late 18th century, Telugu people were sent to European countries as labourers. That is how the protagonist’s family came to settle down in Portugal in the first place. As there is no support system for them in the social circle, the relationship among the family members is strong. Plus, it is very easy to shoot in Portugal.
Q. Why did you choose Rahul Ravindran to direct Manmadhudu 2?
I saw Rahul Ravindran’s Chi.La.Sow. Even though it was a small-budget film, I liked his sensibilities and visual sense (as a director). He knows how to extract performances from the actors. He had done a fantastic job in this film. At first, he was hesitant to direct the remake. But when he saw the French movie, he was convinced.
Q. Manmadhudu 2’s shooting was completed in a very short time. Would you give the credit to Rahul Ravindran?
Of course, the credit goes to Rahul. The pre-production work took us more than one year. Everything was locked-in before the shoot, including locations. There was no room for confusion.
Q. You seem to prefer working with new directors.
I think I am a star today because I worked with new talents. I failed many times though. If you realize, Geethanjali and Shiva actually catapulted me to stardom. Most of my movies were directed by newcomers or who had done just one film. That’s why I picked composer Chaitan Bharadwaj (RX 100) to do the music for this film.
Q. Tell us about your character in Brahmastra.
Brahmastra is a very exciting film. I can’t completely explain the story. There are five or six characters which are very powerful in the movie. All these characters are like the characters in the Avengers series. Each of them is strong and important.
Q. You have done bilingual films as well. However, most of them didn’t work for the non-Telugu audience.
According to me, bilingual movies do not work. I have done four bilingual films so far, and all of them failed. I tried but it did not work for me. I have learnt my lessons from them. If you see, Geethanjali and Shiva were dubbed. They were never shot bilingually. Oopiri was also predominantly shot in Telugu.
Q. Tell us about your experience hosting Bigg Boss 3 Telugu.
In Bigg Boss, I am seeing people’s characters change on a weekly basis. It’s quite an experience.
Q. What are your upcoming projects?
I am working on Bangarraju – a sequel to Soggade Chinni Nayana. Unfortunately, director Kalyan Krishna’s brother passed away. The project is on hold as I don’t want to push him now. I am also busy shooting Bigg Boss.