Updated: January 14, 2022 1:36:43 pm
Nagarjuna Akkineni returns to the big screens with Bangarraju, which also stars son Naga Chaitanya. This Kalyan Krishna directorial released on Friday amid Omicron fears and the ticket-pricing issues in Andhra Pradesh. Co-starring Ramya Krishnan and Krithi Shetty in pivotal roles, it is the only big film releasing this Sankranthi after the biggie RRR bowed out.
Amid professional success, the last year had its own challenges for the Akkineni family as Naga Chaitanya and Samantha Ruth Prabhu announced the end of their relationship after four years of marriage. Hours after Samantha and Naga’s announcement in October, Nagarjuna had said in a statement, “With a heavy heart let me say this! Whatever happened between Sam and Chay is very unfortunate. What happens between a wife and husband is very personal. Sam and Chay, both are dear to me. My family will always cherish the moments spent with Sam and she will always be dear to us. May God bless them both with strength.”
While the family maintained silence on the split after that, Naga Chaitanya and Nagarjuna have addressed it in recent media interactions ahead of Bangarraju. Talking about how his son handled the separation, Nagarjuna told Firstpost in an interview, “I am very proud of how calm he remained through it all. He was not provoked into uttering a single word. Like any father, I was very worried about him. But he was more worried about me than I was about him. He would ask me, ‘You okay, Dad?’ and I’d be like, ‘Errr, isn’t that what I should be asking you?’” Naga Chaitanya also said that his family stood by him and supported him during the difficult time.
In another media interaction, Nagarjuna spoke about their upcoming film. Exerpts…
Did Bangarraju put any burden on your shoulders?
Bangarraju’s prequel Soggade Chinni Nayana was a super hit. Though that was an advantage always, Bangarraju has to be better than that. Since Naga Chaitanya starred in it and we promised a Sankranthi film to the audiences, the project is a big responsibility for me.
What was the reason to take Naga Chaitanya for a lead role in the movie?
The chemistry that two actors, who are father and son in reality can bring to the screen is in a different league altogether. It’s commercial formula, and it always worked in Telugu cinemas. Director Kalyan Krishna worked almost one and a half years on the plotline.
Naga Chaitanya has to imitate you in a few scenes in the film. Did you give any suggestions to him?
I told Chaitanya to watch Soggade Chinni Nayana to understand the nuances of the characters. Before shooting, I used to record dialogues in Godavari slang and give them to him to get an idea of the modulations. Apart from that, Kalyan Krishna was a big help for Chaitanya on the sets.
How do you define your combination with Ramya Krishnan?
It’s a golden combination (laughs). We know each other so well, and I enjoy working with her.
How was it working with director Kalyan Krishna?
Kalyan Krishna is easy to deal with, and I like to work with him. He is very good with his pen.
What is your take on the ticket-price issue in Andhra Pradesh?
As I said earlier, the changed ticket prices will work for our movie, and if any hike takes place, it will be a bonus for us. In April, the AP government issued a government order on ticket prices, and discussions were taking place in Telangana as well. Only after understanding the situation and calculating the revenue possibilities, we commenced the filming of Bangarraju.
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