But why do T-town stars fight shy of aggressive promotion? “Well, unlike Bollywood filmmakers who cater to a pan Indian market, and need to do novel and vigorous campaigns we cater to an audience in a specific region. So a little more than conventional promotion is good enough,” he explains. Nevertheless, he wouldn’t dismiss the possibility altogether, “If somebody comes up with exceptional promotional ideas, I’m game.” he adds.
Coming to his film, did he enjoy essaying a ‘grey’ role after a gap, “I have essayed grey roles in many of my earlier films like Shiva, Killer and Don, however, in this tale of a conman on the run, we ensured that it didn’t turn black as we wanted to evoke some fun,” says the actor. You play a gambler in the film, what are your personal views on the game of chance? “Personally, I dislike gambling but I used to play teen patti during festivals for some fun. And taking on a moralistic tone adds, “Gambling is like any other vice that needs to be kept under check.”
Moving to his other films, T-town’s superstar’s platter does have some variety to offer as he would be donning a ‘different’ role in a film with producer Dil Raju — a Tamil-Telugu bilingual. “Director Radha Mohan came up with an interesting concept and the film revolves around just two strong characters (me and Prakash Raj). It will be a gripping entertainer with some novelty,” he assures. And with this bilingual, the T-town star will be making a comeback to Kollywood after almost a decade (he did the Tamil film Rakshagan in 1997). “That’s true. I have even forgotten Tamil but if everything goes well, I would like to dub for myself,” he says. Another unique feature of the film that Nag fans may find difficult to digest is that the famed lover boy onscreen will have no pretty actresses to romance in the film. “Yes, my character doesn’t have a romantic angle but even in my latest flick the romantic flavour is subdued despite Mamta,” he points out.
By picking up a variety of roles, the star seems determined to satiate the actor in him. “I have been doing performance-oriented roles and films like Sri Ramadasu and Annamayya satisfied the actor in me. But in a surprising turnaround says, “I’d rather be a star than an actor.” Is he fascinated with stardom just for great openings? “Of course big initials are a merit but stardom gives you wider reach, budget comfort and lots more,” he explains.
But isn’t it true that a number of star-centric films have crashed after garnering good openings? “Gen Z audience is demanding, and thumbs down run-of-the-mill stuff. I would be a fool to disregard their changing tastes. If we stars keep repeating ourselves, gradually even big opening collections will evaporate,” he explains. It is perhaps this understanding that made son Naga Chaitanya take the road less travelled. “He wants to carve a niche for himself by doing meaningful films,” he affirms.
On the personal front, he busts his stress by ‘cooking and exercising’ and recently liked watching 3 Idiots. And for those of you want to know the secret behind his fitness and good looks. Well, its discipline, diet, good habits and positive thoughts.