South superstar Nani is a busy man these days. The actor has his hands full as he gears up for the release of his most anticipated film, Dasara. The movie, helmed by debutant director Srikanth Odela, sees Nani play a feisty coal miner. In an exclusive interaction with The Free Press Journal, the actor talks about South films making international news, a collaboration between different film industries, his upcoming movie, and more. Excerpts:
A lot has been said about different Indian film industries working with each other now. How do you see this change?
I am happy about it. Earlier it was Tamil cinema, Malayalam cinema and so on, but now people across the country are watching our films too. We are all equals now and when we all become equals, the focus shifts to good content. The competition increases in a direction where we all want to make great content.
What about the statements on the global stage made by SS Rajamouli about RRR being a Telugu film, do you think that the divide still exists?
It is not wrong. It is a Telugu film primarily. If a film is made in Telugu, you can't say it is made in Hindi or the rest of the country. We are in a generation where whatever you say will be quoted wrong. If you even say the nicest or most positive thing, it can be perceived as wrong.
Do you blame social media for the current social media?
Absolutely. It is a medium that misquotes and misinforms the most. YouTube channels put wrong headlines. We all know the truth. There are many more big stars than me in the Telugu industry and they have faced it.
Do you believe that RRR has given global validation to the entire South Indian film industry?
More than setting a benchmark, Rajamouli sir has opened our eyes. Earlier, we thought, no one will watch if we release a Telugu film in other Southern states but he proved it. Then, we thought, who will watch our films across the country but Rajamouli proved it with Baahubali. And now we won an Oscar for RRR. He made us a little smart in dreaming big (laughs).
Your next, Dasara, is nearing release. Tell us something about your role.
This is set against the backdrop of coal mines in the village of Telangana. For people, this would be the world they are not aware of but they will be transported to it. It is difficult to live there due to adverse conditions and, hence, alcohol plays an important role in keeping the work going as it makes people numb. There is drama around it.
Were you upset when Shahid Kapoor-starrer Jersey didn't do well in the Hindi market?
I believe if a film doesn't do well, it has nothing to do with the film. Jersey is equally well-made in Hindi as Telugu. I feel it is about bad timing. Bad timing can happen with any film. It is about the mood of the audience. I did Band Baaja Baaraat in Telugu as Aaha Kalyanam with Vaani Kapoor, which bombed badly.
What are your thoughts on the huge fandom down South?
Even Shah Rukh Khan has a huge fan following across the nation... The numbers of fans might be equal but the way they show their love might be different.
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