At 56, Akkineni Nagarjuna is still a much sought-after leading man in Telugu cinema. The fact that his sons have made a successful headway into films has not dimmed his charm either.
At 56, Akkineni Nagarjuna is still a much sought-after leading man in Telugu cinema. The fact that his sons have made a successful headway into films has not dimmed his charm either. We speak to the actor about his latest release Oopiri and more...
Oopiri is the official remake of the French film The Intouchables. How did that happen (Laughs) I guess the French love me as much as I love them. Jokes apart, it was a film I wanted to do for some time. Four years ago my wife Amala and I saw The Intouchables and loved it. I loved the spirit of my character who is on a wheelchair but never depressed or wallowing in self-pity. My character is very inspiring. I wanted to do a Telugu version from the time I saw it.
How difficult was it for you to play a man whose movements are relatively restricted Initially it was difficult. I am a very physical actor. I generally use my hands a lot. It was difficult specially in the first schedule. I told my director to take his time, do as many retakes as he wants until I get it right. There were times when I did 20-25 takes. He kept asking for take after take and I just did them. It took about a week for me to get used to the wheelchair. But one thing remained constant throughout the shoot.
What was that Usually after a shot we look for a chair to rest our feet. In Oopiri, it was the other way around. After every shot I was on my feet, walking around the set trying to get the blood circulation in my legs working properly.
To play a man with much spirit in spite of a disability — was it inspiring It was very inspiring. I’ve seen my mom confined to a wheelchair in the last three years of her life. Both her knees had given way, and there was no way she could undergo surgery at her age. Even though I was concerned for her, I didn’t know at that time what she had to go through.
Batman v/s Superman has released along with Oopiri. Your comments My character is a bit of a super-hero himself. He is confined to a wheelchair but his spirit flies. I am a big Batman fan, not so much a Superman fan. I am looking forward to seeing it.