The actor discusses the movie, competition in the Telugu film industry, his next projects, his family, and other topics.
Sarileru Neekevvaru, Mahesh Babu’s latest movie, heading towards a blockbuster, seems to be the actor’s career best. “My most memorable Sankranti till date,” says an ebullient Mahesh Babu about the success of the film. “This time I experienced a new sense of euphoria. For four years I did serious films. For the first time I opened up and did this film, keeping my fans in mind and, looking at the results, I think it was the best decision.”
Did he expect this kind of numbers?
“The openings are 10 times more than what we expected. It’s magic... I am thrilled. When we do a big film, we want to create history and we want everybody to benefit,” he says.
Asserting that he can sense how a film will turn out as he works on it, Mahesh Babu said, “While shooting this film we were sure we were working on a blockbuster. The whole unit was all smiles during every scene and that gives an idea of how positive we were about its success.”
Giving full credit to director Anil Ravipudi, the actor said, “When he narrates the story or a scene, he acts it out and explains it, so I feel engaged.”
Chiranjeevi and Venkatesh called the actor and congratulated him on its success.
A lesser known fact, Mahesh said though he sees his mother regularly, it is a tradition for him to meet her the day before the release of his films, and have the coffee she serves.
Mahesh says his next film is a commercial one.
On rivalry and competition
On the subject of competition, the actor is of the view that healthy competition is good. Referring to the recent differences over release dates of Sarileru… and another film, Mahesh was categoric that the competition was healthy, and that reports on the contrary were only creations of the public. “We, the actors, always maintain good relations. There are six to seven top actors and whenever we meet, we have a great time, talking and laughing with each other,” the Maharshi actor said.
Asked whether anyone was out to deliberately ‘kill’ his film, the actor said these were only rumours created by the media. “There’s no negativity,” he asserted.
Mahesh had taken the initiative to do multi-starrers a few years back. To a question whether he would continue to do such films, he said “Yes, if a director comes with a good script and my character is good, then I am ready to do a multi-starrer with any actor.”
The OTT platform has increased a lot. Does he think that it kills cinema?
“No, it doesn’t affect Telugu cinema. Watching a movie in a theatre is a cultural experience and people enjoy it. They can’t experience the same in a house”, was the actor’s take on the matter.
Asked when he would oblige his fans with a pan-Indian movie, Mahesh Babu said “If a suitable script comes that works for other languages, too, then you can design it as a Pan-Indian film. You can’t just make a pan-Indian film for the sake of making one.”
Asked whether he would do a bi-lingual in the near future, he said “Yes, my dream is to work with Shankar garu”. He had already met Shankar a couple of times, he added. It may be recalled that Mahesh Babu’s bilingual film Spyder, which was also his debut in Tamil, hadn’t performed up to expectations.
On the subject of his children, he says his wife is the stricter parent. “Namrata is the one who takes care of their studies, though he often attends his son Gautham’s school functions. If they don’t get the expected marks, he merely tells them to do better next time,” says the indulgent father. Acknowledging that modern-day children like to follow their own paths, he says he will encourage his children in whatever they want to do. His daughter Sitara has started a YouTube channel, which is reportedly doing well. The actor is taking a three-month break. “I like to travel a lot,” he says.