Nandamuri Balakrishna turned 40 in Telugu Film Industry. The 54-year-old actor made his debut with Tatamma Kala at the age of 14 and the film was released on Aug 30, 1974. In a career spanning 4 decades, Balakrishna is close to century and recently forayed into “active” politics and reprsenting Legislative Assembly from Hindupur constituency. In a long interview to a vernacular daily, Balayya shared his insights. Excerpts:
Q. There are several rumours floating about your 100th flick that you’ve approached director Rajamouli, director Shankar for the landmark film. Rumours were also rife that you yourself planning to direct the film. True?
A. Not at all true. I don’t have a habit of asking someone about something. I don’t ask anyone anything in my life. My films happen only when directors, producers approach me and if I’m impressed with their work. Coming to 100th film, there are several proposals around me like to do a mythological film or to do sequel for Aditya 369 (Singeetham Srinivas’ directorial). I haven’t decided anything yet. Actually, I’m not a person who plan things in much advance.
Q. Are there any roles that you wanted to play?
A. Yes. I’d love to see myself in the roles of Gona Ganna Reddy and Mongolian emperor Genghis Khan. The desire hasn’t fulfilled yet. In my filmography, I like Mangamma Gari Manavadu, Aditya 369, Bhairava Dwepam, Bobbili Simham, Pedda Annayya, Samara Simha Reddy, Narasimha Naidu, Sri Rama Rajyam and recently Legend.
Q. You’ve been wanting to direct a film for a while. You even directed few shots in your own films. Earlier, your directorial Narthanasala was started and later put on hold. Could we expect a film directed by you sooner or later?
A. If I get a right producer and right actress for Droupadi role and other good artistes, I’d like to start Narthanasala itself. We have done great research on Narthanasala and find out many interesting, unknown facts. I was supposed to direct the film and play four vital roles – Arjuna, Bruhannala, Krishna and Keechaka in the film. Everything- Script, dialogues and modulation – is in place. There lies a great creativity in shaping up a mythological films. And biggest challenge is to tell it convincingly to the present generation. If all goes well, I’ll direct Narthanasala.
Q. All eyes are on Nandamuri Mokshagna’s debut. When is he coming
A. He will definitely come. He is a great lover of movies. He is presently pursuing his BBM in United States of America. It will take another two or two-and-a-half years for him to make his debut. I’m pinning high hopes on him.
Q. Many people are afraid of you. Few call you as ‘Angry Man’. True?
A. Perhaps, it was just perception due to my on-screen persona. I’m very friendly person. But if anyone crosses the limits and wants to take advantage out of my friendly nature, I won’t spare. Then they will see the second facet of mine. I’ll chop their tail. In recent times, I’m the only star who shoots publicly. My films have been shot among public in Simhachalam, Visakhapatnam.
Q. In your 40-yr-long career as an actor, you hardly acted in any off-beat films. Why did you stick to commercial films alone?
A. As an artiste, I’d love to do off-beat films. But where are the directors and producers to make such films? Also audience love to see me in commercial films. I can’t put producer’s money at risk for my own interests. At the end of the day, producers have to make money out of my films and want them to make more films. That’s the reason why I’m not particular about my remuneration.
Q. You have been campaigning for TDP for the past 30 years (since 1983) and you never asked for any position. You recently turned into MLA from Hindupur.
A. Apart from films, I always want to serve people and do something to my people, country. And Dad (NTR) is my inspiration. One can’t see him like an ordinary politician. I feel it’s my responsibility to vouch for his ideals, his party. In that front, I was offered a ticket from Hindupur. I’ve contested only on party’s appeal.
On Nara Lokesh
Q. Tell about Nara Lokesh
A. I knew Lokesh from his childhood. He is my own nephew and now he become my son-in-law. He is my family member right from his childhood. We’re like friends.
Grandfather in real life
Q. When are you going to be grandfather in real life?
A. (Laughs) It’s in the hands of children. Depends on their planning. Who don’t want to play with grandchildren? I’m no exception. I’m looking forward to become a grandfather. It’s like a promotion to me.