How are you relishing the success of Maghadheera?
First of all I would like to thank all the audiences for making the film such a big hit and am extremely happy for that. I normally am a pretty cool person and tension is something that I am not very familiar with but I have to admit that I felt a bit tense days before ‘Maghadheera’ is to hit the screens. The credit usually goes to the captain of the ship, the director. But ask Rajamouli garu and he credits each and every person that worked for the film. So this film wouldn’t have been the phenomenon that it is today had it not been for the hard work of all the technicians, the artists and everybody that worked for the film and we are all enjoying the success and everybody deserves the film’s success. More than anything else it’s the vision of director Rajamouli garu in casting me, as frankly, I was very apprehensive to star in such a big budget movie as it is only my second movie. So I would also like to thank Mama (Allu Aravind) for the trust he had on me. Moreover, the film’s success gave me and the entire unit a level of confidence that hard work and experimentation will definitely be appreciated by the audience. This is very reassuring for us. As far as my work is concerned, I especially liked scenes involving my horse riding. Some of these shots are very intricate but I never even gave a passing thought to it as I was driven by my passion all the while. In fact, I related each of those scenes to my personal life as I grew up with fascination on movies like Indiana Jones and the likes. I absolutely loved working for this film. Personality wise there isn’t really much difference to Kalabhairavudu but I have to tell you minor changes like the shape of my moustache, a slight voice modulation, the background scale, the atmosphere and even the ‘Chandrabindu’ worked wonders on screen and gave a totally different look and feel and I felt like it was an altogether different side of me. When I was told of the characterization of ‘Kalabhairavudu’, I had an impression of a young, passionate soldier and naturally it had to have a great body and an authoritative voice. So, we also worked on it. The most important thing is the hard work of all the 200 technicians that went into the shooting of the film as at the end of the day their work is forgotten and it’s usually the director or the actor that gets the recognition but ‘Maghadheera’ is technically in a class of its own and one can clearly see their mark and no wonder the audiences are spellbound. The credit goes to those humble technicians. I have to say about ‘Badal’. The horse was literally picked up in the deserts of Rajasthan. It was one of my favorite studs so much so that I still have it and plan to keep it with me. To start with, the horse wasn’t fully trained and still had significant wildness to it but we wanted to retain its wildness as the characterization, the chariot races and the likes demand it and training only makes horses sober. Though it is very risky to ride a horse that isn’t ful
How was shooting in Rajasthan and all those costumes?
We actually went to Rajasthan and observed the local culture and their way of dressing, we researched a lot about their costumes, history and great personalities 400 years ago and planned it accordingly. So I am very happy with the way things turned out and I absolutely loved the costumes.
What about the graphics?
‘Maghadheera’ is the first Telugu film to use 3D animation. But I personally feel that graphics are used a lot in films of late, almost to the point of abuse. I think they should actually blend with the story of a film so much so that they should seem pretty natural. In fact when I was watching ‘Maghadheera’ there are shots in the film that actually confused me because the graphics looked so natural and only my knowledge that there aren’t any such palatial palaces at my shoot made me realize that they are graphics and am sure that they will get lot of awards next year.
Tell us about the unit?
Everybody took a lot of care for me. Perun master absolutely loves his work and is so dedicated that he himself tests out a feat 2 – 3 times even though people like him have the luxury of delegating work to assistants. Now things like these give the actor a lot of confidence to do the shot. They ensured that the entire shoot was absolutely safe for me and so I am very thankful to them. It was a good experience to work with Senthil. He is so silent that one hardly notices him on the set. Normally, people come up with all sorts of ideas to waste the producer’s money but Senthil is different. He made a one crore set look like 3 crore set in this movie. That’s his talent, his vision and on top of everything else he’s got such a powerful eye that he makes an ordinary set look like a marvel through his lens. Hats off to the cameraman for his work as the audiences are spellbound with the sets. We also went into so much detail with my armour, which was custom made to suit my body contours, with the knifes, spears all actually look like real shining metal but were in fact made with fiber. The details worked well and we’ve been getting rave reviews from the audiences.
Tell us about your dance in this movie?
I have done a good job as far as my dancing is concerned in Chirutha. But in this film I have discovered a new facet of me. My director and choreographer encouraged me with different movements and he gave me a lot of freedom with my movements so much so that I practiced 3-4 alternate movements for every step and at the end the result of all that hard work is well appreciated by the audiences.
How did your dad like the movie?
Dad got a special screening after the completion and after watching the film he came to me and hugged me so tightly that I was almost breathless. That showed how much he liked the film and it made me loose all tension about the success of the film. He appreciated my stunts by saying that I achieved in one film what he achieved in 50 films. He asked me why I took such big risks. He felt bad, scolded me and literally did everything else except beating me for it. What if something unforeseen happened? But by God’s grace nothing happened.
Tell us about the music?
Special mention must be made of Keeravani’s music. It is just great and blends so well with the story. He is legend and I am very happy to work with him.
What do you think made the movie stand apart?
The real star of the film is the story. Most films these days falter at the box office these days due to lack of content. But our film’s strength is the core content. People are appreciating my film saying that the fights are good, horse riding is great and that the dance is just awesome. I sat back once and thought what made the difference? The answer is the story. It bound all these things well and ensured that the audiences are given a treat. The content, the core content is the real strength and everything else worked because of it.
How was the experience of working with your dad?
Dad, when he took the political path, I felt that I will never get a chance to work with him. I used to be very jealous of Abhishek Bachhan and Amitabh Bachhan and always wanted to work with my dad for the entire length of a movie. I once shared this desire with my director and he was like Charan ‘if u could really convince your dad, then there is a special slot in the movie, which he could only do. It is specially designed for him.’ I took the proposal, went to dad and it took me a week to convince him. Working with sridhar garu was like working with a family member; he was like a brother and made me very comfortable. He used to personally check the entire shoot. I once asked him ‘sir why should u look into all these? These things will be taken care of by the people concerned.’ He said ‘you are my responsibility and should anything happen to you when I am around I will have to sorry for your dad.’ He used to take such care of me. He treated me like a son.
Tell us about Kajal?
Language grip is an important part of the film. Kajal, I don’t know whether she actually learnt the language or already knew the language but her dialogue delivery is perfect, which made other artists very comfortable. She is very professional. She has a long way to go and I am sure she will stay around for a long time as she is a perfect girl for a director to work with on the sets.
Any message for your fans?
Once again I would like to thank all my fans for making the film such a big hit. It is a great gift for me and my family. Thanks a lot.