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Teja on 'NRNM', Rana's attitude, & more
Tuesday, August 8, 2017 • Telugu Comments

Teja Interview about Nene Raju Nene Mantri

Teja is on the verge of scoring a hit in a long time.  'Nene Raju Nene Mantri' has been well-received by whoever has watched it, he says.  In this interview, the maker of the trend-setting films 'Nuvvu Nenu' and 'Jayam' talks about how the film came about, working with Suresh Babu, Rana and Kajal, whether he believes in God, and more.

How it all began:

I happened to narrate the story to a hero.  But it didn't work out.  I am someone who always takes the side of the story.  Direction comes naturally to me.  But when I fail, I fail because of the story.

After I came in touch with Suresh Babu, the story underwent many changes.  When Rana was given a narration, he said yes.

A journey of 5 years:

Rana plays Jogendra, who is an ethical loaner.  Every individual is both positive and negative.  In our films, only the positive aspect of the hero is shown.  But 'NRNM' tells Jogendra's 5-year-long journey.  In the said period, he does bad things, he does good things.

It's a pucca commercial movie like 'Nuvvu Nenu' and 'Jayam'.  It's not like 'Chitram' and 'Nijam', which were off the commercial mark.  But the characterizations are like those you see in art movies.

Not a political drama:

It's because of certain dialogues in the trailer that people are thinking 'NRNM' is a political thriller.  I myself wouldn't watch a political film.  Why would I make one?  Only 10 per cent of it is about politics.  The canvas is political, though.

We do meet such characters (as Jogendra) in real life.  But not many would want to make a film out of it.  Many teenage girls do get pregnant in our society, but nobody made a film out of it.  I made it: 'Chitram'.  The audience tends to connect with real things.

Rana, an intelligent actor:

Rana is a thinking actor.  He starts getting into the mood hours before the actual scene is shot.  He is not like those stars who come with a lot of over-confidence and listen to the scenes shaking their legs as if acting were a cakewalk to them.  If you tell Rana that Jogendra must look depressed in a scene, he starts molding himself well ahead of the shoot.

He will become a top league actor after 'NRNM'.

Kajal has matured:

Since her first movie, Kajal has matured as an actor.  If she finds it out of place, she says, 'Why would Radha behave like that?'  She has exceeded my expectations.

There are no regular dances involving the lead pair.

Women characters are strong:

The women in my films have always had a lot of importance, be it in 'Chitram', 'Nuvvu Nenu', 'Jayam' or 'Nijam'.  I feel women have a wider span than men in terms of their preferences, etc.  If they are strong, the society would be stronger.

Characters have to be intelligent:

These days, there is a rush to write intelligent stories.  But, realistically speaking, it's the characters which have to be intelligent.  Smart characters establish a quick connect with the audience.

'NRNM' has no twists, no suspense.   Its forte is that there are a handful of smart characters who try to outsmart each other.  It's like a game of chess.

Perfect producer:

Suresh Babu knows well what works and what doesn't.  He would say, 'This scene is not good'.  Although I would get angry in the beginning, such judgment used to prod me to do a better scene.  If he says a film is good, it is good.  He has totally liked 'NRNM'.  On many occasions, his planning saved a lot of time on locations.

Muhurtham, Vasthu... What are they?:

I don't believe in all that.  Three films are releasing this auspicious Friday at the 'right' muhurath.  They all should become hits.  But only one or two of them will turn out to a hit.  I hope all the three films become a hit.  Same goes with 'vasthu'.  How can cement and bricks change your fate?

Give a damn for reviews:

I don't read reviews.  It's not my job to read them.  I don't understand how can someone connect with the movie while making notes or writing down their observations.  If someone is able to do that, he should be better than Steve Jobs.  (Sarcastically).

Don't trust film-wallahs:

I may trust politicians, but not film people.  The former change parties only once every five years, but the latter do that every Friday.  They may now be approaching me with suit cases after watching the trailer, but it's not always the case.

Drugs won't affect:

I don't care about elders doing drugs.  And even if someone (in the film industry) gets caught, it won't affect his career.  People don't give much importance to your personal life.  They may respect Anna Hazare, but they won't watch it if he were to do a movie.

My God is different:

Everybody basically worships the same God, albeit in different get-ups and uniforms.  I believe in a God who will punish me very harshly if I do any wrong.  He is everywhere.  I don't believe in offering 'lancham' to that God.