“I don’t fall in love. I only make love,” states a dapper looking Nagarjuna in the trailers of upcoming Telugu film, ‘Manmadhudu 2’.
Stoking interest further is veteran actor Nagarjuna romancing the young Rakul Preet Singh. This is the second film where Singh is paired opposite an actor much older than her. She was last seen opposite Ajay Devgan in ‘De De Pyar De,’ a love story where age did not come in the way of love. Following are excerpts from a conversation with Rakul Preet Singh:
‘De De Pyar De’ versus ‘Manmadhudu 2’
“Both the films are very different. The only common factor is the woman being 25 years younger to the man. While ‘De De Pyar De’ was an out-and-out love story with the premise of people accepting a relationship like that, ‘Manmadhudu 2’ is different.”
Playing Avantika in ‘Manmadhudu 2’
“Besides the opportunity to work with Nagarjuna, I was drawn by Avantika’s free-spirited nature during the narration of the script. It’s rarely you get a character like this. I wanted to live and wear her shoes. She is someone who carries a different swag and has not had an easy past.”
Sharing screen space with Nagarjuna
I was drawn by Avantika’s free-spirited nature during the narration of the script. It’s rare you get to play a character like this.
“Nag sir is extremely warm, chivalrous and a gentleman. He is all things you would expect a man to be. Free from star tantrums, he is a good human being who treats everyone right. He is a supportive co-actor who was very secure. If a scene required only me to do the talking only, he understood that. He knows the importance of the character and the script.”
Working with director Rahul Ravindran
“He is a director to watch out for. Having been an actor first, Rahul understands the nuances that he needs to explain to his actors and emotionally knows how to bring them into the zone that he needs. He explains the scene and what emotions are to be delivered but does not demonstrate. He leaves it to you. If something needs correction he does that which is so bang on. You are never confused under his direction. When you watch the film you will see that everyone is just living their roles. The vibes on Rahul’s sets are happy.”
On the scene that shows her smoking in ‘Manmadhudu 2’
“That’s not me. That’s Avantika smoking. We need to keep the two separate. I am playing the character and the character had to do it for the film.”
“In the initial years of my career, I was reserved and did not know the ways of the business. Today I have a better understanding of camera, script and emotions. As an actor you draw instances from experiences of your own life and from lives around you. It helps to become a better performer. I am now much more prepared to take the hustle on. I enjoy my roles and I understand their importance now.”
MEET DIRECTOR RAHUL RAVINDRAN
Rahul Ravindran entered the industry as an actor with three Tamil films, but got his first break as an actor in Telugu with ‘Andala Rakshashi.’ With more Telugu films following, the Chennai native shifted base to Hyderabad. Last year, he turned director with ‘Chi La Sow,’ which was a success.
Ravindran had no inkling of his next directorial when the call came. It was a week before the release of ‘Chi La Sow,’ and he was busy with its post production work.
Nagarjuna called him home and spoke about a French film, that he liked and had acquired the remake rights. Being the distributor of ‘Chi Laa Sow’ Nagarjuna was impressed with Ravindran’s work.
He felt that Ravindran was capable of helming the remake of the French film.
“It was a huge opportunity, remembered Ravindran, who subsequently watched the French film.
Scripting for ‘Manmadhudu 2’ was a completely different experience. “My first film was my own story. I had seen the story scene by scene several times roll through my head,” he said.
For this remake, Ravindran knew where to start, how the story flows and how it ends. But he was not keen on remaking it frame by frame. “We have retained the basic plot but the screenplay was written from scratch,” said Ravindran.
After the first draft, he showed it to Nagarjuna who gave his inputs. Following several discussions and nine drafts later, the script of ‘Manmadhudu 2’ was ready.
Set in Portugal and centred around a third generation Telugu family settled there, ‘Manmadhudu 2’ is supported by actors Lakshmi, Vennela Kishore and Rao Ramesh. Most of the film was shot in Portugal.
“We went there when the weather was fine, added Ravindran. The locations are virgin, relatively unexplored by Indian cinema,” said Ravindran.
All his apprehensions of working with a star like Nagarjuna were put to rest on the first day of shoot.
“Nag sir put me at ease,” shared Ravindran, who found him easy-going and with no starry airs. “Soon, I could focus on making the film. It was an absolute blessing and gave me the confidence that I can make another film with a star again.”
As for the title of the film, the team felt it was perfect being broadly of the same genre as the earlier ‘Manmadhu’, Nagarjuna’s 2002 film. “It made sense to put a ‘2’ after ‘Manmadhudu’,” he said.
Singh and he share a close bond having known each other for the past six years.
“She is the younger sister I have never had. She calls me bade bhaiya [big brother].”
Praising Singh’s performance in ‘Manmadhudu 2’, Ravindran said, “Rakul is incredibly good in the film. I am proud of her and can’t wait for the audience to watch it.”
Ravindran’s last acting role was in the film ‘Drishti’, released on Zee5.com.
There are acting projects to discuss but unless it is a script that excites him, he is not desperate to don the grease paint. He prefers direction. Someday he hopes to direct a Tamil film, too.
Don’t miss it!
‘Manmadhudu 2’ releases in the UAE on August 8.