Nagarjuna says his producers are going ahead with the release of the out-and-out comedy Bangarraju which stars Nag and his son Naga Chaitanya. Says Nag, “We are releasing as per schedule on January 14. The third wave is not that strong in Hyderabad and Andhra. Yesterday there were huge traffic jams in Hyderabad as people made their way back to their villages. We are confident that people would want to see our film.”
Nag is confident of getting his audience, “It is the kind of escapist no-brainer that people need right now. We have no intellectual pretensions in Bangarraju. It is a straightforward escapist entertainer meant to make people forget their worries for two hours.”
But Rajamouli chose to postpone the release of RRR again.
Nag reasons, “But postponing that film is not the same thing as postponing our film. We are targeting our film at predominantly an Andhra-Telangana audience whereas RRR is meant for a pan-India audience. In fact why just India? RRR is aimed at a global audience. There is no comparison between the expected reach of their film and ours.”
Bag is confident that audiences will turn up in movie theatres for Bangarraju “There is a tradition of watching movies in Andhra and Telangana for Makkar Sankranti. They do their pujas and then they dress up in new clothes and go see a movie. Every year as many as 4-5 big film are released on Makar Sankranti. This time, the situation being what it is, it’s just Bangarraju. I am not saying to take risks to see it. But mask up, take all precautions and you are promised a super time. It is actually a super-hero film.
Nag calls Bangarraja a super-hero though not like the Malayalam blockbuster Minnal Murali “Bangarrraju is not a super-hero film in that sense. Neither Chaitanya nor I get into super-hero suits. But it is about powers that guide us through life. In Indian culture we believe that our ancestors look over us. Bangarraju is about that. It also has a wise thoughtful snake. It’s a crazy crazy film, as mad as Manmohan Desai’s cinema. Audiences should leave their brains behind and come for it.”
Nag shares screen space with his son Naga Chaitanya. The younger Akkineni was not nervous of his father’s presence. “If he was, I didn’t see any nervousness. I saw a remarkable change in Chaitanya during Bangarajju. When we did Manam together he was new and raw. Now after Love Story last year, I saw a very confident co-actor in Bangarajju. Initially Chaitanya was nervous about doing something so over-the-top. But he gradually got a hang of it. By the time we completed the film he was as confident as me.”
Chaitanya conducted himself with dignity during the family crisis last year. Speaking for the first time on the family crisis when Naga Chaitanya’s wife Samantha ended their marriage, Nargarjuna says, “I am very proud of how calm he remained through it all. He was not provoked into uttering a single word. Like any father I was very worried about him. But he was more worried about me than I was about him. He would ask me, ‘You okay, Dad?’ and I’d be like, errr, ‘Isn’t that what I should be asking you?’
Looking back at the challenges that destiny threw at his family last year Nag says, “I would rather focus on the good than the bad. Both my sons broke through the so-called jinx to deliver mature performances in hit films. I am proud of both Chaitanya and Akhil for what they achieved in Love Story and Most Eligible Bachelor.”
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