It took 17 years for South superstar Nagarjuna Akkineni to pick a Bollywood project after his last outing, LOC Kargil in 2003. And that’s because he was never “chasing a dream” of having a career in the Hindi film industry, and nothing has changed even today.
“Well, I don’t know what role Bollywood played in my career. I’ve never looked at it that way. I’ve have never looked at it as a career in Bollywood,” says Nagarjuna, set for a comeback in Bollywood with Brahmastra.
However, he’s quick to add that working in Hindi films did help him, as well as his producers, in some way.
“Now, people like me in Bollywood, and anywhere, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, or Mumbai. My films are watched, and that means my producer gets a little more money to play with while making a film. So, it helps an actor’s career,” explains the 61-year-old, adding, “But, I’ve never looked at the craving of acceptance in Bollywood.”
After establishing himself in the Telugu film industry, Nagarjuna made his Bollywood debut in 1990 with Shiva, and went on to do films such as Khuda Gawah (1992), Drohi (1992), Criminal (1995) and Zakhm (1998).
Looking back at his career trajectory so far, he says, “I’ve done some good films with good directors, and have fantastic experience doing whatever Bollywood films I’ve have done since the beginning”.
In fact, he’s glad he was able to leave a lasting impression, which is remembered even today.
“People have shown me so much warmth and grace. Even now, I get phone calls after people see the trailer of my films, asking, ‘Why don’t you release this film in Hindi also’,” he shares, recalling a similar incident which happened with his recent release, Wild Dog, where he plays a ruthless NIA officer.
“They told me that the film deals with a universal subject, why are we making it in Telugu only. I understand that, and like all my films, Hindi dubbed Wild Dog will also release, but a little later, on a digital platform,” Nagarjuna assures.
While the actor is all geared up for Brahmastra’s release, the film continues to remain in limbo with the country undergoing another wave of the pandemic.
Nagarjuna confesses that he was touched when after so many years, producer Karan Johar along with director Ayan Mukerji reached out to him for the special role, with Mukerji telling him, ‘We thought of you only when the subject was written’.
He gushes, “I was happy and I was very much interested when I saw what they were offering me.”
Without divulging anything about his role, the actor goes on to shower praises on his co-actors. “Even though Amit ji (Amitabh Bachchan) is in the film, my main work was with Ranbir (Kapoor) and Alia (Bhatt), who’re very intense actors. It was incredibly fantastic working with them, especially Ayan, who’s like a little boy on the set and very passionate about his craft.”
Does that mean audiences would get to see more of him in Bollywood after Brahmastra?
“Well, if something nice comes up and if I fit the bill, I’d love to do the Bollywood film. But at this point of time, I’m very comfortable with where I am,” declares the actor, who completes 35 years in showbiz in May.