Q Now that Maharshi is ready for release, what are your thoughts on it?
I’m very excited. We have all worked extremely hard into putting the film together. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t put work into my previous films (laughs). However, this time, I feel a rare kind of satisfaction which I cannot explain in words. I’m truly hoping for Maharshi to mark a milestone in my acting career.
Q Why was the trailer released just a week before the film? Isn’t that very unusual?
As per the norm, a film’s theatrical trailer is usually released at its pre-release event. After wrapping up the film’s shoot, I was away with my family on a much-needed break. So when I returned, I rushed for the event, and the trailer was released as planned. We had released another trailer earlier. No controversies here. (chuckles)
Q Speaking of controversies, you did not mention Puri Jagannath or Sukumar among the directors whom you’ve worked with while talking about it with at an event. That seems to have upset them.
Really? No! You are making that up. (laughs) All I can say is that it was an honest slip-up. Both Puri Jagannath and Sukumar have played a special role in shaping my career. I don’t prepare my speeches beforehand. I’d rather be spontaneous than perfect in the presence of my well-wishers. However, now that you’ve brought it up, Puri sir allowed me the opportunity to star in Pokiri which, as everybody is aware, was a turning point in my career. I will forever be grateful to him for that!
Q And Sukumar?
Sukumar put his faith in me for Nenokkadine, which received a fair amount of critical acclaim even though it didn’t do very well at the box office. In my opinion, in fact, Nenokkadine was truly way ahead of its time. What makes the film even more special for me was the fact it features my son Gautam, who played the younger version of my character in the film.
Q So he’s already a star?
Not particularly. Both my children are free to choose what they want to do with their lives. It isn’t necessary for them to become actors just because their parents are.
Q You seem to be growing younger. What’s your secret?
First of all, thank you. I just like being fit. Also, I’m very conscious about what I eat. I have no cheat days or vices (other than obsessing over my own films). Above all, I think that it’s very important to be at ease within. I derive my happiness from my family. They keep me grounded.
Q What’s your next film going to be?
I’ve signed a film with director Anil Ravipudi. It’s a great script and one that I have embraced without a second thought. It should go on the floors in July.
Q How much of your success do you attribute to your wife Namrata?
Namrata is my strength, backbone, my life. My success, my sanity, my joy — none of it would not have been possible if it weren’t for her and for my kids. Namrata has made me who I am today.
Q Which recent Bollywood film has impressed you the most?
Uri. I loved it. I’d love to do a war film. In fact, I’m producing a war-based film with Adivi Shesh. And before you ask, I have no plans to sign a Hindi film.