It has been two years since senior actor Venkatesh Daggubati had a movie release. ‘Venky Mama’ was released in 2019. ‘Narappa’ releases this July 20 on Amazon Prime Video, and it marks Venkatesh’s debut on an OTT space. Even though his fans are utterly disappointed with his decision of not releasing it in the theaters, Venkatesh says the first attempt is always tough to digest, but people would eventually accustom to new changes.
Ahead of the movie’s premiere, Venkatesh meets the journalists. Here are the excerpts from the interview…
Why have you decided to release ‘Narappa’ on an OTT platform suddenly instead of waiting for theaters to reopen?
Why is the question arises when you follow methods adhering to the times. I am not a person who is bound by time at all. Sometimes, you have to take what comes. Never ask ‘enduku’ (why) in your life.
Forget about the OTT release, I have never succumbed to the pressure from fans or trade people for many theaters, 100 days records, etc, even when it was the norm. As an actor, I always believe I have to do my duty and put in 100 percent effort, and let producers take a call about release plans.
But your fans were disappointed by this decision of not releasing it in the theaters?
Yes, I agree. Everybody will be disappointed at the beginning when we take a new path. I sincerely do apologize for them not releasing it in theaters. But it happened. They are wonderful fans. I am confident they will understand this decision.
What is that you attracted to remake Dhanush starrer ‘Asuran’ as Narappa? And why are you frequently remaking other language movies?
‘Asuran’ is one of the classic films. It is a hard-hitting emotional action drama. To be honest, I have not come across such a film before. It was my gut reaction that I should do this. Many people sneer at remake movies, but I do feel it is quite a daunting and challenging task to pull off.
To absorb the character’s traits and rub away the influence of the original actor’s mannerism to play in your style requires a lot of hard work. It is also a risk.
I didn’t plan to do many remakes but it happened like that in my career. Finally, the audiences are happy, my producers are happy with the choices I have made. You have to respect each one’s style of functioning.
You have done varied characters in your long career. How challenging is Narappa for you to portray?
In fact, it is the most challenging role in my entire career. The emotions, the action sequences, the look of the character, the action stunts are real. I am not a method actor, but for this film, I had lived in the role, wore the same clothes as my character even when I was not on the sets to be in the mood of the role.
I am happy that the film has come out so well. After so many years, such a strong character came to me.
Don’t you think there will be comparisons between the original and the remake?
Yes, there will be. But we have come up with the best as well. Regarding Dhanush, he is an outstanding actor. He has done an exceptional job. That is why I said the film has been very challenging to me, and I enjoyed doing it. When he had acted in the Tamil remake of ‘Aadavari Maatalaku Arthalu Verule’, the role that I had done in Telugu, he must have felt the same challenge.
Plus, when you watch the film, you forget about the actors, feel the emotions.
What have you realized from the COVID-19 pandemic situation?
That we should not take life for granted. Anytime, anything can happen. This time we were not equipped to face such hardship. It is a lesson for all of us. Gaining inner strength is important.
What happened to the sports drama that Tharun Bhascker had planned with you?
We are planning something else, not sports drama. Everything has to fall in place.
Tell us about ‘Drushyam 2’, and ‘F3’…
We have completed ‘Drushyam 2’ in a single schedule. It is ready for release. ‘F3’ is in progress.