Ram Charan Teja might be making his Bollywood debut (with Zanjeer, a remake of the 1973 Amitabh Bachchan-starrer), but he is no newcomer to acting. No wonder the Tollywood star, and son of the immensely popular actor Chiranjeevi, says he’s been used to comparisons all his life.
You’re reprising Amitabh Bachchan’s role. Are you nervous?
Until I signed the film and started shooting, I didn’t know what level of expectations people would have. I can’t say it’s not affecting me. But I work better under pressure.
Are you wary of the inevitable comparisons?
Being Chiranjeevi’s son, I was constantly compared, even in the south. So I am used to it. I turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to it. It is a bit tough when people keep coming and saying that this is what we expect from you, but these things also help you realise the amount of hard work you need to put in.
What was it like to work with Priyanka Chopra?
It was weird on the first day. I’d just seen Barfi! (2012). Before that, she was a glamourous actor. But I had so much respect for her as an actor after I saw the film, that I didn’t quite know how I should approach her. But she seemed to forget who she was when she entered the sets.
There have been controversies surrounding the film. Were they discouraging?
You have to give it to Apoorva (Lakhia, director) and the production team for letting nothing affect our shoot. About the producers and writers fighting, it’s the writers union versus the producers union. They have sorted it out outside the sets. And it’s fair for both unions to fight for their rights. As far as other controversies go, I thank whoever did this, as we’re getting more publicity.