Telugu superstar Nagarjuna turned 57 on Monday but spent the day working. He says he is happy to get roles that satisfy his craving for challenges.
“I am lucky to be still working as a leading man at a time when my two sons have joined the film industry. I wouldn’t say I am at the fag end of my career. But in the second half of my career, I want to make sure every move and movie makes me happy as an artiste.
“At the same time, I want my audiences’ approval for what I do,” Nagarjuna said in an interview.
He says he is there to advise both his sons.
“I am guiding them. But I don’t thrust my opinion on them. They are free to do what they like. I can only advise them. The first one, Naga Chaitanya is settled in his career. The second son Akhil is finding his bearings. I am guiding him with his second film which is starting now, as the first one went wrong. Now he is finding his groove,” he said.
Nagarjuna thinks this is a transitional phase for Telugu cinema.
“Run of the mill films won’t work. A new phase has started in Telugu cinema. I think it’s a very exciting time to be an actor. I am looking at quite a few scripts. My last film Soggade Chinni Nayana was a bit of a blockbuster. So we are looking at the potential for a sequel... Provided it works.”
The actor recently also turned a playback singer.
Commenting on that, he said: “I want to keep trying something new all the time. It is the only way to grow.”
On his birthday, the shooting of Hathiram Baba kept him busy. He said it’s a “film very close to my heart”.
Nagarjuna’s sons, Akhil and Chaitanya, are both actors.
His younger son Akhil Akkineni said: “We have no big plans for dad’s birthday. He has never been big on having big birthdays. We’re having a family dinner to bring it in.”
Akhil can’t find words to describe Nagarjuna.
“About him as a father, I can only say that he has been nothing less than a hero in real life to me and an inspiration like no other. I’m just in awe of his life and I am so grateful to be a part of his life.
“Every son needs his father to be a hero and my father is like a superhero! And 30 years of acting... All you can say is hats off to my dad.”