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'Sarileru Neekevvaru' is not a mindless entertainer: Mahesh Babu

Friday, January 10, 2020 • Telugu Comments
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Sarileru Neekevvaru is not a mindless entertainer: Mahesh Babu

Ahead of the release of 'Sarileru Neekevvaru' on January 11, Mahesh Babu talks about why did the movie, what to expect from it, why director Anil Ravipudi is unique, working with Vijayashanthi, Rashmika, Devi Sri Prasad and others, and more.

That's why I have done 'SNE':

When Anil Ravipudi narrated the story for 40 minutes in August 2018, the plan was to team up with him after doing another film immediately after 'Maharshi'. However, after watching 'F2', I felt that I should team up with him immediately. Moreover, I had done three message-oriented movies back-to-back and had this urge in me to do a film like 'Dookudu'. Doing 'SNE' at this point of time has proven to be one of the best decisions in my career.

Perfect protagonist

It's not a joke to write a character who is a layered soldier. Hats off to the director. I am a director's actor. I have come out of my comfort zone to do this role. I couldn't have done it as I had done in 'Dookudu'. I had to be different. It took me some time to get into the skin of the character. It helped that Anil designed my character in tune with my strengths, having analyzed my characters and performance in films like 'Dookudu'.

A new Mahesh

My fans are going to see a new Mahesh Babu. There are a few surprising elements in the movie. Every one of us who has worked on the movie have been highly positive since the first day.

Fastest since 'Businessman'

After 'Businessman', this is the fastest film in my career. I don't know if such a thing can be repeated again and again. With 'SNE', the tireless efforts of the unit members made it possible to wrap up the shoot in under five months. Some projects are not in our control. At the end of the day, we can't compromise on quality.

The role gave me freedom

With 'Srimanthudu', 'BAN' and 'Maharshi', I had to totally surrender to the script. With a film like 'SNE', I got some freedom. I had been doing serious roles before 'SNE'. I couldn't have done a 'Khaleja' or a 'Dookudu' again. It has to be something different. I have no particular preferences. If a subject excites me, I will go ahead. I totally enjoyed myself doing the role.

Not a mindless masala entertainer

'SNE' is not a mindless movie. There is meaning, there is patriotism, there is fun, there is freshness. Choosing the likes of Sangeetha garu was entirely Anil's calling.

The Kurnool backdrop

There is no Kurnool sentiment that we have. Since Kondareddy Buruju is a landmark and 'Okkadu' made it all the more popular, we asked art director AS Prakash garu to erect it at Ramoji. I got nostalgic when I saw it on the first day.

Lost oodles of weight

I worked out hard and lost 6 kg for the film to look the part. If you are playing a soldier, you have to put in physical effort. Physically shaping up for the role caused a delay of one month.

On Vijayashanthi

When I shot a scene with her on her first day, it felt like 'Koduku Diddina Kapuram' happened just yesterday. Her presence in the movie is a big asset.

Kudos to DSP, Randy

The 'SNE Anthem' and 'Sooryudivo Chandrudivo' are my favourite songs in the movie. Devi is my personal favourite. His BGM is always superb and he is highly experienced. He understands the nuances of the scenes like no other. We could complete the film this fast also because of Randy (cinematographer Rathnavelu). But for him, it would have been impossible.

Amazing fights

The first action episode takes place in Kashmir as an Army operation. There are two other exciting fights in the movie. Ram-Lakshman duo have done a great job.

A fresh heroine

Rashmika Mandanna proved to be a brilliant choice. She looks fresh and she was needed for that role. She adapted herself fast enough for her role.

No advance remuneration

I didn't take any advance for this movie because we wanted to complete the shoot as soon as possible and see how it goes. It's one of the best decisions I have taken.

I am not one of the producers of the movie if you are talking about execution. Anil Sunkara garu is the actual one in that respect. He treats me as a family member, not as a hero. He is very excited about how the movie has shaped up. I feel very happy when he is happy.

Averted clash with 'Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo'

It's not good for two big films to release on the same day. I am thankful that the Guild stepped in and prevented the clash. Any actor would like a solo release. We don't have a say in which theatres are chosen by distributors. As the hero, I want my films to rake in as much as possible so that the stakeholders maximize their revenue. It was the opinion of distributors and exhibitors that 'SNE' should arrive on Saturday.

Megastar's inspiring words

Chiranjeevi garu has always appreciated me. For example, when 'Pokiri' released, he called me up to Puri Jagannadh's office and described my performance for three hours. I felt happy that he has urged the government to confer the Dada Saheb Phalke Award for my father.

Next film

I have been working non-stop for ten years. After 'SNE', I will take a break for 3 months. I will be holidaying with my family. My next project will be with Vamsi Paidipally.

No talks with 'KGF' director

It's not easy to experiment when stakes are too high. The trade will suffer badly if your experiment fails. Big films like 'KGF' have broken boundaries. It's an exciting phase for our cinema. I had an informal meet with 'KGF' director Prashanth Neel. We just had coffee together. We discussed some ideas and there is no progress on that front.

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