Soggade Chinni Nayana is an upcoming Telugu fantasy film, produced by Nagarjuna Akkineni the film under his banner Annapurna Studios banner and directed by Kalyan Krishna. Nagarjuna played the film’s protagonist while Ramya Krishnan and Lavanya Tripathi played as the female leads. Production began on 19 November 2014. The film is scheduled to release on 15 January 2016.
In the last few days, Akkineni Nagarjuna has been shooting through the day for Meelo Evaru Koteeswarudu. He doesn’t let the weariness show as he settles down to talk. “Now I need to promote Soggade Chinni Nayana,” he says with a beaming smile. Before he talks about the film, he shares that with each season of MEK, he’s become at ease connecting with the participants.
The warmth with which he lends an ear to the participants, he says, is not an act put on for the camera. “I really listen to them. Sometimes people just need to be heard. They find happiness in sharing their thoughts,” he observes.
One of the participants from the first season, Umakanth, made such a mark on Nagarjuna that the actor kept Umakanth in mind during the characterisation of one of his roles in Soggade…
In Soggade, directed by newcomer Kalyan Krishna, Nag plays dual roles – a flamboyant zamindar Bangarraju, who dies a day before his son is born, and the son Ramu. “Ramu’s part is styled like Umakanth,” informs Nag. “Umakanth is a brilliant guy, who is focussed on acquiring knowledge. His wife told me that since the time he comes home, around 6 p.m., he spends time reading until 11 p.m. The clothes Ramu wears and the way he talks are all like Umakanth.”
Nag calls Soggade… a Sankranti film. “It’s a pandaga (festival) film, a harvest film, meant to be watched by families. It’s been a while since we saw a film set in a village. Our stories have become more urban centric. When you have a story in a village, the clothes, language, emotions everything changes.”
Bangarraju appears as a soul to set things right in the family. “He is full of fun, a flirt, in contrast to his son who is shy and focused on his research. The son is the kind of guy who will remember someone’s birthday as the day after World Cancer Day,” he explains.
The part of the soul is a tricky element that needed to be dealt carefully in the screenplay. Nag credits Kalyan Krishna for good writing. “The idea of the story is from Ram Mohan (producer, Uyyala Jampala). I had heard about this boy Kalyan Krishna. We gave him the synopsis. In a month, he came back with the script. We kept improving it and then asked him to direct it. A bit of hand holding and an excellent team in place, Kalyan stepped in as director,” he says.
Nag feels it’s easier to pull off such a story if a film is engaging and doesn’t let the audience think much. “It’s like Manam. You don’t think of how the reincarnated characters have the same appearance or traits because you are absorbed with the storytelling. Soggade… is a fun film. Since there is a supernatural element, there’s also a snake which guards the family.”
Soggade… brings back Nag with Ramya Krishna. “We were like best friends getting together after a long time. It was fantastic. Ramya has a strong role and she so deserves it. Satyabhama (Ramya) and Bangarraju are a hot, romantic couple in contrast to the innocent, cute younger couple,” he says.
The son, Ramu, is paired with Lavanya Tripathi. “We kept thinking who would be apt for the role. I liked Lavanya’s work in Andala Rakshasi. She is pretty, has a lot of character in her face and is a good actress. However, we did a screen test to see how we would look on screen. We didn’t want to look like an odd couple.”
Post Soggade…, there’s Oopiri with Karthi, a remake of The Intouchables, where Nag plays a quadriplegic. The film has been Indianised but retains the basic story and characterisation, says Nag.
The role was challenging, he confesses, having to emote with his face and rest of his body immobile. “It was tough at times, I felt handicapped. I told Vamsi (the director) to ask for as many retakes if he wasn’t happy.”
Nag hopes the film will be accepted, giving him scope to push the envelope further. “I want to make good, fun films, not necessarily experimental ones. Critics who complain that we don’t do anything new will hopefully be happy with Oopiri,” he laughs.
As the release date for Soggade… draws closer, Nag is aware of the intense competition with other big films vying at the box office. “I am confident about Soggade… but will have to share the success with others. I announced the date two and a half months ago and blocked the theatres. There’s nothing I can do now and as I said earlier, this is a Sankranti film,” he signs off.
This article is published from THE HINDU We don’t have any copyrights