He came, he saw, he conquered. Known to steal many hearts and we wouldn’t be surprised why, the 35-year old Telugu superstar Naga Chaitanya made heads turn when he visited Bangalore for the launch of Tasva, designer Tarun Tahiliani’s label. Tollywood star who has to his credit popular films like Ye Maaya Chesave, 100% Love, Dhada, Bejawada, Tadakha, Manam, Oka Laila Kosam, Premam, Bangarraju, Thank You, Majili with his then wife Samantha Akkineni, Love Story with Sai Pallavi and most recently entered Bollywood with Laal Singh Chaddha. Some of his films have reportedly grossed over `700 million and are getting only bigger and better.
His divorce with Samantha Ruth Prabhu made headlines, but the couple has moved on. Naga Chaitanya will be seen in NC 22 Custody, an exciting romantic entertainer with Venkat Prabhu.
1. Please tell us about your growing up days. What was your dream career in your childhood days? When you expressed your wish to become an actor to your dad what was his reaction like?
My dad was very happy because the family has been in the movies, so they did obviously wanted me to act in movies. But they never told me what to do. My passion towards acting and movies happened organically. My dad was very happy and very supportive in the beginning and sent me to an acting school, but beyond that he told me to go out and make your own mistakes and learn it all yourself. The only way you will learn is by falling. And that’s what I did. After that I went to LA to study further. In this industry there’s always that pressure to keep proving oneself, but I took it as a challenge instead of taking any kind of pressure on myself.
2. What are your other passions and hobbies?
My first passion has always been my films and then motor sports is something that I have always enjoyed. I’m a huge lover of motor sports. It was wonderful meeting my childhood hero, David Coulthard, the former British Formula One racing driver many years back. I also watched Michael Schumacher on the race track in Italy and that was one of the memorable moments of my life. I was also fortunate to sit in a real F1 car and even shoot a chase sequence in Hyderabad for one of my movies. It was a dream come true to shoot in an F1 car and I was thrilled to do it.
3. What are your preferred holiday destinations?
Any place with a beach.
4. How do you maintain a work life balance?
I try and maintain a work-life balance by just being aware about it. It’s good to take a day off sometimes whenever necessary. I always keep my personal life and my work separate.
5. Would you like to recall any memorable incidents during the shoot of your film Laal Singh Chaddha?
It was a great project and I loved the experience. It was also a great learning curve for me from Mr Aamir Khan.
6. Tell us something that you like about Bangalore?
The kind of love and support we get for our films from fans in Bangalore is just so amazing, so when I was told I will be going to Bangalore I was very excited.
7. Also something about the Kannada film industry?
I look upto the Kannada film industry too. I loved the films like KGF and others. There’s so much to learn from the Kannada films and the Kannada filmi audience as well as Kannada film stars and film makers have so much energy and it shows in their films. They are also very loving and affectionate and always so supportive.
8. Would you like to share something about the special bond you share with your father (Nagarjuna)?
My father is my inspiration and wherever I am today it’s because of him. Dad taught me scuba diving when I was young and that’s something that we love doing together. We love our scuba diving trips and we loved our dive trips to Maldives also together. He has taught me so much. His discipline and his approach to work is great. And also his outlook towards fitness is what I’ve imbibed from him. I also love his sense of style and like to imbibe that.
9. How have films changed from then and now?
Those films were honest to their times and path breaking. I don’t want to do films because my fans like a certain kind of film. I want to offer something fresh and interesting. I like doing love stories.
10. How would you describe your sense of style and fashion?
For me the style and fit for any piece of clothing is very important. Indian wear is about festivity and celebrations. Now that the festival sesaon is coming, we will all be dressing in festive clothes. I like understated clothes, no stress or fuss, yet stylish and specially clothes that fit well. I’m a white shirt, well-fitting jeans and sneakers kind of person.