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Meet Nagarjuna, the commando!

Last updated on: February 10, 2011 10:38 IST

Meet Nagarjuna, the commando!

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Radhika Rajamani in Hyderabad

Nagarjuna Akkinneni is looking fit in his latest film Payanam (Gaganam) where he plays a commando. 

He tells Radhika Rajamani more about Radhamohan's bilingual -- Payanam (Journey) in Tamil and Gaganam (Sky) in Telugu -- that also stars Prakashraj and a whole lot of newcomers.

You are doing a Tamil/Telugu bilingual perhaps for the first time. What made you sign the film?

I had done a bilingual Rakshagan before. Gaganam is in a different genre like the Hindi film A Wednesday. There are no songs. I feel Indian films are following a Hollywood format where there is no need to have songs or romance in a film.

The film is all about a hijack drama. Does the film show the work of terrorists and commandos?

The film is about the emotional intercations between the hijackers, passengers and the negotiators. The drama goes on for five days. It is loosely based on the Kandahar hijacking and how the government reacts to it.

The passengers have their problems, the government has restrictions and the commandos have their share of problems too. They have unforeseen problems, information leaking out and many other hurdles.

So there is non-stop suspense, thrill, twists and turns and tension mounts as the deadline approaches. It'll keep people on the edge of the seats.


Image: Nagarjuna in Payanam

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'I was out of touch with Tamil'

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You play a commando in the film. Did you prepare for the role or did you act based on the brief given by the director?

I acted according to the brief given by the director. The director had done a very thorough research.

What was challenging about the film?

Acting in the film was like a piece of cake. I was out of touch with Tamil but managed it.

The film was shot on a set erected at Ramoji Film City. Can you tell us more about it? 

Yes, the set was realistic and constructed on a 1: 1 scale. It couldn't have been more real than that. The outer shell was exactly the same. The plane was an integral part of the shoot.

Is there any bit shot on the ground?

Yes, around the tarmac when the commandos storm in.


Image: Nagarjuna in Payanam

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'Gaganam seemed an apt title for the film as it has something to do with the sky'

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The film has no music or heroines. How was it acting in such a film?

It's quite different, quite a change.

How was Radhamohan as a director?

He is very thorough but easy to work with. There was no confusion. He inspires actors in his own way.

How was it acting with Prakash Raj?

It was really good.

You were involved in the selection of the Telugu title Gaganam for the film....

Yes, Gaganam seemed an apt title for the film as it has something to do with the sky.


Image: A scene from Payanam

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'I have to do commercial films also'

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Would you call this an experimental film?

I would say it's a film in a different genre.

Would like to do more films like Gaganam?

Yes, if it is accepted.

So, would you be juggling these kinds of films with commercial ones?

I have to do commercial films also as I can't keep doing only these kinds (Gaganam) of films which are in another genre and offer new avenues.

Do you think the Telugu audience will accept a film like Gaganam?

The time for change has come, so why not? We haven't been trying new things. I hope Gaganam succeeds.

What are your future projects?

There's Rajanna directed by Vijayendra Prasad and a film produced by RR Movies. I am currently busy shooting for Rajanna.


Image: A scene from Payanam

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