Films made for theatres need to be marketed differently: Naga Chaitanya

Telugu actor Naga Chaitanya recently made his Hindi film debut with Aamir Khan starrer Laal Singh Chaddha and he says it’s exactly the kind of film he was looking for. This is because he wanted an impactful debut role that could allow him to easily gain acceptance in the industry and Laal Singh Chaddha was just the right fit. In an exclusive interview, the actor talks about all of this in detail. Read on:

Laal Singh Chaddha was your big Bollywood debut. Was entering the Hindi film industry always on your wish list?

It was always an aspiration to enter Bollywood and test the waters because I have always admired and looked up to the content that Bollywood puts out. There is too much talent there, and I have always wanted to work with them. While I waited for the right opportunity, I was a little concerned about how I would fit in and be accepted.

How did you come on board?

Laal Singh… happened very organically. First I was contacted by a casting agency, and later that evening, I got on a video call with Aamir sir (Aamir Khan). We met and everything fell into place. The film sort of ticked all the boxes that I was looking for in my Bollywood debut project. Furthermore, I have never been primarily focused on playing the lead role. Instead, I seek out characters the audience will admire and respect. Also, speaking Hindi is not something I am entirely comfortable with but the fortunate thing was that my character in the film, Bala, speaks Hindi with a South Indian accent. He is a Telugu boy. So this sort of bridged the gap for me and eased things a bit. Lastly, being presented by Aamir sir was a no-brainer for me. All in all, this was the opportunity I was looking for and it happened organically. I strongly believe that the right things happen at the right time.

Don’t you think it was a risky project for the debut, considering all the comparisons made to Forrest Gump?

Forrest Gump is a classic and I knew that comparisons would be drawn, so I was kind of prepared for that. But when the script was narrated to me, I found it totally different from the original film. Except for the screenplay, there was nothing common. Forrest Gump was set in American culture while Laal Singh…was deeply rooted in Indian culture. So I was sure that people would love it.

Earlier, a superstar’s presence in a movie would guarantee its box office success. However, that’s not true anymore. How do you see this change?

Whether the change is good or bad, it does not matter. What’s more relevant is to acknowledge that it’s happening and we need to adapt to it. Our responsibility as makers and actors is to be aware of this because if we don’t change with the changing scenarios, we will be the ones who suffer.

Do you think it’s because content has become the king?

I have always believed that content is the king. Superstars can bring audiences to theatres but it’s the content that will make the film work. Having said that, at this moment, it’s not just about good writing. If the audience feels that they can watch a certain project at home and the cinematic experience isn’t going to make much of a difference, then no matter how good the writing is, they won’t go to theatres. So, if we’re making a movie for the big screen, there has to be something special to entice people to leave their homes.The makers need to convince the audience about why they should watch that specific project in theatres. Films made for theatres need to be marketed differently.