Venkatesh Daggubati has dabbled in varied genres across the years. It is perhaps the secret of his success and longevity. While Covid-19 induced lockdown restrictions were in force, he managed to finish the shoot for two movies – Narappa and Drushyam 2, and interestingly both the projects are remakes. His Narappa is the latest Telugu A-lister-led movie to release directly on an OTT platform. The film, also starring Priyamani, Rao Ramesh, Nassar, Karthik Rathnam, Ammu Abhirami, and Rajeev Kanakala, will premiere on Amazon Prime Video on July 20.
Venkatesh interacted with the media ahead of Narappa’s release. Here are excerpts from the conversation:
Film exhibitors have been asking producers to avoid the OTT route and wait for theatres to reopen. But, all of a sudden, Narappa is coming out on an OTT platform?
Sometimes, we have to take what comes our way. Instead of asking ‘why’, we need to move ahead with the times. As an actor, I have put my best efforts into Narappa. Beyond that, it is not my call to take. Only time will tell whether this call is right or wrong.
A few of your fans are also upset with Narappa’s OTT release?
People will be disappointed now, but will heal with time. Some of my fans are happy, and some are not. With all my heart, I would like to ask for their forgiveness. We will all come together to watch another movie of mine in a theatre but safety comes first for now. Fans and well-wishers have been wonderful to me throughout my career and I have returned their love.
What made you greenlight the remake of Asuran in Telugu?
I must thank Vetri Maaran, Dhanush, and Thanu for Asuran. It is a classic. I have not come across any movie like that. I liked it instantly, and my gut told me to do its remake. Earlier, I have acted in remakes such as Chanti, Sundarakanda and Guru in the past, which went on to entertain the audience.
Narappa is one of the most challenging characters I have played. It absorbed me completely. During the Madurai schedule, I was in the same outfit for 50 days in a hotel room. I am happy that the movie has shaped up well.
Since Narappa is a remake, comparisons are inevitable.
Comparisons always happen in case of remakes. However, in the case of Narappa, the content is extremely strong and we have good actors on board. Even I have not worked in a film like this in my career. There are many reasons why I believe people will appreciate this film.
You have three films back-to-back in different genres. How tough was it to switch between the films?
I am fortunate to have these films. I am completely immersed in the project when I am doing it but I am able to switch off immediately once it is done. Luckily, Narappa was done in a single stretch. In Drishyam 2, Mohanlal was at his best so I have to do justice to its Telugu remake. F3 is my kind of a film and you know what to expect.
How was it working with Priyamani?
It was a wonderful experience. She has done a nice job in the movie.
How was it shooting with Covid-19 protocols in place?
Unfortunately, we all have to go through this style of working during the pandemic. Despite following rigorous Covid protocols, there is always a fear of virus infections.
Tell us about the action part in Narappa.
It was so challenging to work on emotions every single day. I am glad those scenes came out quite well. The action sequences were very demanding and left me exhausted. After a shot was done, I found it tough to get up for the next shot. It was a challenging task.