Mahesh Babu: Sarileru Neekevvaru gave me freedom to explore myself

Thursday, January 9, 2020 - 22:15

Mahesh Babu is kicked about 'Sarileru Neekevvaru', which he says packs in many surprising elements. Without revealing much about the story, he talks about what made him warm up to Anil Ravipudi's subject, why he had to do a subject like this one, the kind of entertainment that 'SLN’ offers, his upcoming project, rumoured talks with 'KGF' director Prashanth Neel and more.

What is it that excited you about the script of 'Sarileru Neekevvaru’?

I okayed the project on listening to the story even before the release of 'F2'.  After watching that film, I called up Anil Ravipudi and told him I want to work with him immediately and not after some other project as was planned. Anil was excited. He sat down to complete the script work. The film went on the floors in June and was wrapped up fast.

'SLN' excited me because of the nature of the story. It gave me the freedom to explore myself more than the serious roles that 'Srimanthudu', 'Bharat Ane Nenu' and 'Maharshi' offered. In that respect, I wanted to do a thorough entertainer like 'Dookudu'.  ‘SLN’ satisfied my urge.

After watching the trailer, it appears that 'SLN’ is more about fun and fights than logic.

It's not a mindless entertainer at all.  It is a blend of elements like patriotism, comedy and emotions.  Anil has designed the protagonist's character in a such way that a soldier looks different. That's not a joke.  

This is your fastest film since 'Businessman'.  How was it possible?

It was possibly because of Anil's efficiency. It was possible also because of technicians like Devi Sri Prasad and Randy (cinematographer Rathnavelu).  Without the unit working day in and day out, it wouldn't have been possible at all.

Is it true that you not charging any remuneration also helped?

It's one of the best decisions that I took. I wanted to make things easy. Also, we had to complete it before Sankranthi. Anil Sunkara garu has taken care of the entire execution and it makes me proud that he is quite elated ever since he watched the first copy.

Coming to the clash with 'Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo', it was averted in the last minute. Your comment?

No actor would like a clash. If it's a solo release, distributors will benefit more. Thankfully, the Guild did the right thing.  

What about your next movie? And what about the rumour that you will team up with 'KGF' director Prashanth Neel?

Vamsi Paidpally will talk about my next outing. As for Neel, we both had a chat over coffee. There is no project currently. If some idea excites me, I will always be ready for that.

Coming to the Kondareddy Buruju backdrop, was it because of sentimental reasons?

There is nothing like that. The Kurnool backdrop is part of the script. And since the Buruju is a landmark of that town, we made it a character in the movie. AS Prakash garu's set is superb and I got nostalgic about the 'Okkadu' days when I saw it for the first time.

Playing a soldier is not easy.  What kind of homework did you do for that?

I had to work out physically and lose about 6 kgs. There is an excellent fight in Kashmir and it plays out like an Army operation.  

What are you going to do immediately after 'SLN’?

I have been working non-stop for years. It may seem to others that I have been holidaying too many times. But that's not the case. I will be taking a sabbatical for three months after the release of this movie. After that, Vamsi's movie will be shot.