He ‘pounced’ on the Telugu film industry as Chirutha and made a Rachcha. With his powerful portrayals this Magadheera made his way into the hearts of his fans where he ensconced himself as their Nayak. The six-film-old Ram Charan Tej is all set to gallop once again like a Thoofan to shake the Box Office registers during this Sankranthi with his new film Yevadu. An avid equestrian and entrepreneur, Cherry – that is how he is dearly called – was ranked #69 in 2013 India’s Forbes list with an earnings of Rs. 12.67 cr last month. If you thought you know everything about him, you are surely in for surprises.
Your new film Yevadu is all set to hit the silver screens. Tell us about the film.
It’s an action thriller with lots of twists and turns and I feel it definitely appeal to all sections of audience. First time my cousin stylish star Allu Arjun is sharing the screen with me, though in a cameo. It is all set to hit the screen for Sankranti. My film Nayak too had a Sankranti release. It turned out to be a block buster, shaking the box office and earning me a wide applause. Going by this sentiment and considering all the hard work that went into it, I hope Yevadu will repeat the magic. I keep my fingers crossed.
What do you say about your Bollywood experience?
It was a great experience. Quite naturally my interaction with Bollywood was not at all difficult as most of the actors are known to me through my father. I was received with great warmth. Besides reinforcing the old ties, I also made a lot of new friends. I grew especially close to Salman Khan and Sanjay Dutt. Zanjeer might not be a great hit but had given me a good headstart. Soon I shall be doing yet another movie and make my presence felt in Bollywood in a big way.
How did you handle of shooting for bilingual simultaneously?
There was not much difference except that it took a little extra time for Priyanka, heroine to repeat her dialogues in Telugu and for me in Hindi. That was my first movie where I had to shoot simultaneously for two languages. Thanks to Apoorva Lakhia, he wrapped up the shoot so quickly that it seemed like a cakewalk.
From being the Megastar’s son to being the Mega Power Star you have come along. Comment.
Nothing really has changed. I still feel the same. I have good fan support. I enjoy all the laurels showered on me. I feel I am already placed on a pedestal, way above where I deserve to be right now. I have a lot more to accomplish.
Are you into acting because you like it or because you are Chiranjeevi’s son?
As a kid I was highly influenced by my dad’s career. We used to sit at the shooting spots and watch him act and dance. My penchant for films soon transformed into a passion. One day I’ve realized that acting is where my heart is.
Do you emulate your dad who is obviously your role model?
Having a person at home who has 30 years experience in his field is definitely advantageous to an actor like me by all means. I learned every bit of it from my dad like how an actor should carry himself and his behavior in the industry.
How important is dad’s decision in choosing your films?
Now he has no time to sit and talk about films. He is busy in his political field. I do inform him about interesting scripts and ask for changes that can be made. His suggestions are highly valued.
What do you feel about the small budgeted films that are currently a trend in Tollywood?
They gave a new lease of life to our sluggish film industry. The success rate of these small films is much better than the biggies. People should welcome more such films and encourage the directors to come up with novel scripts. After all, budget of a film should not be the criterion to pull crowds.
If you were to remake your dad’s films, what would you choose?
Khaidi is my all time favourite. Dad’s role was terrific. Along with it Gang Leader and Jagadeka Veerudu Athiloka Sundari are a few films I would like to remake. How I wish this dream comes true!
TELL US ABOUT YOUR BETTER HALF UPASANA.
Well Upasana or Upsi (that’s what I call her) is the right person for me. Her ideas, ideologies, mindset and attitude have swept me off my feet. Upsi is always the first one to break the ice after an argument or a silly fight. That’s what I love about her. She’s vivacious and outspoken. I am more laidback. That makes us a perfect couple (giggles).
You have the passion for horses – Where did it all start?
All of us connect to some animal or the other. My father likes the lion a lot because his Raasi is Simha. There’s no reason behind my passion for horses. Somehow I love spending time with them and I don’t mind spending the entire day in my farm. The horse I rode in Magadheera is my own. We call him Badshah. The same name has been used in the film too.
What about period films? Any favourite personalities.
No favourites as such but many people told me that I bear a resemblance with Chatrapati Sivaji a lot. If a director comes up with a good script then I might do period films.
It is said that Geeta Arts has registered the title ‘Charan-Arjun’. How far has that come?
Even we are excited about it! My uncle Aravind has registered the title on spur of the moment. We are waiting for a good script that can do justice to the roles we both will play. I love the title Charan-Arjun. Hope something works out.
Who do you like – Chiranjeevi, the Megastar or Chiranjeevi, the politician?
That’s quite tough! But Chiranjeevi as the Megastar was loved by all and that includes me too. I am his biggest fan ever.
If not into acting, in what profession would you settle down?
It’s difficult for me to imagine my life without movies. But I am obsessed with cars and spend my free time reading about new arrivals. If not for films, I would surely set up an automobile industry and live with cars (smiles).
Being related to top stars like Chiranjeevi, Pavan Kalyan and Allu Arjun, have you faced tough competition from anyone? Do you think you might be dominated by these actors?
Not at all! They all have their own careers and I am not at all influenced by their movies. We discuss films, appreciate, give and take feedback and that’s only on a professional level. After films, we are a family and spend quality time at home.
Do you take Ayyappa Swami Deekshan regularly. Are you religious?
Yes! I am religious and an ardent worshipper of Ayyappa Swami, Anjaneya Swami and Shirdi Sai Baba. This isn’t the first time I took up Ayyappa Deeksha. I did it earlier and would continue to do it in the future too. My dad also does it every year. Being religious takes you closer to God and you can rely on him for support.
A little birdie told us that you are a trained Carnatic singer and you are an expert in singing Annamacharya Keerthanalu. Why doesn’t the world know about this?
(Laughs) Your birdie is 100% right! Infact, I sung the ‘Praja Rajyam Meede’ song that was unveiled at the inaugural meeting in Tirupati. I used to attend music classes since my childhood but somehow acting was always my first love. Hence my singing ability hasn’t reached people. Very soon I shall be singing in one of my upcoming films. Just wait!
What does ‘Power’ mean to you?
Nothing but responsibility.
What will we find in your wallet?
Money and a few cards.
Best compliment you have ever received?
Many say I look like my dad. Such compliments put me on cloud 9.
What is the best quality about you?
I love what I do!
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
Back to my childhood when my dad was into films.
Three actors you would love to work with?
My dad, Pawan Kalyan and Tom Hanks. Your take on lip locks in cinema. Strictly a ‘no’ for me! Link-ups with heroines I have no time for such stuff.
You prefer comedy or action films?
Action films have always been my forte. Though I haven’t tried comedy, I would love to do a couple of them.
What is fitness for you?
Not just physical fitness but mental fitness too is important.
Can actors be good friends?
Why not? I have a bunch of best friends in Tollywood who have made a mark as heroes.
Chiranjeevi: Reason for my existence
Pawan Kalyan: Idol
Allu Arjun: Best buddy
Mahesh Babu: Extremely handsome
Prabhas: Greek God
Rana: My bestest friend
Jr. NTR: Command on dialogues
Jayaprada: Sweet heart
Radhika Sarat Kumar: Part of our family
Kajal: Good friend
Neha Sharma: Super cool
I love Vizag. I have been to the city many times and always admired the people and the culture. The city moves at its own pace and the people are affectionate. Once I retire from films, I would love to settle down in Vizag.
Red for me is very courageous, bold and dashing. It is always in vogue!
How do you feel being on the cover for the second time?
Message to your fans. First of all, a very happy New Year and Sankranti! Hope this year brings you a lot of happiness and success. I promise to come up with at least two films a year and keep you all happy.
Courtesy: Red Magazine