Venkatesh Daggubati has delved into different genres over the years. It may well be the secret to its success and longevity. While Covid-19-induced lockdown restrictions were in place, he managed to finish shooting for two films – Naappa and Drushyam 2, and interestingly, both projects are remakes. His Naappa is the latest Telugu A-lister directed film to be released directly on an OTT platform. The film, starring Priyamani, Rao Ramesh, Nassar, Karthik Rathnam, Ammu Abhirami and Rajeev Kanakala, will premiere on Amazon Prime Video on July 20.
Venkatesh had contact with the media prior to Naappa’s release. Here are excerpts from the conversation:
Movie exhibitors have asked producers to avoid the OTT route and wait for theaters to reopen. But all of a sudden Naappa comes out on an OTT platform?
Sometimes we have to take what comes our way. Instead of wondering ‘why’, we need to move with the times. As an actor, I did my best for Naappa. Furthermore, it is not my call to accept. Only time will tell if this call is right or wrong.
Some of your fans are also mad at Naappa’s OTT release?
People will be disappointed now, but will heal with time. Some of my fans are happy, some are not. With all my heart I would like to ask for their forgiveness. We all get together to watch another movie of me in a theater, but safety comes first now. Fans and benefactors have been wonderful to me throughout my career and I have returned their love.
Why did you give the green light for the Telugu remake of Asuran?
I have to thank Vetri Maaran, Dhanush and Thanu for Asuran. It’s a classic. I have never come across such a movie. I liked it right away, and my gut told me to do the remake. Previously I played in remakes like Chanti, Sundarakanda and Guru which entertained the audience after that.
Naappa is one of the most challenging characters I’ve played. It completely absorbed me. During the Madurai schedule, I was in a hotel room in the same outfit for 50 days. I’m glad the film has taken shape.
Since Naappa is a remake, comparisons are inevitable.
Comparisons always happen in the case of remakes. However, in the case of Naappa, the content is extremely strong and we have good actors on board. Even I haven’t worked in a movie like this in my career. There are many reasons why I think people will appreciate this movie.
You have three movies in a row in different genres. How hard was it to switch between the films?
I’m lucky to have these movies. I’m completely immersed in the project when I do it, but I can shut down immediately when it’s done. Fortunately, Naappa was done in one go. In Drishyam 2, Mohanlal was at his best, so I have to do justice to the Telugu remake. F3 is my kind of movie and you know what to expect.
How was Priyamani?
It was a great experience. She did well in the movie.
How was shooting with the Covid-19 protocols?
Unfortunately, we all have to go through this way of working during the pandemic. Despite following strict Covid protocols, there is always a fear of virus infections.
Tell us about the action part in Naappa.
It was so challenging to work on emotions every day. I’m glad those scenes came out really well. The action scenes were very demanding and left me exhausted. After a shot was taken, I found it hard to get up for the next shot. It was a challenging task.