High expectations and preconceived notions about his acting may have nixed his debut film Josh, but Naga Chaitanya’s second chance at fame, Yem Maya Chesave, might just be his redemption. Hailing from a family of actors and bearing the additional pressure of being Nagarjuna’s son did not win him an easy ride into the film industry, says this 22-year-old.
“There were too many expectations resting on my first movie. The audience perhaps expected Josh to be a typical commercial cinema and I didn’t give them that, which is why it didn’t do well,” reflects Naga Chaitanya, who also blames his “subtle” acting for the flop.
“I underplayed in a lot of scenes in my first movie and it looks like I have no expressions. I realise now that we need to be more expressive in South Indian cinema. Critics tell me that I have improved my acting to a great extent with Yem Maya Chesave. I will have to be a more energetic actor in my next film.”
While he can’t avoid the comparisons, Chaitanya says he cannot complain about the pressure that comes with being the son of an established actor and grandson of a veteran performer. “It comes with the turf. I look at the expectations from my dad’s fans as an advantage. It keeps me on my toes and helps me perform better.”
Wary of being typecast as a lover-boy, Chaitanya is gearing up to act in an action thriller next. And while making career moves of this kind, he says he does take his father’s opinion, not because it is mandatory, but since he trusts his experience and judgement. “My dad gives me complete freedom to decide on the script and the kind of cinema I should do. Nevertheless, I make sure he is a part of every script listening session, because he has great experience in the industry. He doesn’t interfere in my movies, but throws in a few suggestions and tips on acting. He never comes to the sets and I am given a lot of independence in crafting my career,” he says.
Ask him about actor Raja’s recent allegations that star kids have an edge over actors like him with no god fathers in the industry and Chaitanya says, “I can’t help it if my family has been in the film industry for over 60 years. It might have given me an easy debut and I may get more films, despite my failures. But the audience today is demanding. They don’t care which family the actor comes from. All the audience wants is performance. If the actor can’t prove himself, they will reject him completely,” believes Chaitanya, who is already making headlines for his numerous lip-lock scenes with actress Samantha in his latest release.
“The first lip-lock was shot in New York where no one really cared. Honestly, I was embarrassed at first, but before we knew it, the shot was over. The scenes look natural,” he quipped.