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Interview with Jagapati Babu
Date: January 17, 2008, Hyderabad
Jagapati Babu

Jagapati Babu matured like a wine over a period of time. After playing hide and seek with him, success seems to have finally beckoned on him. With three consecutive hits (Pellaina Kothalo, Samanyudu and Lakshyam), Jagapathi Babu is raring to go. His latest film Swagatam in Dasarath’s direction is hitting the marquee on 25th of this month in India and USA. Here are some excerpts from an exclusive interview with the prime star Jagapati Babu -

What is the secret behind your successive successes these days?

I believe in time. I have had bad times earlier and my good time has started now. Right now I am at the peak of my career. And I also started picking young/new directors for my films. They work with zeal. Chandra Sekhar Yeleti came up with a story to me when he was doing Anukokunda Oka Roju. I asked him to narrated the story of AOR instead and picked up the role of the cop.

I don’t do any planning and never use strategies in my career. I follow my heart while selecting roles.

What is the reason behind doing multistarrers?
I love doing variety of roles. And solo hero films does not permit that. Except for Ravoyi Chandamama, all my multistarrers (Anthahpuram, Anukokunda Oka Roju and Lakshyam) were hits.

Don’t you have any pressure from fans to not to do multistarrers?
During the time of Anthampuram, a couple of fans threatened me that they would opt for suicide. But after watching the film, they came and appreciated.

How did Swagatam happen?
Somebody was supposed to produce the film and they could not do it. It fell in my lap. I paid whatever cost them and took over the project. I became producer by chance, not by choice. I am the unofficial producer of this film.

You didn't you have any 2-heroine projects in recent times. What is the reason?
Nobody approached me with a satisfactory subject. In those days SV Krishna Reddy and EVV Satyanarayana used to do many multi heroine projects with me.

How did Dasarath do?
He came to me to narrate a subject as a story writer. I asked him if he has any subjects of Santosham nature. He narrated the subject of Swagatam and I loved it.

Tell us more about Swagatam?
I am doing the role of a fickle-minded business man. Anushka is doing the role of an American born Telugu girl who does event management for a living. Bhumika Chawla does the role of wedding planner (match maker).

Swagatam is a screenplay based film and there are good twists in it. And another best thing is that my film has two hot and happening heroines. Bhumika Chawla and Anushka are high on success with Anasuya and Don respectively.

Swagatam would belong to the genre of Mavi Chiguru (my film) and Santosham (Dasarath film).

You maintain a slim physique. What is the secret behind it?
I don’t follow any diet program/workout schedule.

How did Gayam happen with Ramu?
Ramu was a good friend of me even before he made Shiva film. When I wanted to become hero, Ramu was the first person I approached for suggestion. He asked me to go ahead. After Shiva, he became very big. Ramu used to tell my brother that I am not asking him for any films. I used to reply saying that I do not need any favors. He could cast me whenever he think that I am competent enough. One fine day, he called me and offered me Gayam. He said that he liked my performance in certain scenes of Peddarikam. He also encouraged me to dub my own voice with Gayam.

Your voice was criticized earlier and now your voice is one of your main strengths. How do you feel about it?
During the making of my first film, I realized that my dialogue delivery was bad. I had a good voice, but bad modulation. After that I did not dub my voice till Gayam film. During Gayam, I straightened my modulation and it worked.

Why are you not getting films like Gayam after that?
Films like Shiva and Gayam can only happen once.

Tell me five of your top films?
1. Jagannatakam: I think it was my ninth film. After that people realized that I could act.
2. Peddarikam: It was my first successful film.
3. Gayam: It was a milestone in my career.
4. Subhalagnam: Made me the specialist in two heroine films.
5. Subhakankshalu: Another well made film.

I have many more good films. But the above mentioned films are close to my heart because they were released in early part of my career.

You are son of a popular producer. Why haven’t you produced any films?
I am a very bad businessman like my father. My father lost lot of his money by producing films with me as hero.

What are your future films?
Swagatam film is releasing on 25th of this month. I am doing a film in the direction of Jonnalagadda Srinivas. This film is a remake of a Kannada blockbuster. Dasari is the producer. This film will be launched on 18 January. My film Homam in the direction of JD Chakravarthy will be released in April. My film with Tarun combination will release in April. I am playing the brother of Rajnikant in C Aswini Dutt's film. I am also doing a guest role in Srikanth’s Nagaram.

You told that he did Nagaram without listening to the subject?
Yes Srimitra Chowdary is my neighbor. He never said no whenever I asked him any favor in the past. Now it’s the time to payback. Moreover, I liked the work I had done for that film.

What is the reason for releasing Swagatam in USA?
This film has USA backdrop and more than half of the film is shot in USA. I am very confident about the success of the film and it suits the sensibilities of NRI crowds. That is the reason why I am distributing Swagatam myself in USA through CA Cinema distributors.

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