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Interview with Jagapati Babu
Date: February 9, 2009, Hyderabad
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It’s Jagapati Babu’s birthday on 12 February and this year it also marks the release of his latest film Siddham. This year started on a positive note for Jagapati Babu with winning Nandi award in best supporting actor category. met Jagapati Babu for an exclusive interview. Here are the excerpts -

Two of your films are releasing in a gap of 8 days. How do you feel about it?
I feel uncomfortable for not being able to plan myself to have sufficient gap between two of my films. Bangaru Babu was launched 15 months back and it’s release got delayed. We finished the entire shoot of Siddham in four months which is amazing in today’s scenario. It happened the same way last year too with Homam and Raksha. Bangaru Babu is a family drama and Siddham is a realistic film.

Why are you working with JD Chakri again?
JD is like Shankar (Tamil) to me. And I am like Chiranjeevi to him. We feel very comfortable working with each other and it just happened such a way that I acted in two of his films.

What is so special about JD Chakri?
He is a very good technician from the school of Ram Gopal Varma. He has vast knowledge of cinema. He doesn’t know anything but cinema. I feel good working in his direction.

Did you take any references while doing Daya character in Siddham film?
I have enormous respect and love for cops and army men. They keep criminals away from us so that we could sleep peacefully. For me, even a traffic constable is a hero. People like P Seetaramanjaneyulu, Surendra Babu and Srinivasa Reddy are role models for the character of Daya in Siddham film. I went to Seetaramanjaneyulu’s home a couple of times and I am amazed by the way he interacts with his family members with compassion and the way he cuts jokes and spread humor and warmth. He keeps his profession aside when he is home. You can see two sides of an encounter cop in Siddham film.

What did you like in Siddham script?
It is a natural film with no songs and no comedy tracks. The entire climax of the film is conversational with no fights. This kind of climax never came in Telugu so far.

Do you plan your career in such a way that you do one mass masala followed by a serious film?
No. I don’t plan my career. I take up the projects as they come. That is an advantage as well as a disadvantage for me.

Are you doing a small role in Dil Raju’s Aakasamantha?
Yes. It will be a disadvantage for me if I do that role. But Dil Raju came to me with the hope that I would accept. If I do that role, it will help the film. But, I will get criticized for doing such a role. I always feel that cinema is above our profession. And I should take risk and try different things for the sake of cinema. Even if I do a mistake, our Telugu audiences are forgiving. They don’t mind a couple of mistakes if our intentions are noble. I feel that not taking a risk is the biggest risk for any actor.

Tell us about your hairdo for Siddham film?
I am fortunate to have a flexible hair. That is the reason why you see different hairdos in films like Kathanayakudu, Brahmastram and Siddham. When I go to sets, I blindly trust the director and follow his instructions.

What is your career’s best performance?
My role in Anthapuram is the best in my career. The credit should go to Krishna Vamsi for extracting such a performance. Krishna Vamsi knows me in person and my real life personality is similar to that of Anthapuram character. The best compliment for me came from Shahrukh Khan when he said, “I am not able to repeat what that b****** did in Telugu for climax scene”. He said it to Krishna Vamsi while performing the climax of Hindi version of Anthapuram. I take it as the best compliment.

Any other compliments?
My survival in Telugu film industry itself is a big compliment.

You are the only big hero who experiment and does not mind doing small roles. Don’t you have any ego problems?
I don’t let my ego come in way of creativity in cinema. It’s happening in all other language industries and it’s not happening in Telugu film industry. Somebody has to take initiative and do it. I am doing such roles and let’s hope that everybody will start experimenting in the future. I am getting bored of doing routine stuff in my career consisting more than 80 films. I need a change and different roles like these are giving me work satisfaction. I am also willing to do roles in crossover films.

Do you have any desires and ambitions as an actor?
There is no limit for ambition and greed. In the beginning I thought that it would be fine even if I act in one film. By now, I acted in more than 80 films. I keep doing my job and content with what I had done. I am happy and satisfied with what I am. I am happy with my smoking habit too.

Any plans to direct films?
Direction is not my cup of tea and it’s a difficult job. I have tremendous respect for directors.

Tell us about the physical risks you took in your career?
I blindly trust directors. I don’t mind giving my life to a scene if I feel that it’s worth it. I didn’t know bike driving. I drove a motorbike on 100 kmph speed without helmet for Samudram (Krishna Vamsi) film. Even a small pebble could hurt me in that situation.

For the climax of Jagapati (Jonnalagadda Srinivas) film I had gone underground. There was very less oxygen and I survived because of my meditation. Just before going to that shot an astrologer I know from Vijayawada called me and asked me if everything was ok as she felt that I had pranagandam at that minute. What a coincidence.

How do you feel about Siddham releasing on your birthday (12 February)?
For the first time in my career, my film is releasing on my birthday. It is just a coincidence. I am not such a guy who believes in birthdays and birthday resolutions.

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Kishore Kumar (Director)
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Deepa Chander (Cosumes designer)
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Hari Charan Prasad (Director)
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Santhi Chandra (Actor)
Teja (Director n producer)
Jeevi (Critic)
Lakshmikanth Chenna (Director)
Manoj Manchu (Actor)
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Sekhar Kmmula (Producer)
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Mamata Mohandas (Actress)
Lakshmi Lahari (Actress)
Ramesh Varma (Director)
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Yogesh (Director)
Neha Thota (Child actress)
Srinivas Avasarala (Actor)
Uday Kiran (Actor)
Kanmani (Director)
Ram Gopal Varma (Director)
PG Vinda (Cinematographer)
Madan (Director)
Bhavana (Heroine)
Bhargava (Producer)
Hari Yelleti (Director)
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Kishore Ganji (Producer)
Ram Mohan (Producer)
Salim Panda (Actor)
Surekha Vani (Actress)
Manjari Fadniz (Actress)
Vishal (Actor)
A Raja Sekhar (Director)
Sridevi (Actress)
Sayaji Shinde (Actor)
Viswa Tej (Actor)
Geetha Madhuri (Playback Singer)
Namitha (Actress)
Sneha Ullal (Actress)
Prem Kumar Patra (Producer)
GV Prakash (Music director)
Mohana Krishna Indraganti (Director)
Bharat (Child actor)
Malini Dasari (Cinematographer)
Rama Jogaiah Sastry (Lyricist)
Venkat (Hero)
Uday Kiran (Hero)
Sharwanand (Hero)
Ram (Hero)
Aditi Sharma (Heroine)
Nagur Babu (Mano) (Singer)
Sekhar Suri (Director)
Sindhu Menon (Heroine)
Vinu Thomas (Music director)
Nihal (Music director & Singer)
Nitin (Hero)
Smita (Pop singer)
Sonal Chauhan (Actress)
Raghu Kunche (Singer)
Udaya Bhanu (Anchor)
Meher Ramesh (Director)
Rao Ramesh (Actor)
Gopi Mohan (Writer)
Ajay Sastri (Director)
Vara Mullapudi (Director)
Bhumika Chawla (Actress)
Jagapati Babu (Actor)
Vijay C Kumar (Cinematographer)
Sekhar Kammula (Director)



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