Actor Naga Chaitanya Explains What It’s Like To Work With Aamir Khan On His Hindi Debut Album ‘Lal Singh Chaddha’ And How He’s Handling The ‘Thank You’ Debacle

Actor Naga Chaitanya Explains What It’s Like To Work With Aamir Khan On His Hindi Debut Album ‘Lal Singh Chaddha’ And How He’s Handling The ‘Thank You’ Debacle

“You don’t plan to work in an Aamir Khan film; it has to happen,” actor Naga Chaitanya told this writer during an interview on the sidelines of his 2021 Telugu film. Love story. Like her first hindi movie Lal Singh Chaddhatitled by Aamir Khan and directed by Advait Chandan, is gearing up for a theatrical release on August 11, Chaitanya reiterates that some of his best films were unpremeditated, whether this was his first film Ye Maya Chesavethe Premam telugu remake or majili: “When I am recognized and work with filmmakers whose work I grew up watching or whose work inspires me, it fills me with great confidence. In the case of Lal Singh Chaddha, I was skeptical about venturing into Hindi cinema. My language is not perfect and there is already a lot of talent there; I kept thinking how will I be accepted. I play a South Indian boy in a North Indian setting. It gave me the confidence to take that leap of faith.

In the skin of Bubba

Lal Singh Chaddha is an adaptation of Forrest Gump; actor-screenwriter Atul Kulkarni wrote the screenplay 14 years ago. During his recent visit to Hyderabad, Aamir Khan revealed that it took the team eight to ten years to secure the adaptation rights. Naga Chaitanya plays Bubba or Benjamin Buford Blue (played by Mykelti Williamson in the English film) who befriends Gump in the army and dreams of starting a shrimp business back home: “I joined the Lal Singh Chaddha team when almost 75% of the film was in place. When they called me, the character of the friend was defined as a South Indian. Depending on whether a Tamil or Telugu actor plays him, they planned to work out details such as his roots.

Naga Chaitanya as Balaraju in

Naga Chaitanya as Balaraju in ‘Lal Singh Chaddha’ | Photo credit: special arrangement

Chaitanya’s character named Balaraju Bodi is from Bodipalayam in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh and met Lal Singh during the Kargil war: “I thought it was nice that my character had a certain South Indian flavor in a North Indian setting. Unlike someone growing up in the North, some South Indians may speak Hindi a little differently. The character has an accent and occasionally slips into Telugu.

The actor watched Forrest Gump as a child and remembers that his mother often listened to the soundtrack. Chaitanya says, “The album cover was the iconic image of Tom Hanks sitting on the bench, looking sideways.” He revisited the film after receiving a call from Aamir’s office: “They weren’t sure if I would take on a short role. Watching the movie again made me say yes. Balaraju may be on screen for 20-30 minutes, but emotionally he influences a large part of Lal’s journey.

blank canvas

Naga Chaitanya on the sets of 'Lal Singh Chaddha'

Naga Chaitanya on the sets of ‘Lal Singh Chaddha’

Starting out on a blank canvas in Hindi cinema, 12 years after its Telugu debut, Chaitanya was a game for which: “When I look back on my work, there are times when I feel embarrassed; that’s how I grew up as an actor. I had successes and failures and they taught me a lot. This film will give me enormous exposure and I am happy to introduce myself to a wider audience at this stage of my career.

However, there was an initial nervousness. He received a copy of the script six months before filming. Pre-production workshops and conversations with Advait, Aamir and others helped him get rid of his inhibitions and be clear about his character: “On set, I didn’t have to worry about do my lines. It flowed easily. We had discussed everything, including location costumes and specific scene breakdowns.

Each day, they would take stock of the day’s footage, which Chaitanya says is rare in most film units. “Normally the directors wouldn’t show us the footage until the film was finished. But watching the footage from the day helped me see where I needed to improve and the next day would be better. had the opportunity, he would like to work with as much precision and planning for his future films.

Naga Chaitanya with Aamir Khan

Naga Chaitanya with Aamir Khan

For his Hindi debut, he’s happy that Aamir Khan is doing the heavy lifting when it comes to box office pressure: “I’m lucky that Aamir has this responsibility. I’m sure there’s a lot of pressure on him, but who better than Aamir to handle it?

Speaking of box office reception, bring up the topic of his new film in Telugu Thanks which recently opened to a cold reception and Chaitanya disarmingly concedes: “Frankly, it has been shocking and scary. I didn’t have a lot of time to process it but as far as I can tell there were a few flaws in the writing, the way we packaged the movie and how my character turned out. We have to accept that audiences are comfortable with certain types of OTT movies. Unless there are phenomenal talks of the morning show on the first day, people don’t visit theaters. We learn and we move forward. »

Cinema and digital formats

The recent Telugu movie Thanks was his second collaboration with director Vikram Kumar after manam. The duo have also been working together for Dhoothaa web series for Amazon Prime Video: “I loved the long form of storytelling with room to showcase different layers of a character. I had always wanted to play a role with shades of gray and I As an actor, I strive for maximum exposure and want to explore both theatrical and digital formats.

Ask Chaitanya how he would urge someone who grew up watching Forrest Gump at look Lal Singh Chaddha and he said, “Look at him. The setting is the same but the events of the adaptation are faithful to Indian culture. You could walk into the theater being aware of Forrest Gump but you won’t leave the room thinking only of the original. I am convinced that India will connect with Lal Singh the same way America connected with Gump. I prefer not to debate now, you have to watch it to understand.