‘Ante Sundaraniki’ brings together Nani and Nazriya Nazim for the first time on Telugu screen; in fact, this is Nazriya’s first Telugu film. Directed by Vivek Athreya, whose earlier film ‘Brochevarevarura’ set his course as a director to look out for. His story of love between the Brahmin boy – Kasthuri Poorna Venkata Sesha Sai Pawana Rama Sundara Prasad “Sundar” (Nani) and Leela Thomas (Nazriya) is honest, simple and relatable, says the lead hero. “Though I have done comedy films that have been blockbusters, I feel this is a film where humour is part of the plot. There is no effort to specifically make people laugh. It happens as you begin to identify with the characters, and is part of the narrative. It is as much a comedy film as it is an emotional drama, shares Nani.
“Look out for the chemistry between me and Naresh garu,” he adds.
Ante Sundaraniki releases on June 10th. Directed by Vivek Athreya, the movie is produced by Mythri Movie Makers. “In the film you will see Sundar who is a normal person, lies a lot, is afraid of his father, and falls in love with this girl,” Nani reveals; it is this factor that will appeal to the audience, he feels.
Excerpts from an interview with Nani:
What’s your first impression when you heard the story from Vivek?
When Vivek Athreya came to narrate me the story, I had a strong feeling that he is going to be the top director in future. He has got his own style in writing and taking. I was instantly impressed with the story. It is a pleasure to be a part of the journey of future top directors, rather than working with present leading directors. Vivek is one of such director, who even if he gives his story to someone else, they will not be able to handle it like him.
New directors will not have a body of work to show. How do you judge?
I do not have a body of work, when I was new to the industry. I created my own body of work. I should also give such a platform to those who have talent. If I believe in talent, I will not think about anything else.
You have got excellent comedy timing. How is it going to be in ‘Ante Sundaraniki’?
‘Ante Sundaraniki’ will have very different timing. I did not do any character so far with such timing. This movie does not match the dialogue template of my old movies. Vivek wrote in such a way that I cannot even replicate the old Nani. It would be very hilarious. You will see new Nani and new timing. Surely all of you will like it.
You are playing the role of a Brahmin guy for the first time. Did you do any homework specifically?
Not just brahmin characters, we dramatize some characters in films even though they are not as such in the real life. But ‘Ante Sundaraniki’ is not like that. Director Vivek Athreya comes from a traditional Brahmin family. You’re going to see a very authentic atmosphere. Even the smallest details are very obvious. When you watch the movie, you also feel like you are traveling along with the characters.
Sundar’s character has so much innocence. How do you prepare to do such a role?
It’s a little easier for me to do innocent characters. It would be even better if that innocence was there in the script itself. Sundar’s innocence has a different level. The statutory warning we regularly see is no drinking and no smoking. When it comes to our movie, the warning goes like this – ‘Sundar neither smokes cigarettes nor drinks alcohol, but those are the only bad habits he does not have. Sundar is not as innocent as he appears in the trailer. Director Vivek while narrating me the story stated that, “Sundar is a very worst fellow sir. But we have to ensure the audience fall in love with him in every frame”. That is the magic of Sundar. The Sundar’s worst nature is seen through innocence. In short, Sundar is an innocent Cunning Fellow. (Laughs).
Yours and Naresh’s is a magical combination. How is it going to be in ‘Ante Sundaraniki’?
It’s the best track, among the movies we have done together. This will take our combination to the next level.
Yours is a love marriage. Have you had any problems like Sundar?
My marriage is a very happy marriage. We got nod from both the families. But they are a family of scientists, wherein I am an actor. They were slightly confused at first. But when they spoke to me once, they believed in me and got me married to their daughter happily.
Whose decision was to have Nazriya play the role of Leela Thomas?
When I and Vivek were thinking about the character, we repeatedly thought we need someone like Nazriya to play the role. We started looking but could not find anyone. Later, we thought why not Nazriya herself. She has already turned down even the biggest movie offers. But as soon as she heard the story, she said ‘I will do it’. She completely did justice to that role. Fahad is also very excited about this movie. We were at their house when we went to Kochi promotions.
The industry is now going back to less ticket prices now. But during Shyam Singha Roy, you asked for hike in prices. What is your explanation about it?
Those who are commenting on me on ticket prices issues are senseless. I did not ask for ticket price of Rs 500. I just only said that the industry cannot survive with the pricing model of Rs 20, 40, and 60. High prices may be justifiable for big films like RRR. I only wanted the earlier normal ticket prices of 100, 120, which everyone is asking for now.
Tell us about DOP Niketh Bommi’s work?
Niketh is a wonderful cinematographer. Vivek and Niketh worked with excellent coordination. They both know very well and so worked in such great sync.
There are a lot of actors and actresses in the movie. Tell us about their importance.
Vivek wrote the script so brilliantly. Each character has a purpose. All the characters are impressive.
How is it working with Mythri Movie Makers?
Mythri Movie Makers has become a Leading production house producing some amazing movies. They are coming up with very good movies. Naveen and Ravi are very passionate producers. Our journey began with ‘Gang Leader’. That movie impressed the mass and class audiences. ‘Ante Sundaraniki’ is going to be another blockbuster.
What do you say about Vivek Sagar’s music?
Vivek Sagar is a music director who is like a weapon to the story of the film. He is a music director, who knows how to tell a story effectively with his music. Saying anything about Vivek before the release of this film will feel like an exaggeration.
Upcoming movies in your production?
‘Meet Cute’ will have direct digital release. We will announce release date soon. There is ‘Hit 2’ as well and it is going to be huge. Adivi Sesh bagged a big hit with Major. ‘Hit 2’ is no less than that. This franchise will continue.