Anyone who has been following actor Nandamuri Kalyan Ram’s work would know that he has stuck to a particular route for most part of his career. That changed with the success of the underdog film Pataas, after which the actor was left with the desire to reinvent himself.
While Pataas was his first full-fledged entertainer, Ism saw him sporting a completely new look and now for the first time in his 15-year career, he is doing a romantic film like Naa Nuvve. While the reviews may not have been positive, Kalyan Ram has no regrets doing the film.
“The concept of success and failure is quite complicated. If every filmmaker knew the outcome of the project even before starting it, then why would we even be discussing all this? Every filmmaker starts the work with the hope of making a film that the audience will love. The result is never really in your hands,” he says.
In fact, doing a film like Naa Nuvve was a matter of risk for Kalyan Ram. “It took me a lot of time to realise the importance of taking a new path. For years, I went on the same route and sometimes it worked, while the other times it didn’t. However, at this point, I am happy because I am at least trying out something new. It gives me immense satisfaction creatively,” he says, adding, “And this film will remain one of the best experiences for me as an actor. Bidding adieu to this crew was one of the hardest things I have done because we had grown close on the sets and I was starting to feel at home. It certainly happens with most films but I have never felt like this before.”
Away from his usual stylish or mass avatar, the film shows a mellow side of the actor. “I was really surprised when the director came to me with the film. As much as I don’t like tags, I fully understand that I have been put in a bracket and I wondered if a love story like this, which is quite and less dramatic, would work for me. I was apprehensive about doing the film. After discussing with my team, I realized that risks are all we can take,” he explains.
What’ more, his family too seems quite happy with his new attempt. He says, “Several years ago, when I thought of removing my moustache for a film, my wife Swathi was not sure about it. This time around, I followed every step that Jayedra and PC Sreeram told me to take. So I removed my moustache and my wife thinks I look much nicer without it. Even my kids love it. It makes me happy of course!”
The actor claims the transition from formula films to other forms of cinema has changed him. “It is because of this change that I am attempting to move out of my comfort zone. It’s not at all easy because I am used to a certain kind of cinema. For Naa Nuvve, I remember there were times when I was overdoing the emotions and it took me a while to get into the groove of subtlety. I was used to being loud and aggressive on-screen. With this film, I have learnt the art of toning down. Jayendra was particular even about the tiniest details like how I moved my hands or how much I widened my eyes. I think it is for the first time that I played a character without bringing in a part of me into him,” he says.
But one wonders why Kalyan Ram even chose to work with Jayendra, considering his first and only film 180 didn’t create a box office impact. “That’s one question many have asked me. But I looked at in another way. Should I value the one single flop he had or talk about the hundreds of ad films he has successfully made? And like I said earlier, successes and failures are a part and parcel of show business. He made that film so long ago and today he’s a changed person as I am. We’ve made a film we enjoyed making and that’s about it,” he signs off.