It's been an eventful year for Naga Chaitanya so far, thanks to the success of his recent film Manam. And just when it all seemed rosy, the response to his other film, Autonagar Surya came as a bitter pill. If there was an upside to the lukewarm reception of this film, it's the fact that Naga Chaitanya could finally move on, after waiting for months for the film to release.
"The movie held me down emotionally for almost two years and I'm glad that Deva Katta and I can finally move on. It released so unexpectedly in the end that whatever the response the film might have got, I'm happy that I had a chance to move out of my comfort zone. Deva believed in me so much that he pushed me to deliver more than what I knew. I'm a big fan of his work and I would love to work with him again," says Naga Chaitanya, minus any regret in his voice.
But it's the response of Manam that has taken the actor by surprise. "We wanted to make it (Manam) a memorable film since it was ANR's last movie. But the end result was beyond our imagination!" exclaims an excited Chai. The actor's recent films, like Tadakha and Autonagar Surya, gave him an action hero image; however, all said and done, he seems to be carrying forward the family legacy — that of a romantic hero. "It does look like my comfort zone, but perhaps, too much of anything isn't good for me," he laughs, while confessing that he doesn't know why he's named Karthik in every second film.
"Maybe my directors like that name. It's just a coincidence. As a matter of fact, I've been consciously trying to dabble with different genres. My next film is a romantic entertainer which is lively and colourful in its approach to the subject. It's more in the league of 100% Love and that got me hooked on to the movie. And the other film under Sudheer Varma's direction is a mix of con drama and action, with lots of comedy. I would love to do a thriller sometime," he admits.
Far away from the hustle-bustle of a film set, Chai maintains that he leads a normal life like any other youngster. "I'm calm and composed and I don't expect a lot from anyone. I prefer hanging out with my small group of friends; maybe head to a beach once in three months, pursue my hobbies and just be happy with the small joys of life," reveals the actor. And this is precisely why his presence on social media is surprising, to say the least.
"I suppose I had to take the plunge at some point," laughs Chai, adding, "The good part is, people are very forthright while sharing their opinions. Sometimes, people close to you might give you a false impression of your work, just to be in your good books. But that's not the case on social media. As an actor, it's really important for me to improve my work and I take criticism in a positive sense."
Back home, it's his father, Nagarjuna who plays his Devil's Advocate or so it seems. Chai still discusses all the scripts he gets with his dad and that aspect isn't likely to change anytime soon."My father questions me about everything which makes me contemplate upon the decisions I take — be it my films or life. Although the final decision is mine, he wants me to learn by myself, irrespective of success or failure," he reveals.
So what about marriage? Is it on the cards anytime soon? After all, the actor is considered one of the most eligible bachelors in tinsel town. "The issue does come up in our house at times, but I haven't given it a serious thought yet. Once you turn 27, alarm bells start ringing," laughs Chai.
While a life in showbiz might sound quite hunkydory, especially when you belong to one of the most popular families of filmdom; however, like every other actor, there's a vulnerable side to Chaitanya, which keeps him grounded. Ask him what his biggest fear in life is, he broods over it for a moment and says, "I have the fear of losing everything. At times, I get these reality checks which make me aware of what a privileged life I lead. Every time I read the newspapers and come to know about the tragedies that occur in people's lives, it makes me understand how far away I'm from all that. So, I don't take anything for granted. It makes me more humane, I suppose," he signs off.