Think of the Hindu calendar Gods and you are sure to find Nayanthara’s face there. The grace and confidence with which she carried the role of Sita in Sri Ramarajyam is being appreciated by one and all. She not only got the rare distinction of working under veteran director Bapu but share screen space with ANR and Balakrishna in a landmark film that is going to be written in the annals of Telugu cinema.
She is making news for all the right reasons. And if rumours are to be believed, Sri Ramarajyam is her last film before she ties the knot with Prabhu Deva.
In this exclusive chat with Sridevi Sreedhar, Nayanthara opens up.
Did you watch Sri Ramarajyam?
Yes I did watch the film on my birthday (Nov 18) evening at Four Frames preview theatre in Chennai. The producer of the film Yalamanchali Sai Babu was kind enough to arrange this special show for me, my staff and close friends. As I said earlier, it was my best birthday gift.
How did you get into the skin of Sita, the most revered character in Hindu Mythology?
(Smiles) First and foremost, I was very happy when this offer came my way. But soon my excitement turned into fear, as I was scared if I will be able to do the role, which was made memorable by veteran actors like Anjali Devi convincingly. Bapu sir came to my rescue and he guided me- be it my expressions, costume or gait. He gave me complete freedom and asked me not to follow anyone and bring my own style to the character. It was a matter of time and within couple of days, I got into the skin of Sita and I lived the role, enjoyed every bit of it. I could relate so much with Sita who was bearing the pain of being separated from her husband..
How did you prepare yourself for the role?
Nothing much. I completely surrendered to the character. We first shot the ashram scenes after Lashmana drops me in the forest. I became a complete vegetarian, used to visit temple almost every day, do pooja and stopped meeting friends and people outside the unit. I was doing only this film and so my entire focus was on it.
What about the costumes?
Anu Vardhan was my designer. Bapu sir was very clear be it my costume or accessories. He is a perfectionist.
Tell us about Balakrishna who played Ram in the film?
I had worked with him earlier in Simha. He is the main reason for me to be a part of Sri Ramarajyam. I thank him from the bottom of my heart for believing in me and having the confidence that only I could do this role to perfection, more than me. And he is so convincing as Lord Rama in the film, that I cannot imagine any other actor in that role.
When your name was announced as the heroine, Tollywood was doubtful on how the glamourous diva could play one of the most sacred women personalities in the Hindu mythology?
Well, you should be asking Bapu sir this question. All I can say is that I am proud that I became a part of history by doing the role of Sita. I did my role with lot of dedication and sincerity. And today when I read all the positive reviews and feedback from audiences, I feel that I am blessed (Smiles).
How was it working with Bapu sir?
He is like a father figure to me. I am so lucky to have worked with him. He is a genius, a living legend who made each and every frame of Sri Ramarajyam look like a painting. Bapu sir used to generate so much positive vibes around all of us. We used to shoot on a set erected outside city limits and it used to be a world of its own. Right from the director, cameraman Raju, Srikanth, other artists, assistant directors, managers to technicians were so dedicated and cool. Everything went on perfectly. No confusion or re-takes. After the movie was complete, Bapu sir gifted me a beautiful painting from Ramayana, which I will treasure for the rest of my life. He had a story board and knew exactly the schedule for the day.
The producer of Sri Ramarajyam is all praise for you and your dedication. Please comment
Yalamanchali Sai Babu garu is a gem of a person. If not for his conviction, Sri Ramarajyam would not have been made. Today, when producers do not want to burn their hands doing mythologies, he not only spend crores but had so much of faith in the project. He was there always on the sets and saw to it personally that everyone was happy.
Everyone is unanimous that you have saved your best performance in this film where you not only looked like an oil painting but your lip sync was perfect?
All credits goes to cameraman Raju who has made me look good. I was so happy to see myself on screen especially in the tight close up scenes. And for all my Telugu films, I take care to get the lip sync correct, but probably everyone noticed it here because there were far too many close up shots (smiles).
(Smiles)..As of now, I am extremely happy and thankful to God.