After V, Nani is back with another OTT release. His family entertainer, Tuck Jagadish, was released on Amazon Prime Video on September 10, on the occasion of Vinayaka Chathurthi. Directed by Shiva Nirvana, Tuck Jagadish is set in a fictional village and talks about the importance of family. The film was slated for theatrical release but had to go the OTT way due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nani and Ritu Varma spoke exclusively to IndiaToday.in about Tuck Jagadish, their characters and experiencing their films in a theatre.
The interview was recorded a day before Tuck Jagadish’s release.
Excerpts from the conversation:
Q: Just a day to for Tuck Jagadish’s release. How nervous do you feel?
Nani: Not even a day, Tuck Jagadish will be out in just a few hours from now. I am quite excited and nervous. It’s a different experience than what it is when a film releases in the theatre. We usually see how the audience reacts to the film. Here, we don’t get to see the response. We can only check out reviews online. Fingers crossed.
Ritu: I am more excited than nervous. Somehow, this time, I am confident that this film is going to work. We all have given our best. There is some kind of satisfaction that I have.
Q: To Nani, Tuck Jagadish is a commercial film, yet is high on emotions. What was the selling point for you when Shiva Nirvana narrated the script?
Nani: That’s what I liked about the film. In commercial films, we follow a template. We get action scenes, dance sequences and comedy scenes. With Tuck Jagadish, Shiva did not follow the template. He stuck to the story. There is no song or separate track that happens parallelly. Everything happens within the story, which is more relatable. You won’t think it’s a fictional set-up and you will understand the emotions and relationships. Shiva is good at handling emotions. Tuck Jagadish has emotions at its core and I thought working with him will do wonders.
Q: Your character Jagadish believes men shouldn’t cry. How did you approach the character?
Nani: Jagadish believes that men cannot cry. His father teaches him, which makes him believe the statement. There is a scene where he breaks down towards the end. He takes his father’s words seriously. When the title card runs, you hear Jagadish’s father say, “Men shouldn’t cry and he shouldn’t make a woman cry. It is not good for the village or the home.” There is a certain sincerity to it.
I personally don’t believe that boys shouldn’t cry. Of course, we can cry. In fact, we need to cry more. I understand Jagadish’s point of view. He is a vulnerable guy and that’s what makes it interesting.
Q: To Ritu, you have been carefully picking your scripts. Can we call Tuck Jagadish your big commercial film?
Ritu: Absolutely. So far, I have done multiplex films. This is altogether a different film with a proper mix of everything. I really liked the character that I played in the film. I am hoping that I reach a particular section of people through this film.
Q: This is a film with a huge star cast. How was it shooting for Tuck Jagadish?
Nani: A lot of moments during filming were memorable. The entire journey was memorable as we shot this film through the Covid-19 pandemic. I don’t think anyone in the world will forget these two years, for whatever reasons they have. The team spent these two years together. We shot in Palani, Pollachi in Tamil Nadu, and Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh with thousands of people. We were all worried, but we were careful.
Ritu: I think Shiva garu wanted to keep it very authentic, which is why he chose to shoot in actual locations. Me, being a city girl, I never got an opportunity to go to small towns. Through this film, I got to experience so much.
Q: To Ritu, what kind of preparation went into your role?
Ritu: Honestly, Shiva garu helped me a lot. He gave me a lot of inputs throughout the shoot. You see these people around you or in films. You pick up something and it stays in the back of your head. So, I just tried to replicate that. Most of the characters that I play are relatable. There is a little bit of me in every character I play.
Q: To Nani, we have heard you speak about the theatrical experience so passionately. How much does it mean to you?
Nani: It is one place where I want to be. Theatres are the reason why I am in cinema today. I used to live near Satyam theatre in Ameerpet in Hyderabad. Every Friday, there will be a new release. And you will see me in theatres every Friday. All the madness and craze for cinema started there. Even after I became an actor, I watch my films in theatres. I used to go five minutes late so nobody notices me. I love to see how people react. I never worry about the film’s outcome or the reviews, I just want to see a theatre houseful. It plays a big role in where I am and what I am today.
I do miss theatres. Considering the situation, it is good that Tuck Jagadish is releasing on Amazon Prime Video. Every family can now watch our family entertainer on the festival day. In so many ways, we are happy this happened. I really can’t wait for the situation to improve so we can get back to the theatres.
Q: If you can recollect the best theatre experience, what would it be?
Nani: For Jersey, I got a standing ovation. Imagine you are standing behind, but no one knows that I am there and you hear claps when the last scene rolls out. It was unreal. When Bale Bale Magadivoy was released, SS Rajamouli garu was watching in the same theatre that I had gone to. I saw people fall off their chairs laughing at the scenes. I saw the entire theatre moving like a wave.
My most favourite memory is when my second film Ride released in theatres. It’s a two-hero film. During the post-production, everyone told me that my character hasn’t come out well. I was thinking that it doesn’t matter if my character doesn’t come out well, I want the film to do well. When I went to the theatre, I told my father not to expect much. I believed that my character was terrible. We were watching the film in Sandhya theatre. When the second half of Ride started, the entire theatre erupted every time I came on screen. It was a big shocker for me as I believed that the audience won’t like me. It gave me huge confidence. I kept telling everyone that I’ll leave the industry after two films. After watching this, I thought, maybe, people like me. I thought I could take acting more seriously. That changed everything.
Ritu: It has to be the first time I watched Kannum Kannum Kollaiyadithaal in Chennai with the team. There were a lot of whistle-worthy moments in the film the twist in the interval and my last scene with Gautham Menon. I got teary by the end of the film. People were hooting and cheering for me. I’ve never experienced that for any of my films. For Pelli Choopulu, I couldn’t feel that way even though I received a lot of appreciation. It made me emotional. Thinking about the moment, I still feel emotional.
Q: Coming back to Tuck Jagadish, what would be the one takeaway from the film?
Nani: We all have our families. But, it might be a long time for people to meet their cousins or extended family. After watching the film, one may try to call or message or think about their family members. Maybe, they can plan to visit their village again. I really think the film could make people nostalgic.
Ritu: I got to work with a wonderful team. They are such genuinely good human beings. I had a wonderful time and there wasn’t a day when I went home angry or disappointed. I remember being happy all the time on the set. That is my biggest takeaway. I love working with such good people.
This content was originally published here.