ng a producer’s son did not make his entry into films a cake walk. Instead he had to struggle as hard as an outsider before people recognized his acting talents. From an underrated newcomer to one of the most popular family heroes, Jagapathi Babu has come a long way into proving his versatility as an actor. After a brief lull in his career graph the suave actor has bounced back with three straight hits, Samanyudu, Pellaina Kothalo and Lakshyam. Now Jagapthi Babu is so confidant about his ready for release Swagatham, directed by Dasarath, that he himself is releasing the film in the USA. In an interview with Ragalahari Jagapathi Babu speaks about his career so far and his career hence forth.
Q: What is Swagatham all about?
A: The strong point of Swagatham is its screenplay. My role is that of a very fickle and money minded businessman. Anushka is portraying the role of an NRI Telugu girl who is into event management and Bhoomika Chawla is playing the role of a wedding planner. Both theses actresses are also the strong points of the film. Especially since both of them have delivered recent hits like Anasuya and Don.
Swagatham belongs to the same genre as my earlier films like Mavichiguru and Dasarath’s Santhosham. The film has a lot of unexpected twists and situations.
Q: How did you come across this subject?
A: Actually Dasarath had come to me to narrate another story in the manner of a screen writer and I asked him if he had any subjects like his film Santhosham. That was when he narrated the story of Swagatham and I just loved what I heard.
Q: And that is why you also produced the film and are releasing it in the US yourself?
A: No. My becoming a producer for this film was just by chance and not by design. The person who was actually supposed to produce Swagatham backed out for some reason. So I paid them whatever was required and continued with the production. I am the film’s unofficial producer that’s all.
And I am releasing the film myself in the US through CA Cinema distributors. I am confidant that the film will appeal to the sensibilities of the NRIs there, besides most of the film was shot extensively in the US.
Q: This is your first two heroine project after a long gap. Why so?
A: Earlier S.V.Krishna Reddy and E.V.V. had offered me very good two heroine projects but after that the other two heroine projects that I was offered were not very satisfactory. So I did not opt for them.
Q: You have done quite a few multi starrer films unlike other actors of your league. Did you not get an opposition from your fans for doing multi starrers?
A: I do multi starrers because these films allow for a greater variety of characterization than do solo films. And I have no regrets either because except for Raavoyi Chandamama my other multi starrers like Anthapuram, Anukokunda Oka Roju and recently Lakshyam were hits.
Yes, my fans initially did not like me doing multi starrers. In fact at the time that was doing Anthapuram a couple of my fans even threatened to commit suicide if I did so. But after watching the film they were happy and appreciated my work.
Q: One of your most memorable films to date is Gayam. Will there not be another Gayam?
A: Films like Gayam can happen only once. Ramu was the first person I had approached for advice before I took up acting as a career. We were friends even before he made Shiva. After Shiva, Ramu often teased me that I never ask him for roles in his films and I would just reply that I did not need favors and that he should offer me a role only if he thought I was good enough to do it. After some time he offered me Gayam. Ramu told me that he liked my performance in Peddarikkam and that was why he approached me for Gayam. He even encouraged me to dub my own voice.
Q: Your voice was very much criticized in the early part of your career. How did you work on it?
A: I worked on my voice modulation. I realized how bad my dialogue delivery was during my first film. Though I had a good voice I could not modulate it well. So when I was doing Gayam I straightened my modulation and worked on it. It worked out well in the end.
Q: You have also maintained your slim physique well. Any secret behind it?
A: No. I actually do not follow any diet or workout schedules.
Q: Being a producer’s son you have not produced any films so far. Any particular reason for that?
A: I am a very bad businessman just like my father. My father had produced my films initially and lost a lot of money.
Q: Which are five of your own favorite films?
A: Peddarikkam, because that was my first commercially successful film. Gayam was a mile stone in my career. My ninth film Jagannatakam, because that was the first film where I was appreciated for my acting. Then Subhalagnam, it made me a specialist in multi heroine films. And Subhakankshalu. It was a very well made movie.
I have other favorites also but these films are very close to my heart as they were released in the beginning of my career.
Q: What is the secret behind your recent spin of success?
A: Time. I believe in the right time. It has arrived now. I had bad times and now my good time has started. I am at the peak of my career. I don’t use any strategies or planning. I simply follow my heart while choosing roles.
When Chandra Sekhar Yeleti approached me with a story I asked him to narrate Annukokunda Oka Roju, which was what he was working on at that time. I heard the story and wanted to do the role of the cop. I have started to choose to work with new and upcoming directors as they are full of zeal and passion for their work.
Q: Is it true that you agreed to work in Nagaram without even listening to the story?
A: Yes. Srimitra Choudary is a friend and my neighbor. He never said no to me when ever I asked a favor of him. And now it was my turn to return his favors. More over I like working in Nagaram and am happy with what I have done.
Q: What are your other future releases?
A: Swagatham will be releasing on the 25th of this month. Then there is my guest role in Srikanth’s Nagaram. My other two films, Homam in the direction of J.D.Chakravarthy and another film costarring Tarun will be released in April this year. And another film, being produced by Dasari and directed by Jonnalagadda Srinivas had started on 18th of this month.