I whouldn’t mind being no. 1: NTR Jr

It’s not everyday that you get to see the reclusive superstar NTR Junior in action. Literally. NTR who’s just recovered from a bad back was kicking some serious butt on location of his new film being shot in the old city. After a prolonged action sequence, as the young actor settled down for a long overdue chat, he seemed in good humour.
Probably some of that can be ascribed to the great opening of his new film which is currently playing in the theatres. For someone whose films have had a poor run at the BO whenever they’ve released during Sankranti, this film is breaking a festival jinx for him. “I’ve never believed in the superstition myself. I think those films were bad and that’s why they flopped. I’ll make no excuses for films that haven’t worked,” he says.
The outspoken 26-year-old star says his film shouldn’t even be compared to the previous big money-spinner Maghadeera. “Despite overwhelming response across the globe, it’s too early to predict if my film will become the highest grosser. In addition our film also had competition from a couple of other releases,” he reasons. A contender for the top slot, does he believe in the number game? “Not at all. Acting is my passion. While I am not desperate to become the No.1 in T-town, if I actually became one, I wouldn’t mind it either. Who would? Being the first among equals always gives you a high,” he says.
Quiz him about why he’s so publicity shy and the actor confesses that he’s wary of talking to the “media” and can’t pretend “to be good to strangers just to promote my work. If I don’t like someone I can’t pretend otherwise. So, it’s best to let my work do all the talking instead.”
For someone who was bed-ridden for four months due to a bad back injury, he confesses that he had to get back to work because he was “worried about the growing number of well-wishers who felt I’d never be able to dance in my life. I know they were genuinely concerned about my health, but I took it up as a challenge and got back in action. I’d call it a rebirth of sorts for me,” he says misty-eyed. The reignman who “touched the peaks and lows at a very young age” insists that he’s “worked on my drawbacks and fine-tuned my strengths to emerge as a good human being,” he says.
Coming up next are Brindavanam and Shakti. “The former is a wholesome family entertainer and the latter is a unique concept,” he informs. And much like a lot of his contemporaries, the young actor now intends to do a couple of films a year. “My grandad used to do 15 films in a year, I can never be like that. We need to cater to the changing tastes of the discerning Gen Z audience,” he points out. Is that also because there aren’t too many larger-than-life roles being written in the Telugu filmdom? “Well, there are a lot of scripts, some of which are very good. But filmmakers are reluctant to take risks. After my blockbuster Simhadri, I was apprehensive about doing larger-than-life roles too, but I began to enjoy doing them after a while,” he says with a chuckle.
Beyond the arc lights, NTR isn’t really the partying type. “I dislike pubbing and prefer a quiet evening with my friends at some place that’s not teeming with people. For me, my home is my retreat. I like nothing better than listening to music — it can be a great stress-buster,” he says.
And marriage and romance will have to wait. “There’s no time for either. I am too busy with my first love —acting — for now,” he says as if on cue. (TNN)

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