Dhootha actor Naga Chaitanya opened up about his OTT debut, reunion with director Vikram Kumar, a possible second season and more in an interview with OTTplay
Naga Chaitanya is currently on a high with the great feedback received by his debut OTT series, Dhootha. The popular actor successfully shed his boy-next-door image to play the role of journalist Sagar Varma Avuduri, in the Vikram Kumar-directorial. The supernatural suspense thriller series has equally impressed both the audiences and critics, and has been considered one of the best series to hit the OTT space from South entertainment industry, in 2023.
In an Exclusive interview with OTT Play, Dhootha actor Naga Chaitanya extensively spoke about the supernatural thriller series, working with Vikram Kumar and the team, and much more. Read excerpts from the chat, here...
Dhootha marked your OTT debut, as well as your third collaboration with director Vikram Kumar. How was it to reunite with him for an entirely new space?
Vikram Kumar and I – we are more friends, than the actor-director. I’m always excited to work with Vikram, because I really love his aesthetics. I really love the way he writes characters. More than anything, I love him in the supernatural space. Because all his successful films – be it 13 B, Manam, or 24, they have always had some kind of supernatural layer to it, which sort of immerse the audience very well. And that what made those films special.
So, when he came to me with Dhootha – something in the supernatural space, I was very excited. Collaborating with him is always a pleasure. I think he is someone who understands me very well, and I understand him very well. So, the work experience also becomes way easier.
Your role in Dhootha has grey-shades. How challenging was it, to pull of such a complex character?
It was very challening. And it was a very conscious challenge I took up. While listening to the script, when I got to understand Sagar’s character, the kind of layers he had in it. Initially it was scary, and I was like ‘How am I gonna pull this off’. But I very consciously took up the challenge because I felt it was about time, I come out of my comfort zone and try something I have not tried at all before, and showcase myself to the audience in a new light and push myself.
So, it was a challenge and I now very happily say that it paid off. Now getting a lot of feedback, and a lot of critical appreciation for the screenplay, for my character or the performance, and just for the world of Dhootha itself.
The audience are already coming up with a lot of conspiracy theories on Dhootha and its second season, on social media. Can we expect the Season 2 soon?
I’ve no idea about it as yet. I’m still sort of blinded as you guys are. Vikram has got a few ideas, but he hasn’t pitched anything to me or the producer yet. So, we are still waiting. I think we are all still enjoying the success and still can’t get enough of reading all the great feedback. But yeah, as soon as we hear something about Dhootha 2, we’ll definitely announce.
Dhootha has a stellar star cast including leading ladies Parvathy Thiruvothu, Prachi Desai, Priya Bhavani Shankar, and many others. How was the experience of working with such a talented bunch of actors?
It was great. I always say that my performance heavily sort of depends on my co-actors and my director. And in this case, having such a strong cast like Parvathy, Prachi Desai, Priya, Ravindra and others – It’s the energy that they give you when you are in front of the camera. That energy translates into complimenting your performance. So, I was very fortunate to have these actors with me, and their support in playing this challenging character.
You shared the screen with Parvathy Thiruvothu in Dhootha. Your brother Akhil acted with Mammootty in Agent. Can we expect more collaborations between you and the talents of Malayalam film industry in future?
It is a time where language is not a barrier anymore. There are so much cross collaborations happening. So, of course. In Malayalam cinema, the actors over there are people I always look up to. I really love their craft. So, if there is an opportunity and I fit the character, I would love to keep with talents from Malayalam cinema.
Are you now open to do more work on OTT space, after Dhootha?
Absolutely. It is a journey I want to keep going. Dhootha being successful has only encouraged me way more. So, I’m constantly looking out for work in the OTT space. And I definitely want to balance out my career in both – theatres and the OTT space. Because I think both co-exist beautifully. The audience respect both the mediums. They are very clear of what kind of cinema they want to go to the theatre and watch, and what they wanna watch at home. And as an actor, I crave for maximum exposure. So, I definitely want to be in both spaces.
Apart from Dhootha, which is your favorite show or film from the OTT space in 2023?
This year, I saw Farzi and Jubilee, and loved both the shows.