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Naga Chaitanya on Laal Singh Chaddha: 'I am a little insecure about my Hindi-speaking abilities'

Here's why Naga Chaitanya didn’t do Hindi films until the release of Aamir Khan's Laal Singh Chaddha. 

Naga Chaitanya on Laal Singh Chaddha: 'I am a little insecure about my Hindi-speaking abilities'
Naga Chaitanya/Twitter
  • Team OTTplay

Last Updated: 07.48 AM, Aug 12, 2022

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Naga Chaitanya, who was seen last in Thank You, has entered the Hindi film industry with Aamir Khan's Laal Singh Chaddha, which hit the screens on August 11. Much like his father Nagarjuna, Chaitanya wants to use the Hindi film space to take risks with characters that he believes would ‘backfire’ if attempted in Telugu cinema.

The Manam actor speaks about his father's entry into the Hindi market, and how the process was organic. “I remember him telling me that he never really planned it. His heart was always with Telugu films. However, in the Telugu industry, we have a sort of image or there is a basic expectation from us. When we do Hindi films, the audience here is neutral, so there is potential.”

Nagarjuna gave his son the same piece of advice: “Go do the characters you've always wanted to play as an actor. It does not have to be the main one. Use that as an opportunity to explore yourself more, as long as your character has an essence throughout the film and you take a step forward in some way.”

Chaitanya is proud of his family's legacy, which includes some of Telugu cinema's biggest names, including Akkineni Nageswara Rao, Daggubati Ramanaidu, Venkatesh, and Rana Daggubati.

“I'm quite fortunate to have that legacy. It comes with a lot of responsibility as well as a lot of advantages, which I'm very conscious of when I do a film in the south.” However, Chaitanya expressed a desire to be able to present himself in a completely new "texture" without any expectations.

On making his Hindi debut with the Aamir Khan-starrer, the Telugu actor said, “Much of what I did in Laal Singh... in Hindi is not possible in a Telugu film. I'm not sure how it will be received. It could backfire. It's almost like an alter ego in the Hindi market. I feel like I'm still not well-known to everyone, and I'd like to take advantage of that!”

Naga Chaitanya with Aamir Khan
Naga Chaitanya with Aamir Khan

Chaitanya plays Army personnel Balaraju, a Telugu-speaking man from Andhra Pradesh; the lead character Laal's closest friend. The decision seemed a natural progression for him.

“I've been trying to establish myself in the south all this time. But I was determined to break into the Hindi market. However, my Hindi isn't great, and I was nervous and a little insecure. I was cast in Laal Singh... to play a Telugu boy. They desired that my essence, language, style, and diction be slightly south Indian. So I believe this transition was ideal for giving me the confidence to say, 'I'd fit in a Hindi film',” he stated.

Directed by Advait Chandan, Laal Singh Chaddha was adapted by actor Atul Kulkarni, with whom the Telugu star had collaborated on his film, Majili.

Naga Chaitanya and Aamir Khan
Naga Chaitanya and Aamir Khan

Working on the project with Aamir, who Naga Chaitanya considers an inspiration, was nothing short of a masterclass. “When I found out that Aamir sir was involved, I knew I had to do the film regardless of the character because I just wanted to be next to him and learn his process as an actor. I grew up admiring his work. His work has greatly influenced me. Working with that person instils you with great confidence!”

Naga Chaitanya
Naga Chaitanya

The audience's reaction to Chaitanya's performance as Balaraju will determine his future in Hindi cinema. “I'm excited to see how the Hindi-speaking audience reacts to me. I enjoy how the language explores various topics. The entire canvas is larger and more diverse. If Laal Singh Chaddha is well received after its release, I would like to do more Hindi films!”

Laal Singh Chaddha, an Aamir Khan Productions production, also stars Kareena Kapoor Khan and Mona Singh in pivotal roles.

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