Jagapathi Babu is an actor who redefined the terms talent and versatility in Telugu Cinema. He is perhaps the only hero who made contrasting roles such as Action Thrillers along with Family Drama competently at the same time. His journey as a film hero in a span of 25 years is commendable and it is even more interesting to see him choose character oriented roles instead of hero subjects from now on. The talented actor is celebrating his birthday today and here is an iQlik exclusive chit chat with the actor:
Hello Jagapathi Babu garu... Many happy returns of the day!
[Smiles] Thanks a lot.
You had a successful career as hero for an unprecedented span of 25 years. Why the sudden shift to character roles?
It is definitely not a sudden change. Well, frankly I realized that my market as a hero has been declining since three years and this is quite natural to anyone. I am not worried. That is why I decided to change the gear and the shift idea sprouted up then. “Legend” opportunity came in at the right moment and I am quite happy that the shift happened for much good.
At a moment, you were criticized for acting in films for number and money. Your comment…
Yes…there was a time till a year back when I did films just for money. Well, Money is a priority to me, but it is not the only priority.
How do you look back about your film journey of 25years?
[Smiles] I’ve seen lot of ups and downs during my career. Anybody would have either a steep growth or a downfall or even a gap. But I’m really glad that I got repeated chances to bounce back for which I think I’m highly privileged. According to me, everything is an experience. I came to the industry to be a hero in just one film but I could pull off for a span of 25 years. Stardom and Fandom are anyone’s dream. I am happy to have lived that dream for the past 25 years.
There have been rumors that you have financial setbacks. Your comment on it?
Yes, I did have financial setbacks. But I have enough to support my family. However, I would want to earn more from now on.
Is the financial setback due to wrong investments?
Yeah. I did make some wrong investments. You see I am passionate about films. Many people took advantage of this and exploited me. I was cheated. They showed losses despite getting profits. When they got profits they didn’t share with me. Lot of such things happened. Whatever it is, it is a part of my life and I have successfully moved on.
Who are your best friends in the industry?
I have very few friends in the industry and Arjun is the only one here. But I get along well with most of the industry personalities.
How much do you involve in the directional department of your films?
I don’t usually involve much in it. If I trust a person I work almost blindly on that project. There have been instances where I’ve been told one storyline, but the actual film had something totally different. Chilakkottudu is one such film. If I don’t involve in the story out and out, there wouldn’t be any artist as bad as me. If the trust in story doesn’t exist, that is when new suggestions come in place. But I am not like that- I blindly go with my director’s thought and vision.
You have been linked up with most of your female co-stars. Your take on it?
I love women. It is quite common to hear such stuff in film industry. I do get along well with women in general and my co-stars as well. But unfortunately, that intimacy was always misunderstood and misinterpreted. I don’t bother much about such baseless rumors.
You were linked up with Priyamani in particular and it is said that you recommended her for some of your films?
Priyamani is a good friend of mine. As I already said, I love interacting with women. She is a great artist and we both did some very good subjects. And there is absolutely no need to recommend a national award winner like her in particular.
It is said that you are charging high for the negative shaded roles off late. How true is it?
[Laughs] Nothing of that sort. As I have told you earlier, I am passionate about films. I look for my character and the comfort zone in the project. That is what matters most to me than just remuneration.
Will you continue playing Hero characters in future?
I will but not the routine hero characters going around the heroine, dances and fights. If the role is different and challenging, I will definitely do.
Legend, Pilla Nuvvu Leni Jeevitham and Raa Raa Krishnayya are getting ready. Rest of them are under discussions.
Share one lesser known fact about Jagapathi Babu…
Hmmm… [Thinking] I know Palmistry which I gave up some time back.
Okay…wish you all the best for the changeover and once again we wish you a very happy birthday!
Thanks a lot. [Smiles]