Right now is the perfect time to be Naga Chaitanya. The industry is celebrating the heralding of a heir of Akkineni family and so are the audiences. After having wooed & wowed people with his wonderful performance in the movies, Chay, as he is fondly called, is having the time of his life. His polite demeanor, ready repartee, earthy humor & an easy-does-it attitude add to his enchantment. Talk to him and you realize the strength with which this young heartthrob, in spite of carrying dual filmy legacies, refuses to bow to the pressure.
How’s life treating you at the moment?
It’s been great. I’m enjoying the things that life is giving my way. And most importantly, I am doing lot of interesting work. I couldn’t be happier.
How do you look at yourself as an actor? What is the sort of image that you want to project?
As an actor, I feel I’ve a long way to go still. I do not want to restrict myself to an image. Right now, I want to do a film where I’m very energetic & the character overplays it a lot. I want people to see that I can play such roles as well.
What are the kinds of roles that you see yourself doing in the future?
I just want to do as many different & interesting projects as possible. I am open to all kinds of movies that give me opportunities to grow and prove myself as a capable actor.
What do you look for in a good script?
It all boils down to one thing – am I convinced after the narration? That’s the only thing I go by. I do not judge any script by any commercial standards – the usual 6 songs, 6 fights etc. Whatever the character, I want to be able to pull it off strongly & convince the audience.
Did the fact that you’re from a film family give you a direction early on in life?
No, not really. In fact, I didn’t know I wanted to act until I was 18. I lived in Chennai all my life where I had no connections to films at all. It’s only after coming to Hyderabad that I started hanging out around sets & watching my dad & uncle act. At this point of time, something just clicked inside me and suddenly I found myself wanting to become an actor. That’s when I went to acting school to check out if this wasn’t just a phase & that this was really what I was meant for in life.
How does it feel to be carrying on the Akkineni legacy on one side & the Daggubati legacy on the other?
Obviously, there’s a lot of pressure. Both are among the most known families in the film fraternity. But it is a blessing. I’m sure thousands of people wish to be in my place & be given the opportunities I’ve been given, & wish for the platform that I was launched from. I am thankful for all that I have. I just want to make the most of it and make my family proud. I can’t ask for anything more.
When will you share screen space with your father?
I would love to, whenever the right script comes through. We have been getting some offers. Hopefully something should click soon. There’s going to be a lot of expectations because people are going to demand a lot & we have to live up to them. It is going to be really exciting.
Tell us something about your childhood…
I had a very normal upbringing. I was born & brought up in Chennai. I came to Hyderabad for college. I was this very normal kid who cycled to school. I loved motorbikes & cars. School life was very peaceful. But I admit that I was a very poor student. I wanted to do engineering after school, but I couldn’t get admitted anywhere since I always flunked in Math.
What’s the best thing about being in the film world?
I love my work. I just love what I do. You get to meet so many talented people. You’re doing something new & exciting every day. It’s like you have to work out of a new office every day. Surrounded by so much creativity & opportunity, it takes you onto a whole new plane. You feel like the world is your oyster & that you can accomplish anything. It’s really exciting!
And the worst?
Well, sometimes the hours are long & you are under a lot of pressure to perform. So much is at stake so you really need to be professional & careful. I’m not complaining but sometimes the pressure can get to you, I guess.
What about fame?
My life hasn’t changed one bit. I still hang out with the same friends & lead the same lifestyle. I’m really grounded that way.
People are so judgmental about star sons. What goes through your mind when you read stuff?
Being a star son is probably both a boon & a bane. You have more opportunities & at the same time you are under more pressure to perform since you have a certain pedigree thus you have expectations to live up to. If people think we have it made, then I’m sorry, they are wrong.
Is there any competition with Rana & Sushant?
It’s all in the family. We have a healthy competition amongst us.
What do you do in your spare time?
I watch every movie that comes out. I love gymming & eating out. I have to eat out at least 1 meal a day.
You are a fitness freak. Take us through your fitness schedule.
I work out not because my profession demands it but it is something I purely enjoy doing. I feel very guilty if I don’t work out 5 times a week. I love being fit. It makes me confident to take on everything.
You are an auto-enthusiast as well. You love bikes. How did that passion come to be?
Growing up in Chennai, I used to be at a motor race track every Sunday where we used to have lots of races. I really felt one with that culture since I was a kid. It turned in to a passion soon.
I love speed albeit in a very safe way.
Favorite Movie – Inception
Favorite Nagarjuna Movie – Shiva
Favorite Venkatesh Movie – Kshana Kshanam
Favorite Hero: Al Pacino
Favorite Heroine: Jessica Alba
Favorite Food: Any Healthy food
Favorite Location Spot: Any place with a beach
Favorite Band: DJ Tiesto
First Crush: 8th Standard
First Kiss: 12th Standard