Megastar Chiranjeevi has faced the arc lights after a long hiatus of nine years in Telugu action-drama "Khaidi No 150". Instead of being nervous about his comeback, he says he is curious to know how audiences would receive him.
The film, a remake of Tamil blockbuster "Kaththi", releases worldwide on Wednesday.
Talking about the V.V Vinayak-directed film, Chiranjeevi told IANS: "I don't think I'm nervous but curious to know how I would look onscreen after so many years and how I will be received by my fans."
Asked how he motivated himself to don the greasepaint once again, he said: "I always had the zeal to come back to acting, but I never imagined the kind of support I will get - both from within the family and from well-wishers outside. It was very encouraging."
Even at 61, Chiranjeevi's age hasn't quite caught up with him. The "Indra" actor can still give his contemporaries a run for their money.
He says all credit goes to his son Ram Charan, who is also the producer of "Khaidi No 150".
"The minute we locked the script, it was my son who took it up as a challenge to transform me physically. From monitoring my diet and working out alongside me in the gym, he cared more than a son would normally for his father," he said.
In the film, Chiranjeevi plays dual roles and the story revolves around the plight of farmers against urbanization.
"The film would change the perception urban people have about farmers. Some portions of the film would serve as an eye-opener for a lot of us. To keep everything realistic, we have quoted real numbers of farmer's death due to corporate encroachments," he said, reminding that nothing has been done intentionally to earn political mileage for his career.
Would he still continue doing formula films where he has to romance heroine half his age or even younger?
"I don't mind shying away from formula films and playing my age. I like what Venkatesh is doing with 'Guru', where he's playing his age. If I get a similarly interesting opportunity, I don't think I would stop myself from accepting the offer," he said.
Asked if he would like to do what Aamir Khan is doing with his career, Chiranjeevi has qualms to admit he is not as talented as the former.
"As an actor, I have certain limitations and I can only improvise within them. Aamir is highly talented and he can convince you with any role essays. Take a look at what he achieved in 'PK'. I don't think anyone else could have played that role," he added.
Gearing up to host a new season of Meelo Evaru Koteeswarudu, Chiranjeevi says he will have another film release this year.
"There is a project in discussion with Paruchuri brothers. It should happen this year. My 152nd film will be with director Boyapati Srinu, and it will be produced by Geetha Arts," he said, confirming that cinema has taken precedence in his career for now.
Quiz him about his political ambition, he said: "Since there's no clear agenda in politics, my focus for the next few years will be on films."
(Haricharan Pudipeddi can be contacted at email@example.com)