'Gayam -2' the sequel to the movie that made Jagapathi Rao a star hits theatres today.

It was an extraordinary performance, one that oozed machismo in a way that took the industry and later the movie goers by surprise. Jagapathi Babu dominated the screen despite a sterling performance by the antagonist Kota Srinivasa Rao in Ram Gopal Varma's Gayam (1993). Interestingly that was the first film in which one heard Jagapathi Babu's now famous bass voice. Till then filmmakers were apprehensive of using his voice and went for dubbing artistes. Gayam made Jagapathi and his voice popular among all class of audiences and from then on there was no looking back for this natural performer who leaves no trace of melodrama in his acting style. Though he had several hits to his credit, his first big hit, Gayam remained close to his heart. He waited for the right script to pop up for its sequel. “Over the years, many writers came up with scripts for the sequel but I was not convinced. Finally Praveen Sri came up with one that I felt would make a proper sequel. It needs a heavy budget. We took the script to a few producers but nothing happened. Then I met Dharma Kartha who has agreed to produce the film. That's how Gayam-2 was born,” said the actor in a telephonic conversation.

What was Ram Gopal Varma's reaction? “When director Praveen Sri and writer Rajendra narrated the story Ramu liked it instantly and said that it would become a good film. I told him that we will make a better version. It is a healthy challenge. After watching the double positive, he said it is indeed a better version. And maestro Ilayaraja had said that after Siva it is Gayam-2.” guffaws Jagapthi Babu.

How was it re-enacting after seventeen years, a role that won him accolades? “It is my dream role. The fire of Durga is still in me. It never went off. It was pent up somewhere inside and now found an avenue to vent. Gayam and the heroic character Durga Prasad gave birth to me as a hero. I am confident that Gayam-2 will give me rebirth as a hero.” In recent times, his films might have flopped, but he never failed as an actor.

A peep into the story line takes us to a now sober Durga Prasad (Jagapathi Babu) who decides to leave the country and his past and settle down in Bangkok. He lives there with a child and meets his lady love (Vimala Raman). But his adversaries back home Guru Narayan (Kota Srinivasa Rao) and his son (Kota Prasad) did not allow him to have that quiet life. Durga returns to Hyderabad and the action begins.

Interestingly Gayam-2 is not only the highest budgeted movie in Jagapathi Babu's career but also his biggest release. “I would say that at least from now people will know that names do not matter as long as the content and its making were good. What is important is how good the film is no matter who the lead actor was. Overseas rights of Gayam-2 were acquired by top buyers for a very good sum. For the first time in my career, my film is releasing in so many theatres in the State and abroad. In Hyderabad city alone it will be screened in 43 theatres,” said a jubilant Jagapathi Babu signing off the conversation. Gayam-2 is releasing today.