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Naga Shaurya: I don’t consider myself romantic

Naga Shaurya in ‘Varudu Kaavalenu’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

A girl who is pushing 30 and perceived to be headstrong, is under pressure from family to get married. She detests conventional matchmaking and crosses paths with an NRI who thinks likewise. When actor Naga Shaurya heard the story of Varudu Kaavalenu narrated by director Lakshmi Sowjanya, he was reminded of conversations in his friends’ circles. The actor describes Varudu Kaavalenu, which releases in theatres on October 30, as a romantic comedy that is reminiscent of real life happenings.

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In his decade-long career, Shaurya has been a part of a handful of romance dramas, notable among them being Oohalu Gusagusalade, Kalyana Vaibhogame and Jyo Achyutananda. “I had made a conscious decision to move away from love stories and my chocolate boy image with Aswasthama (2020), but when Lakshmi narrated this story, it felt real. Men and women nearing 30 come under pressure to get married. The chatter around them doesn’t stop until they get married. Such a story has the potential to appeal to every family,” says Shaurya.

Life choices

Naga Shaurya in ‘Varudu Kaavalenu’

Naga Shaurya in ‘Varudu Kaavalenu’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

He plays an NRI architect who visits India and meets the family of the girl (Ritu Varma). Shaurya is in appreciation of how the parents’ characters have been written, particularly of the father played by Murali Sharma: “My favourite scene is how the father reacts to the girl’s choices, with an understanding that she should be happy with it in the long run. It would be lovely if every woman had such an understanding parent.”

Lakshmi had instructed Shaurya to be himself for Varudu...: “I think for about 60% of my character, I just had to be myself.”

Shaurya admits that writers and directors often approach him with urban rom-coms and shrugs, “I don’t consider myself romantic. But when I get these stories, I decide depending on whether a story entertains me. It has to either make me laugh, cry or empathise with the lead characters. If I am not entertained or convinced, there is no way I can make the viewers relate to it.”

Shaurya had beefed up for Aswathama but shed 16 kilograms to turn lean and fit for Varudu Kaavalenu: “I wanted to look like a young groom, not a bodybuilder. When I tuck in my shirts and tees, I didn’t want to look bulky.”

Fitness overload

The process would have been simple but for the sports drama Lakshya, directed by Santhossh Jagarlapudi, he was working on simultaneously. “Lakshya is the first Indian film on archery, to my knowledge. I have four different looks in the film and during the four-month lockdown in 2020, I hit the gym regularly,” says Shaurya.

Naga Shaurya in ‘Lakshya’

Naga Shaurya in ‘Lakshya’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

He had worked out on and off for Aswathama, but wanted to look agile and muscular with eight-pack abs for Lakshya: “I got addicted to working out. If I don’t spend two to three hours in the gym, I would feel miserable. The lockdown kept getting extended and whenever it ended, I wanted to look different,” he laughs.

The transformation warranted a change in lifestyle. Shaurya would wake up at 4.30 a.m., stick to his workouts that were tailored to include strength, conditioning and cardio, and his diet included home-cooked proteins and vegetables, and he would hit the bed by 9 p.m: “I enjoyed the disciplined lifestyle.”

Ritu Varma and Naga Shaurya in ‘Varudu Kaavalenu’

Ritu Varma and Naga Shaurya in ‘Varudu Kaavalenu’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Learning archery, says Shaurya, was not challenging. He had been a state-level cricket player and a national-level basketball player in his younger days: “I have the knack of picking up the basics of any new sport within a few days. The hand-eye coordination comes to me naturally.”

Growing up, he wanted to be a cricketer like Sachin Tendulkar. Destiny had different plans: “Career goals kept changing and finally I became an actor.”

Though Shaurya gets chatty, he won’t reveal more about Lakshya, which is scheduled to release in theatres on November 12.

Before signing off, he reverts to talk about Varudu Kaavalenu and says wistfully, “I would love to be a part of a film like A Star is Born if it were to be made in Telugu.”


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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 10:23:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/naga-shaurya-on-rom-com-varudu-kaavalenu-and-the-sports-drama-lakshya/article37159735.ece

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