Two youngsters made their debut with Neeku Naaku Dash Dash last week, both of them director Teja’s find have an endearing quality; Prince and Nanditha exude innocence, look fresh and vulnerable and come without any backing from a film family and are absolute strangers to the film industry. “Phew! It wasn’t easy getting through the talent hunt that got 70,000 applications and being filtered and everyone wanted to play the lead. The screen test too gave us tense moments, we were 7 or 8 from all over Andhra, from different districts.
I felt down at times as each of them were good-looking and were performing very well. I always hoped to be lucky. We went through a training for a month and only before a day of the shooting, they told us their choice. The filmmakers themselves couldn’t decide till the last moment as the tussle was so tight. I threw a party for my friends when I got selected,” says Prince.
Prince, a Syrian Christian from Kerala, is an engineering student and their family has been in Visakhapatnam for the past 25 years; It is just for the past six months the actor has been in Hyderabad. So has he decided to take up films as a career, what about his studies? “Who doesn’t want to be a star? I’m in the 3rd year but I guess I will have to complete it now through distance education,” quips Prince.
Nanditha is a B.Com student from St. Francis and she saw the morning show amidst all the noise her friends made. She talks excitedly, “My parents loved the film but they are shocked that I could actually act, they are used to seeing me as a calm girl. Teja groomed me entirely, and kept stressing always that I was Gayatri and not Nanditha and that I should behave like her and not like a granny. He said no make up for me as I was a village girl and looked a bit unkempt.”
Did Prince enjoy the running around in the forest in Araku? “I don’t want to do it again. I was on slippers, got cuts and cracks on my feet and it is yet to heal. The camera would be on and when I ran the slipper would come off but I had to continue; however it is a beautiful place, we shot at the waterfalls, a few places that none saw. I did miss my family, it had been 3 months since I saw my family. At Araku, mom came to see me.”
Nanditha recollects the best compliment she got was that her eyes were expressive and despite being a newcomer she did a great job. She adds, “I love dancing and I got to show my work only in the intro song. I hope to get good offers.”
With supportive parents the fledgling actors are on a high. With some more experience and effort from their side and encouragement from the industry, Telugu cinema is headed to embrace Gen Next actors with positivity.