As Nithiin gears up for the release of his new film, Extra Ordinary Man, the actor opens up about the mixed emotions that accompany him days before a big release. When asked if this Friday anxiety woos are any different compared to the 31 D-days he has seen so far, Nithiin confesses, "For every film, we have to deal with stress, no matter how confident one is. Although I'm very confident about this film, thanks to its entertainment factor, I'm a little stressed since it's always the audience who have to give the final verdict."
Addressing the rarely addressed challenge of promoting a film despite having seen it and being cognisant of the fact that it won't work at the box-office (the actor's previous film, Macharla Niyojikavargam, was one such release), Nithiin reveals, "It's a difficult process. We don't have any other option than promoting a film. But for films that we are confident in, we promote them more than the films which we know for sure aren't going to work. It's a very difficult phase, and only an actor knows that pain, as they need to smile on the outside even though it eats them up from the inside." The fact that Nithiin is giving a lot of interviews for Extra Ordinary Man is assuring.
On collaborating with Vakkantham Vamsi, Nithiin says he wasn't hesitant about working with the writer-director even though his first directorial, Naa Peru Surya (2018) was a critical and commercial failure. Eloborating on his decision, Nithiin says, "I was never hesitant to work with Vakkantham Vamsi because I know that he is a very good writer and storyteller. I love his characterisations, be it Kick (2009) or Race Gurram (2014). I didn't feel hesitant because of the result of his last film. He did come up with a good characterization and story for Extra Ordinary Man. Among the 32 films I have done so far, I can say that this is the best character I've played on screen. I don't know if I would get to play a character with these many shades anytime soon, and that is why I'm very confident about this film and Vakkantham."
Recalling the process of converting the film's idea into feature length narrative and the challenges that come along the way, Nithiin shares, "We shot this film for about 2 years and we realised that the initial story which excited us when the project began was getting sidetracked as we were trying to polish the script further. We had almost 20-25 different versions of the film written for improvement, but the soul of the original idea was gradually fading away with each iteration. So we decided to stick to the soul of the initial version while playing around with a few scenes."
While Nithiin plays a junior artist in the film, what are his experiences of interacting with junior artists like? "I don't generally sit down and interact with them that personally. But when we shoot for a very long scene and if they are next to me, we generally discuss their journey into the industry. I try to do my bit and inspire them that they will get a good role one day."
Extra Ordinary Man is being promoted as an out-and-out fun entertainer, a genre that has worked out for the actor in the past, and he says that comedy is the film's biggest USP. "The comedy and the entertainment in the film emerge naturally come from the many episodes featuring the main characters, rather than having a separate track for it. The episode with Rao Ramesh, who plays my father, which was teased in the trailer was something I was looking forward to shooting right from the day I heard the script. It is a slapstick comedy that lasts for about 4-5 minutes and would bring the roof down in the theaters. Everybody gave their best in that sequence."
One of the most interesting aspects of Nithiin's career is how he rose back to prominence after delivering 12 back-to-back flops in a span of eight years. After SS Rajamouli's Sye in 2004, the actor had to wait till 2012 to taste a success with Vikram K Kumar's Ishq. Opening up about that difficult phase, Nithiin shares, "I was really young back then and I had a lot of wild energy that kept me going. At that time, none of my attempts really worked even though I tried various genres, crazy dance moves and even flaunted an eight pack body build. I had a blind confidence that the audience accepted me since my initial movies had worked but the films I was being part of at that point weren't working."
Reflecting on the turnaround with Ishq, he goes on to share, "Before Ishq, I took a year to introspect on what was going wrong, and I decided to stay away from doing action films characters beyond my age. That's when I chose to do a cool next-gen love story. And now that I have found success in romance films like Ishq and Gunde Jaari Gallanthayyinde (2013), I don't want to try something of those sorts unless I get a better script. Until then, I would like to do more entertaining films like Bheeshma and Extra Ordinary Man."
Addressing the ongoing phase of his career, which also has been a bit rocky, with his previous three releases, Check (2021), Rang De (2021), and Macharla Niyojikavargam (2022) not working at the box-office, Nithiin acknowledges the delicate balance he needs to maintain. "I'm in a very edgy position now, because the people I know ask me to do entertainers when I try a different film like Check and when I do entertainers, they say they expect a unique concept film from me," he laughs. "For now, I'm focussing on entertainers."