“To say that a legend has gone would be an understatement . Superstar Krishna—that’s what we all call him and he is known by his fans by that epithet—was a hero and a role-model to all of us,” says the iconic Nagarjuna emotionally.
Nag had met the Superstar a few months back. “After his wife, Mahesh Babu’s mother Indira Devi’s death in September, I visited him spent time with him. Krishna Garu(Sir) was completely broken after the death of his son Ramesh Babu and first wife Indira Devi. His second wife Vijaya Nirmala was also gone. I think Krishna Garu had lost the will to live. He was lonely.”
Nag remembers Krishna as a pioneer of Telugu cinema. “He was responsible for many firsts in Indian cinema. He brought the 70 mm screen format and the Cinemascope format to Telugu cinema. He introduced the spy and the detective genre into Telugu cinema. He had seen the transition of Indian cinema from the black-and-white to 35mm Eastman colour , from mono sound to stereo …he witnessed it all. And he was instrumental in introducing many innovations into Telugu cinema.”
Nag recalls Krishna as an erudite cineaste, “From boxoffice collections to technical advancement , Krishna Garu was well-informed about all the developments in cinema. I could spend hours with him. And I did.Every few months I would visit him. H e had so much knowledge to share about cinema and so much gossip about the Telugu film industry. Sorry, I can’t share that gossip with you.But his knowledge of the goings-on were shockers. Trust me, spending time with Krishna Garu was a treat.”
Nag and Krishna also did a film together. “That’s right.We did a film Varasudu in 1993 together. It was a remake of that Hindi film Phool Aur Kaante. He played Amrish Puri’s son and I played Ajay Devgn’s role. I was supposed to hate him in Varasudu. That was really tough. Krishna Garu was such a warm generous and considerate man. The smile never left his face. I am glad he didn’t have to suffer much before going.”
Nag’s heart reaches out Mahesh Babu. “This is Mahesh’s third loss in a row and perhaps the biggest blow. He earlier lost his brother and mother this year. Mahesh is very family-oriented. He doesn’t socialize. To him his family is everything.I can’t begin to think how much he must be suffering.”
Nag says he has always had a soft corner for Mahesh Babu. “Athough I am much older.We are very similar in background. Our fathers were both reputed actors. Both Mahesh and I had to struggle hard to establish our own identity.I found my own style of acting, just like Mahesh found his own. Now my son Nag Chaitanya is doing his own thing. I’ve tried to persuade him to be louder on screen . He refuses. Mahesh has always said he has followed my path. I also lost my father some years ago. The way to comfort yourself is to believe he is in a better place. Although my father was much older than Mahesh Babu’s father they were friends. I am sure they’re bonding up there now.”