By Haricharan Pudipeddi
Actor Sai Dharam Tej, nephew of megastar Chiranjeevi and cousin of Ram Charan and Allu Arjun, says he's not consciously trying to blend in to the mega family as he's more focused on making his mark on his own.
"It's important for me to make my own mark. Therefore, I'm not consciously taking efforts to blend in to the mega family. I admit I get more offers because I come from this family, but eventually the audience will judge me based on my work," he says.
"Just because I come from some popular family, audiences are not going to shower love when I do a bad film. Your work proves who you are and your worth in the industry. It's applicable to anybody who comes from a reputed family in any profession," he said.
Known for films such as "Rey" and "Pilla Nuvvu Leni Jeevitam", Sai currently awaits the release of forthcoming Telugu entertainer "Subramanyam for Sale".
Calling the film a commercial potboiler, Sai said it will appeal to family audiences as well.
"It relates to the lifestyle of people who study engineering in India and go to the US to work. It's about their lives and how they survive. The film is also laced with family sentiments, comedy, romance and drama," he said.
Sai gives prime importance to the script before choosing any project.
"The script attracted me to this project. If the story is good, I believe everything else automatically falls in place," said Sai, who feels lucky to have worked with director Harish Shankar.
"To even consider working with a newcomer after delivering a blockbuster like 'Gabbar Singh' means a lot to me. It's not every day you get to work with a director who feels responsible for your growth and career," he said.
Sai believes Harish works with a "never settle" attitude.
"If I'm to deliver 60 percent of what he expects from his actors, I feel that's more than enough. But Harish ensured that I gave my hundred percent for every shot. He never compromises. He would push me to do much better," he said.
"He feels there's always room to do more when we've settled with something. Since I come from the mega family, he felt more responsible and badly wanted me to prove myself as an actor," he added.
This is the second time Sai has paired with Regina Cassandra, whom he calls a very co-operative co-star.
"I get uneasy with intimate scenes and this usually affects the chemistry with my co-star on screen. Regina understood this very well and helped me overcome my uneasiness. We'd sit and discuss how we could do these scenes without being uncomfortable," he revealed, and said he also improved a lot on his comic timing.
Nearly half of "Subramanyam for Sale" was shot in the US, and for Sai, it was going back home after a break.
"We shot 'Rey' for 76 days here and I fell in love with this place, so revisiting it was so much fun," said Sai.
Produced by Dil Raju, "Subramanyam for Sale" will hit the screens worldwide September 24. Watch the film's trailer.