I do my work without bothering about box office

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Telugu superstar Jagapathi Babu feels his days of rejection, losing stardom and facing bankruptcy bring a commonality between his career graph and megastar Amitabh Bachchan’s journey in showbiz.

The actor says there was a time when he — just like the people around him — thought that his career is over. But he bounced back into the scene with the success of the 2014 film “Legend”.

He says he takes “life a little easier than before”.

“I do my work without bothering about the openings and the collections. I would say I’m a much happier person than what I was,” Jagapathi told in an email interview from Hyderabad, as he looked back at his career and delved on his second innings.

“I have gone through a lot of ups and downs and I’m proud of it. I feel all these are necessary in life, and the way to deal with it and to get back to yourself is the way to go. After my fade out as a hero, and a lead actor, I lost hope until about six months ago,” he added.

Jagapathi kept wondering whether he will ever “get a job in any movie, serials or series”.

“Then ‘Legend’ happened and I started getting work again. A lot of people said that my career has come to an end and even I thought the same. But I fought my way through and I’m here,” added the actor, who is seen in Amazon Prime Video’s first Telugu regional prime exclusive series “GangStars”.

Entering filmdom in 1974 with “Manchi Manushulu”, Jagapathi has featured in hits like “Peddarikam”,”Gaayam”, “Subha Lagnam”, “Maavichiguru”, “Subhakankshalu”, “Pelli Pandiri”, “Manoharam”, “Kabaddi Kabaddi”, “Athade Oka Sainyam”, “Pedababu”, “Anukokunda Oka Roju” and “Rangasthalam”.

He was fading away from being a hero, and started a second chapter of his career as a villain and it worked for him. He essayed negative roles in “Legend” and “Lingaa”.

“I always say troubles are part and parcel of life… Now I enjoy working especially after ‘Legend’ because I have realised that troubles will come and go.

“Now I take life a little easier than before, I do my work without bothering about the openings and the collections. I would say I’m a much happier person than what I was.”

Drawing parallels with Big B, he said: “Recently, I was working with Big B sir and we had a discussion on this matter. I told him that we have something in common, my voice was rejected, your voice was rejected, I was rejected as an actor, you were also rejected as an actor, we both made a name in the film world and then lost everything to an extent where we both became bankrupt.

“You came back with ‘Mohabbatein’ and ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ and I came back with ‘Legend’.

“This is where we stand. On this, he said, ‘you have to accept everything that comes to you, this is called learning’. I thank my stars, pray, and remind myself about where I am and where I was. I feel, after all that happened, I am at a very good position.”

Jagapathi has made reinvention his key to success. In his new project “GangStars”, he plays a gangster called KD, who has a humorous streak.

“I get bored with life very easily. I get bored with things very fast. So I like to try something new, always. That’s why I did a multi-starrer, I played the character of the hero and I think this would be the first time that the proper hero capacity is with me.

“This particularly is not anything that I have done before. It’s a mixture of everything I’ve done. The characterisation is violent, but there is an innocence in it, and there is self-sympathy in this and a lot of entertainment without doing any comedy.”

The actor, who does Malayalam and Kannada films, asserts that experimenting is necessary.

“If I don’t experiment, I get bored. I like crossing the boundaries and breaking my own rules… I like to break my own limits, I’ve done it before, and I will continue doing it in the future. I am always open to new roles, I will take up a role of villain, grandfather, hero, or anything else. I want to explore new genres.”

Following this pursuit, Jagapathi is heading to Bollywood. There are rumours that he will be seen as the antagonist in Salman Khan’s “Dabangg 3”.

Asked about it, he said: “I would like to only talk about my current project that is ‘GangStars’. I am doing a Bollywood film but right now I would like to stick to only this piece of information.”