Mahesh Babu

Mahesh Babu’s 25th film "Maharshi" hits screens on May 9. The film sees him play a college student, a business tycoon, and a common man. (IANS photo)

HYDERABAD— Actor Mahesh Babu, whose 25th film "Maharshi" hits screens on May 9, says he is glad he hasn’t become complacent with his work in his two-decade-long career.

"I'm happy I haven't grown complacent as an actor. I still prefer working with directors who come to me with bound scripts. Also, I will continue doing one film a year because there's no point doing too many. Today, the economics of filmmaking has changed, and the stakes involved are very high. Hence, there are always high expectations from audiences," Mahesh Babu said.

He calls his forthcoming Telugu action-drama "Maharshi" special because it is unlike any film he has done in his career so far.

Babu is confident that "Maharshi," directed by Vamshi Paidipally, will break many pre-conceived notions about him.

"It's a film that has so much to offer. It has a very powerful social message that is well-laced with other commercial elements. I say it's a film, unlike anything I've done so far because audiences can easily relate to my character Rishi. The journey of my character will be both interesting and inspiring," he said.

The film sees Mahesh Babu play a college student, a business tycoon, and a common man.

Recalling the experience of returning to college, Babu said it was fun and challenging at the same time.

"It was exciting to be playing a college-goer two decades after I left college. Vamshi and I discussed that the college portion has to be pulled off convincingly because it lasts for about 45 minutes. It took some self-convincing to really get into the skin of the character," he said, clarifying that the college portion was not inspired by Aamir Khan's "3 Idiots."

Babu sports three different looks to play his character.

"People have been saying I look the same in all my films. Therefore, we decided to go with different looks to essay three different phases of my character. It's not just with respect to my looks, but ‘Maharshi' will break many pre-conceived notions about me," he said.

At the film's pre-release event last week, Babu said Vamshi waited three years to make "Maharshi."

Asked if it was really worth making Vamshi wait for such a long time to make the film, he said it was definitely worth it.

"After I heard the narration, I was convinced I should do the film. It's not about a rich guy returning from the US and giving back to the society. It's like a semi-biopic of a character called Rishi, who grows up in a middle-class family, makes big bucks and becomes a business tycoon and eventually returns to his roots.

"The journey is very inspiring, and there's so much depth in the story. Audiences will resonate with my story strongly," Babu said.

He said the film packs a powerful social message.

"It's not easy to make a film that has a message and at the same time is packed with all the commercial elements. Vamshi is a very honest filmmaker. In the two years he waited for me to complete my other commitments, he kept improvising on the script with his writers."

Mahesh Babu also confirmed that a film with S.S Rajamouli is in the offing.

"We are committed to work together. Producer K.L. Narayana will bankroll our project. But we can only collaborate when both of us are relieved of our current commitments. Hopefully, we should be free by next year," he added.

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