Telugu superstar Ram Charan Teja says he is more anxious about Sukumar-directed film "Rangasthalam" than any of his films so far as he admits "Rangasthalam" is a new beginning for him.
"After ten years of acting, I needed a complete change. I have to constantly challenge myself as an actor. And what bigger challenge than this film where I play a real-life character who is also deaf.
"It is a completely different zone of performance for me. Hopefully my audience is going to be as excited by my makeover as I am," he said.
The actor, who made his acting debut in 2007, says "Rangasthalam" was a first for him on many levels.
"I have never played a rural character before. In fact I had never stayed in a village before, though I have visited my native village with my father (Chiranjeevi) a few times. But this was my first exposure to rural life.
"We actually went and stayed in the remotest town on the map of Andhra Pradesh where there was no network for mobile services, no luxury hotels. Nothing to remind me of my metropolitan existence. We had to rough it out. The entire process of acclimatisation changed my attitude to the process of acting."
Ram Charan also spent considerable time understanding his character's physical disability.
"I spent five months understanding the character's body language and his hearing disability. Since I had never played a rustic character before I wanted to ensure I got it right. I didn't want my portrayal to look superficial," he said.
The actor is full of praise for the team of "Rangasthalam".
"I have to admit that the script itself was so coherent and comprehensive. It made my job easier. I also had a fabulous co-star in Samantha Akkineni. Without her, my performance would not have been possible. She is truly one of the best co-stars I have worked with."
Ram Charan hopes the audience gives his film "the same love and appreciation that they have always given to my films".
"Am I anxious for the change of image? Not anxious. Because change is imperative for an actor. With 'Rangasthalam', I have entered a more realistic phase of acting. I hope to do more such roles in future."
The actor says his father has seen some rushes of the film.
"He felt I had nailed it. To me that was the most satisfying moment since I took up this challenge. Now, I look forward to the audiences' response. Hopefully my journey into a new phase would be as smooth as it has been for the first ten years."
Talking about his last film, he said: "Even in my last film 'Dhruva' where I played a police officer I had to beef up for the part. I built the body that the film required. Unfortunately 'Dhruva' came at the time when the country was hit by demonetization. My audience was just not in the mood to spend on movie tickets.
"So 'Dhruva' suffered, yes. But never mind. I am as proud of that film as I am of everything I've done so far."