Stardom comes with a swagger and a flashy persona in most actors. With Telugu superstar Mahesh Babu, however, it comes in the subtle package of an unflappable smile, impeccable manners and muted fashion. Obliging a young fan with a mini photo session, Mahesh smiles and tells him, “I don’t like selfies either. I like proper photographs.” In an industry where stars painstakingly build larger-than-life images, Mahesh Babu brings his real-life humility to the screen. But then, the intensity of a Mahesh Babu dialogue is something else altogether. It goes down smooth like a bottle of aged whiskey and the buzz stays.
Mahesh Babu is also the hit machine of Telugu cinema. His last two movies, Seethamma Vakitlo and Srimanthudu, were blockbusters. And now all his fans are waiting for the upcoming Brahmotsavam with Kajal Agarwal, which, going by the two-million-plus views the trailer released last week has got so far, promises box-office nirvana with its brew of family bonding, search for roots and a tuning into the simple joys of life. Quite ‘feelgood’ and striking a note very different from his last blockbuster in which he played a young man who goes back to his ancestral village, backward and crime-ridden, and takes it upon himself to make it better as the hero of the story. “Srimanthudu had a powerful message,” says Mahesh. “I am more at ease now than I was during its release.”