HT Exclusive: Kajol to pull off action in her next film with Prabhu Deva, Naseeruddin Shah | Bollywood

New filmmaker Charan Tej Uppalapati is brimming with excitement as he embarks on his directorial journey with a star-studded cast featuring Kajol, Prabhu Deva, and Naseeruddin Shah. Having made a mark in Telugu cinema with productions like ‘Spy’ and ‘Malli Modalaindi’, Charan is now set to leave his imprint in Bollywood. (Also Read: Kajol shares a laugh-out-loud compilation of her bloopers to celebrate World Laughter Day)

A glimpse of Kajol, Director Charan Tej Uppalapati, and cinematographer GK Vishnu together.

In a candid chat with Hindustan Times, Charan spills the beans on his inaugural Bollywood project, its ensemble, and the anticipation around its teaser.

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‘The movie captures the heart of family bonds’

Countless stories have been drafted by Charan over the years, each awaiting their moment on the big screen. For his directorial debut, he aimed to challenge himself by taking the plunge in Hindi cinema. “Our first shoot schedule in Hyderabad and Mumbai has concluded, and the teaser is set for release shortly,” he shares. Charan, a film school graduate from the USA, is excited to see his storytelling come to fruition. He reveals, “My film is a fusion of action, thrills, and drama, with a deep dive into the psyche of familial relations—particularly the sense of abandonment parents might experience as their children grow apart from them. This narrative is close to my heart, and I’m eager to present a story that resonates with many.” The movie is also planned to reach audiences in all South Indian languages through dubbing.

Charan discusses the thematic core of his first Bollywood production.
Inside Charan’s debut film’s thematic essence.

‘Kajol shines in her action avatar and motivates the team’

As a first-time director, Charan feels blessed with his talented cast and crew. He praises Kajol’s enthusiasm and support as she undertakes action roles for the first time. “Kajol ma’am relished performing stunts. Having someone like Prabhu sir, with his deep filmmaking expertise, has been invaluable. And Samyuktha isn’t just a talented actor—she brought an entirely fresh portrayal to her role. The on-screen dynamic between Kajol and Samyuktha’s characters is pivotal, and they’ve brought it to life effortlessly,” he notes.

A look at Charan Tej Uppalapati and Prabhu Deva on the sets of their new movie.
Charan Tej Uppalapati alongside Prabhu Deva during the film’s production.

After 27 years since ‘Minsara Kanavu’ (also known as ‘Sapnay’ in Hindi and ‘Merupu Kalalu’ in Telugu), Kajol and Prabhu come together again. When asked about this reunion, Charan can’t conceal his delight. “It’s been nearly three decades since that iconic film. While our movie isn’t a romance, the chemistry between Kajol and Prabhu is bound to capture audiences just as it captivated me. It promises to be an absolute delight,” he says with enthusiasm.

Charan shares his excitement over reuniting Kajol and Prabhu Deva after their long hiatus.
Charan reflects on bringing Kajol and Prabhu Deva together onscreen after 27 years.

‘Naseeruddin was my first choice, and he was convinced right away’

The addition of Naseeruddin Shah to the cast was a momentous win for Charan, who has long admired the veteran actor. “Getting Naseer sir on board required persistence, but his immediate assent upon reading the script was a massive boost of confidence. His belief in the story’s importance reaffirmed my commitment,” he recounts.

The film’s behind-the-scenes talent is equally impressive, with cinematographer GK Vishnu undertaking his first project post-Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘Jawan’, drawn by the script’s appeal. Harshavardhan Rameshwar, known for his work on ‘Animal’ and ‘Arjun Reddy’, is pushing new limits with the film’s score. The editing talent of Naveen Nooli, famed for ‘Pushpa 2’, rounds out the skilled team. With additional creative forces like writers Niranjan Iyengar and Jessica Khurana, Charan feels confident that he has assembled the best team for his directorial debut.

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