Mumbai: He may one of the biggest stars in the South, with his 'Dookudu' reportedly getting the biggest opening in the US after the Aamir Khan starrer '3 Idiots', but Mahesh Babu has surprisingly not let the success get the better of him.
"'Pokkiri' (remade with Salman Khan as 'Wanted') was released two years ago. It was a huge hit. Then I got stuck in that image and my movies after that didn't really do well. So I took a year off and was back with 'Dookudu'. We are really happy with the way 'Dookudu' is being talked about," says Babu, who is currently in Mumbai to shoot for his next film with Jagannadh Puri.
For a star, he seems extremely down-to-earth. The actor pins this down to his 'regular' upbringing despite having superstar Krishna as dad.
"We used to travel in autos, and life was as normal as possible. I did some films as a child star and then I missed a year in school. Dad was worried so he asked me to go back to school and start acting only when I am older."
Babu says the attention that he gets from people stressed him out initially, but now he is more relaxed about it. "This place is so amazing. You get to meet so many people; there is so much to learn. I am growing as a human being every day," he says humbly.
As for his Bollywood dreams, he says they'll have to be put on hold for at least the next two years.
"My diary is full. Even if I want to, I can't be in Bollywood right now. 'Dookudu' miraculously turned out to be such a sensation, and now I have more responsibilities. The director is keen on doing the Hindi version with me, but I would rather concentrate on my work in the South now." he says.
Point out that most of his colleagues like Surya and Vikram have made an entry into Bollywood and he says, "If at all I get into Bollywood, I want to do a proper role, not some side role."
Currently, his only connection to Bollywood is his wife actress Namrata Shirodkar. Did the marriage affect his popularity? "No! In fact, I became popular after marriage. After Gautam (their five-year-old son) was born, my whole perspective changed. I think only once you are a dad, you become a man," he says proudly.