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Sameera: People in Tamil industry have accepted me

Last updated on: September 29, 2011 19:13 IST

Sameera: People in Tamil industry have accepted me

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Shobha Warrier in Chennai
Sameera Reddy entered the Tamil film industry as Meghna, the love interest of Suriya in Gautham Vasudev Menon's national award winning film Vaaranam Aayiram. Even today, her performance as Meghna is talked about and appreciated. Then came Asal, opposite Ajith, followed by the experimental Nadunisai Naaikal by Gautham Menon. 

This Friday will see the release of Sameera's latest film, Vedi (Crackers), directed by Prabhu Deva, and also starring Vishal, who is riding high on his stupendous act in Bala's Avan Ivan. Vedi is produced by Vishal's home banner.

In this interview, Sameera tells Shobha Warrier about Vedi and being directed by Prabhu Deva.

Image: A scene from Vedi

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'I have enjoyed the films directed by Prabhu Deva and simply love his choreography'

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How did Vedi happen?

I was shooting for Priyadarshan's Tezz in London and I got a call one morning. It was funny. The caller said, 'Hi, I am Prabhu Deva. How are you? Do you want to do a movie with me?' I was stunned for a moment. He said, 'Vishal is the hero. But I can't tell the whole story over the phone but we have to lock your dates if you are interested'. 

I didn't know the story. I didn't know how many heroines were there. In short, I didn't know anything about the film but I said, yes. Sitting in London, I had to decide whether I wanted to do the film. It was not possible for me to listen to the full story over the phone. 

So, you said yes because it was Prabhu Deva who asked you...

Yes, that is the only reason. I respect the man. I feel a film directed by Prabhu Deva with Vishal as the hero under his home banner is more than I could asked for! 

I have enjoyed the films directed by Prabhu Deva and simply love his choreography. And he is the best dancer India has. I feel he knows what the audience wants, and that is why the films he has directed are hits.


Image: A scene from Vedi

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'I had lost three kilos! Prabhu Deva is a very hard taskmaster'

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Did he choreograph any songs for you?

I was so nervous when I came to know that he was choreographing the Ichu Ichu song for me. It is a very nice song but I had a tough time dancing to the tune. The steps were difficult and Pollachi was excruciatingly hot at that time; I was burning inside my clothes. What I love about the song is that I was in almost all kinds of costumes. Sometimes I was in a sari, sometimes I was like a folk artiste, and I also had the Vaaranam Aayiram look of white shirt and blue jeans. And I was with Devi Prasad, who is a great dancer. 

You know, by the time I mastered the steps and did the full song, I had lost three kilos! He is a very hard taskmaster. Vishal and I worked so hard and made sure that we pleased him and did exactly what he wanted.

Was it the most difficult dance you have done so far?

Not exactly. The most difficult dance steps I have done so far were in Telugu with Jr NTR. In Tamil, so far, it had been easier. In the case of Prabhu Deva, I was more nervous about him than the steps. 

Was he a difficult person to please as a choreographer?

Absolutely. It was like going back to school and the basics. He used to scold me and I used to do it again and again and again like a child learning to write. 


Image: A scene from Vedi

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' Priyadarshan is extremely strict but lets me do what I want'

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Is he a tough taskmaster as a director too?

He is actually a sweetheart and has a sweet, mushy side to him but when he is directing, he is like a strict principal. But this principal side works because we work doubly hard to please him. 

You have a different equation and connection with different directors. Working with Gautham Menon is like working with a friend. He says the scene once and I do it once and he okays it. He is very quick. 

With Priyadarshan, he is extremely strict but lets me do what I want. You have that kind of freedom as an artiste.

With Prabhu Deva, you have to fulfil his exact vision. Till then, he will not be satisfied, because his film has his vision and he will make it only in that way. 

Do you enjoy juggling Hindi and Tamil films?

It is not easy. It has taken a toll on my personal life because I do a lot of travelling as I live in Mumbai. But I enjoy this because it is a great feeling to reach out to two extremely diverse cultures. It is like living double lives!


Image: A scene from Vedi

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'Nadunisai Naigal is way ahead of its time'

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How do you describe these two personalities: the one acting in Hindi films and the other acting in Tamil films?

In Tamil, I am more close to who I am. And people over here have accepted me on a more homely level. I am more comfortable with this life of mine! I am really connected with the sentimental attitude of the fans here. I am very emotional about it. Many heroines in Hindi don't even talk about their south career; in fact, they hide it. But I am just the opposite. I very proudly tell everyone that I am doing a Tamil film or a Malayalam film. I have a very emotional approach to Tamil films. 

Here people accept me as I am, and I love it. I am very grateful that a Vaaranam Aayiram set it. I am grateful that Gautham had faith in me and I had faith in Gautham too. I had faith in my character Meghna too. She was one of three girls in the film but what a girl she was! Meghna, I am sure, will remain in the minds of everyone forever! 

I am looked at as a glamorous heroine in Hindi while in Bengali and Tamil, I am considered a serious actress. The girl next door look I had only in Tamil movies. 

Your last film Nadunisai Naigal did not fare as well as expected. Were you disappointed?

It is an experimental film, and Gautham's baby. I feel it is way ahead of its time. And I had to do it for Gautham Menon, who gave me the fantastic role of Meghna. I am very emotional about all this. It is very close to Gautham's heart and that is very important to me. 

Surprisingly, so many people from Bollywood have seen Nadunisai Naigal and they loved it. Many of them wanted to meet Gautham after that, and they felt it was a cult film.


Image: A scene from Vedi

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'I would go to Bala and ask for a role'

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Vishal started Vedi after the highly acclaimed Avan Ivan... Till then, he had acted only in commercial films...

I had seen his earlier films, and I also saw Avan Ivan. I couldn't believe it was him. He was so brilliant. He came ten days after shooting Avan Ivan. I can imagine how much he had suffered because of the squint he had shown throughout the film. His eyes were red even then and he had headaches. Only a true artiste will go through so much pain to deliver such a performance.

Of course, you have acted in a Budhadev Dasgupta film in Bengali. But in Tamil, if Bala were to offer you a role, will you accept it?

In fact, I would go to Bala and ask for a role. He is such a sensitive director. 

How comfortable are you with the culture, food, and language here?

I am very comfortable with the culture. I am so comfortable with the food that if I don't have my pongal in the morning if I am shooting in Chennai or Karaikudi, the morning is not complete. 

With languages, I am not an expert. I have done films in Bengali, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam but I am no linguist. I observe and I have no problem saying the dialogues in any language. I make the effort to feel comfortable with the language.


Image: A scene from Vedi

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'If I find a nice boy in Chennai I will settle here'

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How many days in a month are you here?

In the last six months, I have travelled from Kanyakumari to Ladakh. I was in Kanyakumari to shoot for Vettai and I was in Ladakh for Vedi. I would say Tamil films have taken me all around the country. You name any place in Tamil Nadu, I have been there!

How was it shooting in Ladakh?

It was extremely cold and I was in a chiffon sari and shivering. But it was such a beautiful place. We did a beautiful love song which I listen to every day. 

What was the high point in Vedi for you?

The comedy scenes I shot with Vivek. They were a scream. Prabhu Deva and Vivek used to come up with crazy ideas and dialogues all the time. I loved playing along with Vivek in the comedy scenes. 

How do you describe the Vedi experience?

It was enjoyable but a learning experience too, especially on comedy timing. The high point was dancing to the choreography of Prabhu Deva--the man is God as far as dance is concerned. 

Do you feel like settling down in Chennai and having pongal every day in the morning?

If I find a nice boy, why not? I am also looking for him (laughs).


Image: A scene from Vedi

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