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Rediff.com  » Movies » Shriya: I am an actor and an entertainer

Shriya: I am an actor and an entertainer

Last updated on: December 27, 1999 

'I don't understand the whole funda of Telugu and Tamil'

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Shriya has charted a successful path in Telugu and Tamil films. In a short span of few years, she has acted with most of the big heroes from these industries like Rajnikanth, Vikram, Chiranjeevi, Nagarjuna, and Mahesh Babu besides many others.

The gorgeous Shriya has made heads turn and look at her in Kandasamy/Mallana. In this exclusive chat with Radhika Rajamani after the release of Kandasamy/Mallana, she outlines her reasons for signing the film and her efforts in toning her body and portraying a new character with grey shades:

What made you sign the film? Was it the script?

I liked the concept of the economic disparity where the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. I wanted to work with Vikram because I am his fan and have seen all his films. I love the way he acts and he is one of my favourite actors. Needless to say he is one of the best actors we have in the country. I've seen Susi Ganesan's work so I thought I could trust him. I was a little apprehensive about my character and role though.

Didn't you mind playing the slightly negative shades in the beginning of the movie?

I play this grey character. Every time I was interviewed, I emphasised the fact that I was doing this grey character so that people could be prepared. I guess people have accepted it well. I am glad people are calling me and telling me, you have done something different and it's nice. I am glad I took this script and it's paying off now.


Image: A scene from Kandasamy

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'I am not someone who diets'

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You look ravishing in the film. How did you tone yourself up for it?

When I started the film, I did lose some weight. When the clothes were given to me, I felt I had to be fit. I feel it's important to adapt to the character and you have to look like the character. So I did a lot of yoga and swimming.

No dieting?

I am not someone who diets. I don't like gyms that much. I really like what I eat. I do a lot of yoga.

So, you are particular about yoga?

Yes, eventually it's an investment for a lifetime. Yoga is something where you don't harm yourself and you can still do something nice to yourself.


Image: A scene from Kandasamy

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'Vikram was more involved with my look than I was'

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How much of effort did you put in for the film?

I tried to do a bit of study about why my character, Subbalakshmi loves her dad so much, why she lives in her own world, how she's spoiled and why she's spoiled. Basically she lives in a world where money was given to her. The whole movie revolves around her relationship with her father because that's the backbone of why she is and how she is, and eventually her interaction with Kandasamy changes her.

Working with Vikram was...

Fantastic and fantabulous to see him perform and act. He creates magic. That is at one level. But what it transforms and transcends to is at a different level. I think he is gifted, because not many people can do that. See the kind of screen presence he has! And he is looking, so young in the film. As an actor also, he was very helpful. He was more involved with my look than I was. He was more into how I should act and what body language I should have. He was very cool.

How was it working with director Susi Ganesan?

Susi is a demanding director. I guess it's very important for a director to be demanding. Also he's a good actor, so he shows what and how he wants a scene to be done. He's a fantastic director to work with. He has a vision in his head and that vision is larger than life. He dreams big and likes that big dream to come into reality. He gives his 100 per cent and works really hard. He took two years to do the film so there's a lot of love and obsession from his side. When you give three years of your life for a film of three hours, you can understand how much of your life is put in in every second of it. He has put his own soul in it. It's Susi's baby. Also, in this film, credit goes to Ekambaram who visually shot it well and done a very good job.


Image: A scene from Kandasamy

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'My films in Tamil include Chikku Bukku, Jaggubhai and Kutty'

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What about Devisriprasad's music?

Devi's music blends in the film. All the songs are part of the film and credit goes to Devi for this.

Are you satisfied with the response to the film because it got average, middling, poor reviews?

You can't close your eyes to the facts that the theatres are booked for a week, the music is a super-duper hit and there are people who are loving the film and talking about it. As an actor, I am happy with my job and how the film has shaped up.

You seem to be comfortable with Tamil films.  Have you signed any other Tamil films besides Kutty with Dhanush?

My films in Tamil include Chikku Bukku, Jaggubhai and Kutty.


Image: A scene from Kandasamy

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'I'm fully covered in Kutty, something which I haven't done in a long time'

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Could you talk a bit about Kutty? Isn't it supposed to be a love story?

Yes, it's a college love story. I play an innocent, simple girl (fully covered, something which I haven't done in a long time). It's a cute story about people coming together, spending time together, understanding each other, falling in love, understanding love and finding love eventually.

What about the shooting of the other films?

The shoot of Jaggubhai is over. It's the story of a father (played by Sarat Kumar) and daughter. It's about the times they have spent, how times change eventually forever. Sarath Kumar is a good actor. K S Ravikumar is the director. It was a nice team to work with.

We have finished one schedule of Chikku Bukku and two more schedules left to be shot in London and Chikmagalur.

Are you looking at doing any Telugu film now?

I don't understand the whole funda of Telugu and Tamil. When I am doing Tamil films, I'm asked whether I'm doing Telugu and vice versa. Eventually I am working in Indian films.


Image: A scene from Kandasamy

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'Every time I do a character, I want to give my best and perform better than before'

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What are the challenges you are looking for now that you have put in quite a few years in the film industry doing films in Telugu, Tamil and Hindi and of course English?

I have put in very few years. Every second is a challenge and you can never say I'm done or I've had enough. People keep learning and evolving to realise that they were better than they were ever before. Performing arts have no barometers and no scale. Who do you compare yourself to? Just yourself. You can compete only with yourself.

No two actors are similar in their technique, in their performance, in their style. Eventually it's your talent. Every time you do a character, you want to give your best, perform better than before. Also, eventually it is to keep finding different kinds of roles. As an actor we don't produce or direct our films, someone else is the captain of the ship, to survive in that ship and doing something of your own is a challenge.

Are you still in touch with your dance (Kathak)?

I do it sometimes but haven't been really practising.

We heard that you took a break at an ashram recently. Was it because you wanted to disconnect from the world and connect with yourself?

It was something that I wanted to do. I was learning meditation there. Meditation is something that even a five-year old also needs to do.

Meditation and yoga is not something that you do to disconnect, you do that to connect with yourself and create yourself in a way that you can connect with the world better. You can't change the world outside but you can change the world inside.


Image: A scene from Kandasamy

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'My profession is to make people enjoy themselves'

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You've been a positive person, you always think positively...

I like to be positive because that's the best way to look at things. I like to spread as much smiles and happiness as I can and that's my profession too -- to make people enjoy themselves. I am an actor and entertainer.

You are an avid reader. What are you reading now?

The Unaccustomed Earth.

How's life now?

Life's good. I'm being good to life, life's being good to me. We are trying to be good to each other.


Image: A scene from Kandasamy

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