June 25, 2002 
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Reddy to riot!
Sameera is here to stay

Sameera Reddy is ready to join her siblings (model Meghna and veejay Sushma) in the limelight.

She debuts in Maine Dil Tujhko Diya, directed by Sohail Khan. Khan also makes his acting debut with this film.

Reddy first appeared in Pankaj Udhas' music video Ahista. The Chopras, Satish Kaushik, Karan Johar and Subhash Ghai were quick to call her with offers. Ashutosh Gowariker even told her that she was considered for Lagaan.

And she still cannot believe she will see herself on the big screen.

For now, Sameera wakes up to kickboxing and gymming under Salman Khan's personal trainer. She says, defensively, "I am not losing weight. I just enjoy being fit. Besides, our audiences prefer their heroines voluptuous. I am just toning up."

Sameera Reddy talks to Arti R on matters close to her heart:

On her music video Ahista:

Sameera Reddy I appeared in Pankaj Udhas' Ahista video purely on instinct. I had turned down everything that had come my way till then. After I heard the storyline and the fact that were shooting in Sydney, I agreed. When the song went on air, I was still in Sydney.

After I returned, I was amazed. I remember going to a bookstore in Chennai and getting recognised as the Ahista girl.

The good thing about the video was the director let me do just what I wanted. And my costar in the video was really sweet. I think it came across well because I portrayed emotions just the way I would in real life. I was just being myself.

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Now when I look back, I was so raw. I had not even threaded my eyebrows. I was not groomed like most models making their debut on screen. But I do not regret it.

A lot of people thought I was perfect for the movies. At the time, I could not see myself in that set up. But it hit me when I saw myself in that video.

On movies:

I enjoyed doing the music video. The ability to play different people, grasp at what is running in their head and be somebody completely different from who I am, is fascinating.

I received a lot of offers after the music video. The Chopras called. Ashutosh Gowariker told me they were considering me for Lagaan. But then I was still in college, so I considered the offer very half-heartedly. Besides, my dad wanted me to graduate.

I wanted to be sure before I committed myself to films. I knew it meant a complete change of lifestyle, a 24 hours a day-seven days a week job and no privacy. I tried to weigh both the positives and the negatives.

What made me to agree is that I am very adaptable. I am also a good judge of character.

On Sohail Khan:

I met Sohail at a party. He said I had grown up and looked very different. Then he asked me to screen test for his film. It was that simple. Next day, I trudged to the studio and I screen tested. The next thing I knew I had been signed on.

Sohail Khan and Sameera Reddy For me, Sohail's success with Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya or his failure with Hello Brother did not matter. We hit it off from day one. I was very comfortable working with him. He is a complete riot and he took such good care of me during the film. Besides, I had a lot of faith in him and his clarity of vision. Of course, I had an easier run than Sohail who was directing and acting in the film.

On the best aspect of movies:

I enjoy going to work every day and being part of the filmy scene, especially the dances and the jhatkas. I love the clothes. On her first shot:

I was very calm and quiet during my first shot. We were shooting in Goa (along the Western coast of India). There were around three hundred people present. They did not know who I was. But word got around that a film shoot was on and a crowd gathered. Sohail's unit was very nice, though. They worked very hard because it is 'Sohail Baba's' debut film. That pampering extended to me too!

My only regret was when we went to Egypt to shoot the song Thoda sa pyaar hai baaki, I couldn't see the Pyramids. But I was glad it was a romantic number --- intricate steps would have killed me under the burning sun.

On watching her first rushes:

I was blown over. I come from a non-filmi background. Everything looked accentuated. When I first saw myself on the big screen, I was amazed. I had to look away --- I could not look at myself. My family, friends and everyone from the unit came to see my work. I was dazed. Meghna started screaming, "My sister is a filmstar!"

Sohail Khan and Sameera Reddy The best compliment was the respect in the eyes of the unit. They began to believe, Is ladki mein kuch dum hai, and I was on the top of the world.

I hope the audience will not be harsh in their judgement. I want them to love me. But even if my film is not successful, I will not give up so easy. I am here to stay.

On her sisters:

We are very close to each other. In fact, between the three of us, there is nothing that we cannot do. Meghna is flamboyant and the queen of body language. If there is anything I want to know about posing or modelling, I turn to her. Sushma is the brains and I am the gadget queen. I can hook up anything. Together, we are a riot.


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