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Shriya Saran: I am blessed to be a part of Manam

Last updated on: May 19, 2014 20:14 IST

Shriya Saran: I am blessed to be a part of Manam


Radhika Rajamani/ in Hyderabad

Shriya Saran has been choosy with her roles of late. She has done interesting films such as Midnight’s Children, Chandra, and Pavithra, where she had roles of substance.

After a gap of some years, she will be seen with three generations of Akkinenis (ANR, Nagarjuna and Chaitanya) in Manam.

The film is directed by Vikram Kumar.

Shriya talks about the film that releases on May 23.

You are being selective about your roles. What made you take up Manam?

Yes. I was going to work with Nag again, which was a good feeling. And with the whole family – three generations.

 For me, it was the first time with ANR Sir. I feet like it’s making history.

When I heard the narration which Vikram gave me for six long hours, I fell in love with the story.

It is a beautiful story. It is a genius script, interweaving everything. It is not a story made for three generations but a story where three generations fit in. 


'The movie has an interesting reincarnation twist'

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Acting with three generations of Akkinenis must have been exciting...

I am truly blessed to be a part of this. Normally I never take calls when I am working out or doing yoga. When I saw the phone flashing, I wondered who was calling me. I picked up, and it was Supriya (Nagarjuna’s niece who handles productions of Annapoorna Studios).

I’ve known her for a very long time. She said she was doing a film with her entire family and that her thatha (grandfather) was in it and I had to do it.

I said, yes, I would love to do it.

What was so interesting about the script?

It has a very interesting reincarnation twist, which is very beautiful but it is not about reincarnation.

It is to do with human emotions like love, eternal love. The story is about the relationship every character has, the relationship which fills you in a very special way, that stays with you for a very long time.


Image: Shriya Saran and Nagarjuna in Manam

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'It is an honour for anyone to work with ANR sir'

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How was it acting with ANR?

I feel very blessed. It is an honour for anyone to work with ANR sir.

I feel I’m part of history, I feel I’m part of something very special. I remember sitting down with as he narrated me about his early days in cinema.

I realised that in the 100 years of Indian cinema, ANR has contributed 70 years. To be part of that journey in some way, to share some scenes with him is a dream come true for any actor. I am glad I got a chance to work with him.

It’s a beautiful relationship my character and his have in the film. There was a scene where he was supposed to be out in the open and it was very hot. It was just 15 days after surgery and he was back for the shoot even though he was in pain.

The shot required him to be lying flat on the ground in the middle of the road and I was to rescue him. I went up to him and asked him whether he was okay.

He said he was enjoying himself. 

It was beautiful to see someone with so much dedication and so much love for cinema.

I am told even in the last days when he was bedridden, he was dubbing for the film because he was scared that his voice would change.

What is your role all about?

It’s the role of a girl who is simple, who is out there to fall in love. The film is about how love finds her and she finds love.

In the present, I play a doctor and in the 1930s I play a farmer in a small village – a very poor one, but she still has a smile on her face.

Image: Shriya Saran and Nagarjuna in Manam

Tags: ANR , Indian

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'Chaitanya is very involved in the filmmaking process'

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You are cast opposite Nagarjuna. What’s it like acting with him after two hugely successful films, Santosham and Nenunnanu.

Yes, they were hugely successful films. Working with Nag when I was really young shaped me a lot.

For instance, I was right out of school and I did this film called Ishtam which was by Vikram. I was 17 and I played pranks on Vikram and Raj.

I went back and joined Lady Shriram College and then I was called to audition for Santosham with Nag.

Santosham gave me a lot. I was nobody and I was given such an important, strong role.

The film did very well. My name changed for a while to Bhanu (the character she played in the film).

There are other things important as well. Amala introduced me to meditation. Supriya is a dear friend. To work with all of them in this film was brilliant. It was more like a family.

Do you have any scenes with Chaitanya?

One or two. Chaitanya is very humble, very hard working.

He is very absorbed and I don’t think he ever goes back to the van. He is always sitting outside, really involved in the filmmaking process.

Image: Shriya Saran and Nagarjuna in Manam

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'There is not a sad moment in Manam'


It’s about 12-13 years since you acted under Vikram’s direction.  What does it feel like after so many years?

It feels like yesterday, it doesn’t feel like so many years.

Vikram is like my buddy. I don’t feel any different.

He is becoming more and more difficult to impress. He is a very demanding director. A wonderful director to work with, he is a genius.

What are your thoughts on Manam?

It’s a film full of love, fun and laughter. There is not a sad moment in the film. It is so beautifully shot; it’s a lovely film.

Image: Shriya Saran

Tags: Vikram , Manam