Shriya Saran, the Ďnumero unoí heroine of Tamil cinema after the stupendous success of Sivaji, in an exclusive interview to Moviebuzz speaks about the superstar, her competitors, Vadivel, her Hollywood film and lots moreÖ
Sivaji the smash hit has made you the hottest heroine in Tamil cinema. Please comment.
( Bursts out into a smile) To be honest, just being Rajni sirís heroine in Sivaji has given me more exposure and reach than any of my earlier films, though I have tasted success in Telugu films as well. It has given me a new lease of life, and also taught me a lot of things, thanks to Shankar sir and Rajni sir.
How would you describe Rajnikanth?
Simplicity is one word that comes to my mind. He is a perfect gentleman, a good actor and has terrific screen presence. He is simply awesome.
How was it working with Shankar?
He taught me the nuances of acting, and the character Tamilselvi made me a star. Everywhere I went in Tamil Nadu, I was addressed by that name; Sivaji is a landmark film in my career. I hope Shankar sir will repeat me in his next film! (Laughs).
Now that you are the Ďnumber one Ďheroine in Tamil, whatís your strategy and game plan?
(Smiles). Nice to hear it, but really it does not matter to me as I donít believe in numbers. As far as Iím concerned, an actor is as good as her last film, and regarding strategy and game plan, I donít have any agenda nor do I plan anything in advance. Right now Iím enjoying myself, and will take things as it comes.
What about your competitors?
Iím friendly with everybody and do not compare myself to anyone. I admire all of them.
Your nearest competitor is Asin, whose last release Pokkiri was a big hit. The trade feels that she is your biggest competitor. Please comment.
I think she is a fine actress, and I like her a lot. My mom is a big fan of hers. I have seen all her films like Ghajani, Sivakasi, Pokkiri and even her Telugu film Amma Nana Oí Tamil Ammayi. I think if Aamir Khan has chosen her as his heroine, it speaks volumes about her caliber and acting talent. We are good friends, and not competitors.
What about your buddy Trisha? Has your famous friendship cooled off ?
Trish and I go a long way back. I have seen all her movies and like her best in Ghilli. We catch up with each other regularly, and are best of friends. All these talks about our cooling off is purely gossip.
How is your relationship with Nayanthara, who many say ousted you from Telugu films?
Nothing of that sort happened. I know her casually, and all this talk of competition and ousting are all media created.
You seem to get along very well with Reema Sen.
Yes Reema is a close pal of mine. Last month Reema and me were in the same hotel in Chennai shooting for two different films. We had a nice time. And in Mumbai, both of us stay in the same locality. We vibe very well.
Suhasini has been critical about your acting in Sivaji. Please comment.
Actually, I did not see her programme but read about it in Sify.com. She is within her rights to criticise my performance and I admire the fact that she is honest about it. But believe me, one day I will prove that Iím an actress of substance by acting in a Mani Ratnam film! (Laughs)
Are you dubbing in your own voice for the Hindi Sivaji?
I have finished dubbing for the Hindi Sivaji. Give me some time, I will dub in my own voice for a Tamil film. It is one of my missions, probably I will request director Susi Ganesan and Vikram to help me dub for Kanthasamy .
How has ATM shaped out?
Iím sure that my fans will adore me in ATM. I have a very cute role in it. Vijay is a nice guy to work with, I am very excited about the film and songs are amazing. Iím there, in four out of the five songs in the film.
Why did you do the item number in Indiralokathil Na Azhagappan with Vadivel?
This folk song in Indiralokathil Na Azhagappan has shaped out well. Vadivel, is a fantastic comedian in the Jim Carrey mould. During the shoot of Sivaji, Shankar sir gave me a DVD of his Imsai Arasan 23am Pulikesi which was great fun and I became a fan of Vadivel. It is not a titillating song; it is a funny and cute Pae (ghost) song, which is surely going to be one of the highlights of the film, and a chartbuster. Since Iím a good classical stage dancer who has won many awards, I enjoyed doing the folk song.
Tell us something about your Hollywood project?
The leading Hollywood studio MGM and Ashok Amritraj's Hyde Park Films are producing The Other End of the Line for which Iím shooting at the moment in Mumbai. It is a romantic movie about an employee at an Indian-call centre in Mumbai, who travels to San Francisco to be with the guy with whom she falls in love over the phone, during her working hours. My hero is Jesse Metcalfe the handsome hunk of the television serial Desperate Housewives.
How did you bag this prestigious project, and what are your preparations for the film?
Well, I had met Ashok Amritraj on a flight, and he thought that I suited the role. Do you know that the entire cast of the film attended a two week rehearsal camp in Mumbai before they started the shoot? After we complete the Mumbai shoot, all of us will be going to San Francisco to complete the rest of the film.
Have you signed any new film?
As of now I have completed my Hindi film, Ek with Bobby Deol and Nana Patekar, and havesigned up Mission Istanbul with Vivek Oberoi and Zayed Khan. Then I start work on Kanthasamy with Vikram, sometime in December. Iím also likely to sign up with Ajit for a film. Nothing else has been confirmed, though Iím being flooded with offers. As of now Iím eagerly waiting for the Diwali release of ATM with Vijay. I wish everyone a very happy Diwali!