What is the significance of your character in Rama Banam?
Rama Banam is very close to heart. The most important takeaway from the film for me is the value of family relationships. It’s not just about accumulating wealth or property, but also about holding your loved ones together. In my film Rama Banam, my character promotes the importance of organic and traditional food.
You have gained a lot of popularity in Tamil, but have you felt the same level of popularity in Telugu?
I made a conscious choice to work in Tamil industry even though I had opportunities in Telugu. When Telugu film industry shifted from Chennai to Hyderabad, I decided to stay in Tamil Nadu and continue my work here. Also, since I have already moved from Mumbai to Chennai, I didn’t want to put my family through another relocation. Despite my focus on Tamil industry, I have done a lot of Telugu films and I do feel that I have a good following in Telugu industry as well. However, I do regret missing out on the opportunity to act in the film Chanti.
Has your perspective of acting changed over time?
Over the years, my approach towards a role has evolved significantly. Now, I am more spontaneous and dependent on the director’s vision. I firmly believe that the director plays a vital role in shaping an actor’s performance. Therefore, I credit the director for bringing out the best in me and help me slip into the character’s skin effortlessly.
On working with director Sriwass
The portrayal of Bhuvaneswari in Rama Banam is a well-crafted character, and I really appreciated the director Sriwass’ approach to shaping her. In the film, my character serves as a catalyst that holds the family together, which was an interesting and fulfilling role to play. Working with Sriwass was a great experience, and I could see elements of P Vasu’s style of filmmaking in his approach. Overall, I felt very comfortable collaborating with him and exploring the nuances of my character.
On adding persona to a character
With every film, I strive to improve my skills as an actor and add new dimensions to my craft. I believe in bringing a deep understanding of the character to my performance. In Rama Banam, my character is enterprising and values family a lot, which resonates with my own personal beliefs. Bhuvaneswari’s character, especially her fierce and protective nature towards her family, is a lot like me – I can relate to her as a wounded tigress who fiercely defends her own family.
I think people tend to have preconceived notions that a beautiful actress cannot be intelligent and articulate in her conversations, and that’s why controversies tend to arise. News channels and media outlets tend to add a celebrity to news pieces that will generate the most interest and attention. With the widespread use of social media, news travels fast and people tend to become more judgmental. However, it’s impossible for people to know who I truly am as a person, and we just have to accept that.
On sharing screen with Gopichand and Jagapathi Babu
On the last day of shoot for the movie, Gopichand and I realized that we didn’t exchange our contact information or clicked pictures together. Although he is a reserved person on sets, he is also mischievous and brings that aspect into his roles. As for Jagapathi Babu, I have known him for a long time now, as I had worked in his production house as a child artist.
On Food being an important element in Rama Banam
The excessive consumption of food with preservatives can lead to several health issues. The fast food that comes in packed containers can also cause health problems. The most delicious food can be prepared using traditional methods like using terracotta and grinding with traditional grinders. However, due to time constraints, people tend to opt for fast food, which is the easier option. The primary message behind Rama Banam is to promote healthy food habits. We can even grow our own vegetables at home, and it doesn’t require much space.
On the Message given in Rama Banam
A family that stays together in times of crisis will emerge stronger and more resilient in the face of adversity.
On giving any tips to Dimple Hayathi on sets
I feel it’s the other way around. I believe that as an actress, it’s important to keep learning from the new-age actresses. Times have changed, and there’s always something to learn from the younger generation. We belong to the old school where we were used to getting things done in a simple way. In those days, we didn’t have the same makeup material available, so we had to rely on our tricks and techniques. However, it’s good to stay open-minded and learn from others, regardless of their age or experience.
On the films acted in during the early days
I am immensely proud of my early years in the industry, as that was my learning period. During that time, I had the opportunity to work with an array of renowned directors such as K Raghvendra Rao, Jandhyala, Bharathi Raja, Balachander, and many more. I highly value and respect my work, as it has played a significant role in helping me reach where I am today.
Whom shall you attribute your success?
The film industry is a combination of talent, hard work, and luck. I believe I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time when I got my first break in Telugu cinema. I consider myself lucky to have been noticed by Venky, who recommended me for my first Telugu film with K Raghavendra Rao after seeing my Hindi film.
What kind of roles you wish to do?
I don’t have any specific role in mind, and I’m not the type of person to feel bad for not doing a particular type of role on screen. However, I must share one thing. When Tabu did Cheeni Kum with Amitabh Bachchan, I was envious. I called her and jokingly fired her for romancing with Bachchan, as I am a die-hard fan of his.
On working with People Media Factory
I had a good time working for Rama Banam. We can’t find many great producers like People Media Factory, who are capable of delivering back-to-back successful films. It’s not an easy feat to achieve.
On visiting or commenting on Khushbu temple
Initially, I didn’t have time to react to it as I was working in four different shifts. Eventually, it became old news and I moved on.
On South cinema being an integral part of Indian cinema
Earlier, the Telugu, Kannada, and Tamil cinema industries used to function from Chennai, and when they moved to their respective states, it marked the beginning of South Indian cinema. Today, irrespective of the language, South Indian cinema has become an integral part of Indian cinema. We have come a long way from the days when South Indian cinema was not considered as a part of Indian cinema.
On getting an invite to Australia
I was fortunate enough to share the same platform with Usain Bolt. It’s a proud moment for me that South Indian cinema is being recognized and appreciated on a global level.
On the music of Rama Banam
Mickey J Meyer is a music director who truly understands the pulse of the audience. The song he composed for Rama Banam has garnered over 5 million views, which is a testament to his talent. Both the temple song and iPhone song are unique in their own way and have become popular among the audience.
On doing television shows
I find television to be a great platform where I can showcase a more nuanced version of myself. It allows me to express genuine emotions and laughter, which is always enjoyable for me.
On the Political journey
I contested in the previous election as an MLA but unfortunately, I couldn’t win. As for the upcoming elections, it’s up to the party to decide. However, I am confident in my ability to multitask and handle both responsibilities if given the opportunity.
On doing more Telugu films
If given the opportunity, I would definitely consider acting alongside Balakrishna. Despite having a long career in the industry, I have never had the chance to share the screen with him. If the right script comes along, I would be happy to work with him.