Little did Shriya Saran imagine that she’d one day be a showbiz siren with more than three dozen films in South Indian and Hindi cinema to her credit. Although a huge star in Telugu cinema, her biggest hit was the Tamil film Sivaji – The Boss (2007) opposite Rajnikanth. In the same year she was relaunched in Hindi films in Vishesh Films’ Awarapan (her Hindi debut was Tujhe Meri Kasam, 2003). While Awarapan did well, it didn’t exactly propel her career. More recently, she was part of Priyadarshan’s Gali Gali Mein Chor Hai but again the film went unnoticed. In a bid to make headway, the sultry actor has agreed to do an item song with Sanjay Dutt and Vivek Oberoi in Zilla Ghaziabad. The actress gives us a first person account of how it all happened for her…
“My parents didn’t want me to act”
My career began casually. I was studying English in LSR College in Delhi. Around New Year’s a production company came looking for a girl to star in their music video. My dance teacher in college recommended me. I went for the audition just for fun. That was when my first music video (Thirakti Kyun Hawa) happened. The video also landed me my first Telugu film Ishtam. Suddenly, at 17, I found myself in Hyderabad. I picked up Telugu really quick. I remember once when I got stuck with the dialogue, my director told me that I’d have to return to Delhi. I didn’t want to go back to college, so I delivered my lines promptly. But my parents, who didn’t want me to act, made me promise that I’d complete my studies.
“I take the blame for failing in Hindi films”
I don’t know why my Hindi films (Tujhe Meri Kasam, Shukriya – Till Death Do Us Apart, Mission Istanbul) didn’t work. I guess my choices were bad. But there’s no explanation for failure. I may be less popular in Mumbai but people down South know me. That’s the beauty of India. I can blame the whole world for my failure but that would be wrong. I take the blame for my failure.
“Producers expect you to wear a bikini in every film if you wear it once”
I am doing an item number in Zilla Ghaziabad. When I met the team I was convinced about doing it. Choreographer Ganesh Acharya draws the line between sensuality and vulgarity. I hope I don’t get stereotyped as an item girl. I’m looking forward to doing meaningful roles. Ive no qualms kissing on screen or wearing a bikini. Many actresses say it depends on the role and the character. But for me it depends on how well the director can convince me. It should not look forced. I just pray that I don’t make a fool of myself. Indians are not okay with seeing Indians kissing or sporting a bikini on screen. But they don’t mind foreigners doing that. Also, producers expect you to wear a bikini in every film after you’ve worn it once. It gets difficult to make them understand that we can’t wear a bikini just for the heck of it. It has to make sense.
“Open relationships don’t work for me”
I want to start dating someone. I don’t care whether he’s from the industry or not. I am looking forward to falling in love with a good man. I’m a great romantic. I find people who don’t want to get into relationships a little weird. Also, the concept of open relationships doesn’t work for me. I’m not judging anyone though. I want someone to fall in love with me and respect me. The problem with us actors is that when you’re doing a film, you connect with your fellow actors emotionally. But once you’re done with the film it’s all over. While you connect immediately, you also disconnect immediately. Actually, the bond should develop gradually, so much so that you start liking each other’s stupidities too.
“I’d do Midnight’s Children even if I had just one scene”
Deepa Mehta saw Shivaji – The Boss and loved it. She called and offered me a part of Cooking With Stella (2009), which she wrote. It was directed by her brother Dilip Mehta. I played a nanny in the film. I attended a workshop in Delhi for it. My performance was appreciated at the Toronto film festival. Then in Toronto, Deepa offered me the role of Parvati in Midnight’s Children (based on Salman Rushdie’s similarly titled novel). I understand that there are many big names in the cast (Shabana Azmi and Anupam Kher) and I run the risk of being sidelined. But it’s okay. Midnight’s Children is primarily about three children born at the stroke of midnight. I’m part of the turning points of the movie. It’s a film in which I’d act even if I had one scene.”Anupam Kher Awarapan Cooking With Stella Deepa Mehta Filmfare Gali Gali Mein Chor Hai Interviews Ishtam Midnight’s Children Mission Istanbul Rajnikanth Salman Rushdie Sanjay Dutt Shabana Azmi Shivaji – The Boss Shriya Saran Shukriya - Till Death Do Us Apart Tujhe Meri Kasam Vivek Oberoi Zilla Ghaziabad