Shriya Saran, the most happening actress in Telugu film industry today, started her career in Telugu films with ‘Istam‘. Though Istam flopped, it made people sit up and notice her. Her fortunes changed the moment she signed Santosham and with the huge success of Santosham
Tell us about your background
I was born in Haridwar and we moved to Delhi when I was a kid. I did my schooling in DPS (Delhi Public School). I completed my second year of graduation at Lady Shriram College (LSR) New Delhi. I am into my third year now.
Tell us about LSR College.
It’s the most happening college in Delhi. You find cosmopolitan crowd in my college. We have lots of extracurricular activities and cultural events happening. It is a strict college as well. You need to have proper attendance to pass the degree.
What cultural activities are you interested in?
There are inter-collegiate festivals, street plays and workshops. I was a part of a dance team from our college. Dance is the only thing that actually takes me out of everything and relieves me.
Had you ever been to Oasis (a cultural festival in BITS, Pilani)?
I was supposed to go there in my first year. But due to some unavoidable engagement, I could not go there. Oasis is the best thing that can happen to you. But I had been to IIT Delhi’s cultural festival.
How did you land up in acting?
It happened just like that! I was learning Kathak from Guru Sobha Narayanji. Some guys were looking for a girl to be featured in their music album on 30th of December 2000. They were searching for a girl for the past two months and 30th December was the dead line for them. I was supposed to be at Jaipur on that day. But I got my ticket cancelled and stayed in Delhi for some strange reason. Those guys got my contact from my Guru Sobha Narayanji. The next thing I knew was that I was selected for the music video. That video was ‘Chalti Kyon Hawa‘ by Renu Nathan and BMG produced that video.
The directors of Istam contacted me, as they liked me in that video. I started working for Istam. During the starting of ‘Istam‘, I was not sure of my capabilities. The moment I began my career as an actress, I was living every moment of it – learning so much – and being myself.
After the release of Istam, I was back to Delhi. I was cool about it. I thought that I was back to my life and started attending college. Then I was approached by Usha Kiron movies and I signed a Hindi film titled – Tujhe Meri Kasam (Hindi remake of Nuvve Kavali). Since the banner of Tujhe Meri Kasam and Istam is same, I was very comfortable. It was fun as well.
During that period, I had done two commercial ads with Mr. Rajeev Menon. First one was the Tamil ad for Coke with Vijay and another one was Ponds ad. Then Santosham people were looking for a fresh girl. The most exciting thing was that Nag was working in that film and I had been a fan of Nag since the release of Shiva (Hindi). I tell you, he is THE guy! And everybody likes him in the industry. I really enjoyed doing that amazing role of Bhanu.
Then I was signed for Nuvve Nuvve. The story of this film is very good. And the director Trivikram is amazing. The producer Ravi ji is a sweet guy.
Tell us about your role in Chenna Kesava Reddy?
That role is a very small one. But it’s a very peppy role again. She is very stubborn and she is from a rich family. Her father is very powerful. She is seen money and power. Every guy is ready to do anything for her, but the hero is not like that. He is very different in style and has indifferent attitude towards her. She falls in love with that guy.
Tell us about your character in ‘Nuvve Nuvve‘?
Name of my character in this film is ‘Anjali’. She is very bubbly. She is happy and satisfied with whatever she has. She is very close to her father. Her father can do anything for her. The film is all about how she falls in love with this guy – Tarun. The director gave strict instructions not to reveal the story to you. I am helpless (giggles)
Are you doing any other Bollywood projects?
I am also doing a Hindi film ‘Thoda Tum Badlo aur Thoda Hum‘. This film is a remake of Telugu ‘Anandam‘. Usha Kiron is producing this film. I am paired up with Arya Babbar. It’s a lovely story.
Your birthday did not have any significance till a couple of years back. But, the last year ’11th September’ turned out to be a day of global tragedy. Any comments?
(Giggles). People called me on that day and wished me Happy Birthday Shriya. But, we were really sad about what happened today. I know that people can’t celebrate their birthday for the next 10 years, if you were born there. For them, it’s horrible. Whatever has to happen has happened. It was a sad day. I switched on my television set and I felt like watching a Hollywood action film. It was hard to believe that it was all happening. Last year, this day was very bad.
Who are the most influential persons to you?
My mom. She influenced me from the day I was born. She loved me so much. She always supported me. She is everything for me. Whatever I am, every inch of me is because of her. She is the only person who kept me down – to keep me level headed. I should be thankful to God for giving me a mother like her. The second most influential figure to me is my Kathak teacher Sobha Narayan. She taught me a lot.
You study in a girl’s college? Don’t you feel like missing fun with guys?
(Giggles) No! Guys would be missing the fun of having me in their college!! Being in a girl’s college, you get to realize the essence of being woman and enjoy the power of being a woman.
So, you end up being a feminist?
It’s about bringing my own personality out. It talks about what I am. You have to be strong. I don’t believe in the point that women are stronger than men or men are stronger than women. Men and women should coexist and live together. Woman and man combine together to make a family.
What is secret behind your glowing and smooth skin?
I hardly take care about my skin. There are a lot of climatic changes, which affect your skin. The only thing I do is drinking lot of water. And I stay away from the horrible skin care products that flood the market. I use homemade stuff using natural extracts.
Tell us about your future films?
I am currently working for ‘Chenna Kesava Reddy‘, ‘Nuvve Nuvve‘ and ‘Nee Manasu Naaku Telusu‘. I have not signed any new projects, but I might be working in Ravi Kishore’s next venture, which is based on Hindi film ‘Tum Bin‘.
After the hit ‘Santosham’, you have become the hottest heroine. How do you feel about it?
Honestly speaking, I don’t know that. You told me now for the first time. You work hard for the whole day and at the end of the day it feels very nice to be appreciated and recognized.
What are your long-term plans?
I don’t plan for tomorrow and you are asking me for my long term plans. I take life as it comes.
What is your childhood dream?
I wanted to become a classical dancer and I learnt Kathak.
What is special about Kathak?
Kathak is basically derived from a word – Katha (Story) Kehna (Telling). Over a period of time Katha Kahna got shortened into Kathak. The expressions and hand movements in Kathak are very simple and soft. Costumes are very natural and are very near to common man’s life. There are lot of good foot movements. We love Taal a lot. We love to go with the rhythm. Anything and everything can be performed in kathak including Ghazals etc.
Tell us about most-touching incident in your college?
There is this girl called Divya in our LSR College. She is a special child in our college. She has a problem with speaking. She cannot walk. She is very slow at expressing anything. She is the sweetest girl in our college. She directs plays and she works in theater. She is extremely intelligent and brilliant at academics. Our college supported her. But she never needed any support. She could do everything herself.
I acted in a street play in Delhi that was directed by Divya. Divya also acted in it as her real self. I acted as a friend of her. The play starts with me hating her that – she cant walk like me, she cant speak like me, she cant dance like me, so don’t call her to our party. During the next few minutes my character understands that she is special, different and beautiful in her own way. The play ends with my character realizing how special she is. We used to perform that street play every day at various locations in New Delhi. That play really moved me.
Do you have a boy friend?
(Giggles) I had lots of crushes and lots of infatuations. I liked lots of people. I have never been totally in love with any one. But those crushes and infatuations never matured into love. So, I never had a boy friend.
I do have a big friend’s gang, which also consists of guys. I was little fat and I did not look the way I look now. So may be that was also one of the reasons why I did not have a boyfriend (giggles).
Tell us what makes you fall in love?
You never know when you fall in love and how. It just happens. There is no logic or rationale behind what you like. I observed you wearing Tantra T shirts in a couple of occasions I met you, which means that you like Tantra. But you might not have a valid reason to justify your liking. Love is also just like that.
I don’t believe in girls who say that a guy has to look good and handsome to fall in love.
What kind of books do you read?
The last good book I read was ‘The bridges of Madison Country‘. My all time favorite book is ‘Gone with the wind‘. I love books by Jeffery Archer. He is so cute!
Who are your favorite actors and actresses?
I like Amitabh Bachhan and Shah Rukh Khan. Madhuri Dixit is my favorite actress. Madhubala is my all time favorite. Madhu Bala is one heroine whom you can’t compare with anybody. She is unparalleled.
How does the name idlebrain.com sound to you?
It’s a sweet word. It’s a cool one, which makes you think about what this guy is trying to say through that name.
Do you want to say anything to the visitors of idlebrain.com?
Trust yourself. There is God in you. Work hard and party harder. A bit of fragrance always clings to your hand and gives you roses.
Note: We would like to thank Sri Sravanthi Ravi Kishore for arranging this interview with Shriya on the eve of her birthday.
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