Tamannaah is riding high on a wave of hits, and working on back-to-back projects in Tamil and Telugu. She speaks to K. Jeshi about what it takes to succeed at the box office.

This Mumbai girl's lingo now includes Tamil words. “I keep saying ayyo and chumma even when I am in Mumbai. Though chumma has a different meaning there, I can't stop using it,” laughs Tamannaah.

The feisty star is enjoying a high point in her career.

Her recent Tamil hits have been breezy entertainers. Currently, she is busy with back-to-back projects in Tamil and Telugu. “What a shame, I am yet to watch Robot,” she says. She's also busy working out, and ensures she eats a balanced diet comprising five meals a day to keep fit and energetic.

“It feels good,” she says about the line-up of projects. In Telugu, she pairs up with Allu Arjun for the big-budget Badrinath. There's also a feel-good love story with Naga Chaitanya, directed by Sukumar, and a film with junior NTR, to be directed by Surender Reddy.

In Tamil, she has Siruthai, a re-make of Ravi Teja's film Vikramarkudu with Karthi, directed by Telugu filmmaker Shiva. Also, director Hari's film with Dhanush.

She says the commercial success of her movies brings out the best in her. “It has made me responsible about choosing the right films.”

Her honest performances have helped her find a niche in the southern film industry. “I am 19 films old. Now I want to do roles that are different and those I would enjoy performing.”

Language is no barrier. After the success of Happy Days that marked this charming actor's entry into Telugu films, Tamannaah did a spate of Tamil films such as Ayan, Kandaen Kaadhalai and Paiyya. Now, she is back to doing more Telugu movies. “I don't want boredom to set in. In commercial cinema, roles for heroines are limited to being simple or glamorous. I don't want to fall into an image trap. I would love to do realistic films that are entertaining. There is an audience for films such as Enthiran that are made on a grand scale as also for realistic films such as those of Sasikumar and Radha Mohan,” she says.

A director's actor, Tamannaah portrays her characters the way they have been conceived and visualised by the directors. “I love being part of the movie-making process. There is magic. There is an element of mystery and unpredictability. As an actor, I play my part with conviction, but the results are not in my hands. Be it success or failure, I don't succumb to pressure.”

On sharing the screen with senior actors such as Vijay and Surya, Tamannaah says, “Besides understanding their individual styles, I have learnt a lot.”

Her journey so far… “I have enjoyed every moment. Since I started young, it was easy to adapt. To become a better actor, one needs to look inwards and understand oneself better. Then, you can create magic on screen.”

What's on her mind now? “A well-deserved vacation.”

In short

Unwinds with fun films

Leisure is spent sleeping.

Watches what she eats.

Cannot resist butter chicken and chicken biriyani

Wish list of directors — Bala, Selvaraghavan, Shankar and many more

Secret of a flawless complexion — genes and diet

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