Sneha Ullal, now at peace with her work in Telugu cinema, looks back at her false start in Bollywood
Sneha Ullal is packing her bags to go to Rajasthan to shoot for Bejaban Ishq. The unit needs a touch of pink in the frames, the ethnic look and the architecture for some portions of the film. The movie has been recommended by her mentor Salman Khan and is directed by a Gujarati filmmaker who has a string of hits and is now making his Bollywood debut. “We are leaving on April 16. It is an amazing love story and the director has delivered 20 hits out of the 32 movies he has made so far. Rum Jhum is my name in the movie,” says an excited Sneha.
It is apparent that Sneha was peeved with her career in Bollywood and moved southwards after a few of her films in Mumbai didn’t work. She was 17, confused about the right choice and had no guidance. She was new to acting and the publicity she got immediately after her debut film was for being an Aishwarya lookalike and not for being a good performer. “When I started my career in Hindi films, I did it because it came to me and not because acting was something I always wanted to do. I believed that one should give 100 percent while taking up any work. I was judged for it when I was doing badly and that is why I left Bollywood. Everyone ridiculed me when I was leaving all the big projects I was getting but there was no point when I didn’t know what I was doing. I was not interested. I never trained or wanted to be an actor. I did some good and some bad films. I now want to try to act than be called a lookalike of Aishwarya Rai,” she says.
Sneha says there is an advantage of working in the south. People accept her and judge her for what she is. She did work in quite a few movies but there has not been anything worth talking about except a movie by Karunakaran. Recently the actor signed a film with Navdeep. “It is a good story and a different project plus Navdeep’s brother-in-law who owns a graphic company is the producer. He did an entire song on Green Mat. What you see on screen is not there when we were shooting except for one table and chair. Most of the time we imagine what we are enacting; in one shot I am walking through glass. We have to enact without the glass actually being in the frame, which will be added later in graphics. That character has potential to set me apart from the ‘eye candy’ image associated with me.”
Sneha made her debut in the south in 2008 and observes that people follow a safe pattern of film making. “If there is a beautiful film with a different concept, they don’t want it; filmmakers here are forced to do something that people like — the mirch masala,” adds Sneha, upset with questions about any Telugu film without a dance number. “Only if the public get fed up watching the same old routine will we get to see something different,” she avers.
How does she spend her time? The actor has become a home bird. She says, “My friends find me boring since I am busy with meetings and shooting.”