Priya Anand tells K. Jeshi that she is living in the moment and enjoys shooting non-stop for Hindi and Tamil films

“Life is superb,” declares actor Priya Anand on the phone. She is wrapping up her third Hindi film Fukrey, and is shooting somewhere in the middle of a forest near Mumbai. “It’s been amazing. Everything is awesome,” she says. Priya auditioned for Priyadarshan’s Rangrezz and Mrighdeep Singh Lamba’s Fukrey on the same day, and was lucky enough to bag both films.

Rangrezz, releasing this month, is a Hindi remake of the Tamil film Naadodigal. The story about friendship and love had a big impact in Tamil. Rangrezz is different from the usual commercial fare. “It’s a part of sensible cinema that is being remade,” says the actor. “Some changes have been made in the Hindi film to suit a pan-Indian audience. Megha the Marathi girl I play packs a punch. She’s fun-loving. My take on Megha will be fresh and very different from the body language, mannerism and the bubbly nature of the character you saw in Tamil.”

Rangrezz has director Priyadarshan and cinematographer Santosh Sivan coming together after a gap of 18 years. Kaalapani was their last film. “I am lucky to have got an opportunity to work with a big filmmaker like Priyadarshan. It’s been a quick film and a memorable one. Santosh Sivan is a magic maker. The way he captures his actors is artistic. How I look in Rangrezz is how I am,” she says.

In Tamil, she awaits the release of Edhir Neechal produced by actor Dhanush. She is paired with Sivakarthikeyan (“one of my favourite co-actors”). “Dhanush has a huge audience base and it’s going to be a big release for me. Edhir Neechal is a city-based story with no cheap comedy, vulgar dialogues or inappropriate scenes. Music by Aniruddh is already a big hit. A number of online fans are curious about the picturisation of the romantic song ‘Velicha poove vaa’,” she says.

With back-to-back releases in Tamil and Hindi, the actor is happy. “The biggest plus is that I can pick and choose. I don’t look for a star hero or a big project, but a good role. In Fukrey, a Farhan Akhtar production, I step out of my comfort zone and play a typical Punjabi girl. As a South Indian, it was quite a challenge to bring out the nuances of a Punjabi girl. While playing a Marathi girl in English Vinglish and Rangrezz, I had some reference points as my grandmother is Maharashtrian.”

Priya Anand is 10 films old and most of her on-screen characters are simple and straightforward. “It takes a lot of hard work to deliver an effortless performance,” she says and credits it all to her directors. “I am in awe of Lamba. And Jayendra projected me so well in 180. Balki and Gowri Shinde moulded me in English Vinglish. And, the learning curve just got better with Priyadarshan.”

She respects her on-screen characters and approaches them with an open mind to add a new dimension. “I was Sridevi’s sidekick in English Vinglish. But, I wasn’t intimidated. I got appreciation for standing next to Sridevi and still holding my own.”

In Telugu, Priya has been part of films such as Leader, Rama Rama Krishna Krishna and Ko Antey Koti (“My role Sathya in Ko… is my favourite. Had I been born in a village, I would have lived my life exactly the way Sathya lives in the film”, she says). “I love cinema and want to be part of films that make sense. Tamil cinema has been wonderful. Look at the success of offbeat films such as Paruthi Veeran, Angadi Theru, Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom... there’s plenty of opportunity for everyone.” About the ‘100-crore-club’ in Bollywood, Priya asks: “Why not? Why should only Hollywood films make money? But, we too need films like Rangrezz.”

Priya Anand’s 11th film is a romcom directed by Krithika Udhayanidhi. “I am enjoying the present … I have been shooting non-stop; it’s been crazy but wonderful.”