National best actress awardee Priya Mani has reason to smile. She talks to Deepa Venkatraman about sharing centrestage with Shah Rukh Khan for ‘1,2,3,4…’, a duppan kuthu dance number in the forthcoming Chennai Express, her bonding with the team and cousin Vidya Balan

You have played serious character roles in Raavan and Rakta Charitra. What made you do this dance number?

I accepted to do as it was coming from Shah Rukh Khan and Rohit Shetty. I have grown up watching Shah Rukh’s movies and I am a big fan of his and Rohit. Vishal-Shekhar have composed this peppy song. It is not a regular ‘item number’. This was a great opportunity, one that I didn’t want to miss.

‘1,2,3,4 get on the dance floor’ has got over a lakh hits on YouTube. How does it feel?

Before the audio launch itself, the song’s video was released, and I am happy that people worldwide have liked it.

How did the song happen?

I got a call from the Chennai Express team asking me if I was interested in doing a dance number. When I met Rohit in Mumbai, he explained the sequence in detail and I immediately agreed. I would say I was lucky.

What forms of dancing do you enjoy the most? Are you a trained dancer?

I have not learnt any particular dance form but I enjoy dancing. However, I have attended a basic course in salsa, and I have danced at school and college events.

What is your opinion of SRK’s dancing?

SRK was doing duppan kuthu for the first time and so he worked really hard. Raju Sundaram, our choreographer wanted Shah Rukh to get the feel of the dance. No matter how late it was, he used to rehearse and then come on to give his best shot.

Any interesting anecdotes during the shoot?

The whole set was very chilled out. Between the takes we had good fun. Shah Rukh used to get his iPad and we would play KBC quizzes. Even Deepika joined the gang.

Post your stunning performance in Paruthiveeran, you are seen a lot more in Telugu and Kannada films.

Although I started off in Kollywood and the industry gave me the recognition Malaikottai, Thotta, Arumugam Ninaithale Inikkum I want to do more. I have been getting Tamil movie offers but none have been to my satisfaction. I need the complete package — a good script, a great director, a well-known banner and hero.

Do you believe in being “number one”?

I don’t believe in being “number one”. I am satisfied with where I am. If that was the goal, I would have done many movies but my objective is quality and not quantity. I wish to do two good movies in a year.

You and Vidya Balan are related. Have you met her and what do you have to say about her acting?

I have not met her yet but I do hope to soon. She is a fantastic actor and I am a big fan of hers. I loved her in Parineeta, Dirty Picture and Kahaani. I am yet to catch up on Ghanchakkar.

What are your upcoming movies?

Director Samudra’s Chandi, a Telugu movie is about to be completed. It is a heroine-centric film. Where do you see yourself five years from now? I would see myself happily married. As of now I am married to my work.