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Updated: June 22, 2011 15:58 IST

Reality bites

Sangeetha Devi Dundoo
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Priya Anand. Photo: Special Arrangement
The Hindu
Priya Anand. Photo: Special Arrangement

It's high time we look beyond stereotyped NRIs on screen, says Priya Anand

Priya Anand is as livewire off screen as she is on screen. She was the talkative, love-struck television journalist in Leader and a bubbly village belle in Rama Rama Krishna Krishna. “For a change, I get to play a suave NRI and wear good clothes in 180,” she laughs. The role of an NRI is something she can relate to in real life, having done her higher studies in the US. “I wonder why many of our movies resort to stereotyped portrayals of NRI women. They are often shown as rich, spoilt brats. In this film, I play Renuka Narayan, a young girl who is good at mimicry and makes use of this talent when the situation arises. The emotions are true to real life and there are so many shades to the character.”

We know her excitement is for real when she says, “I am glad things are changing and the demarcation of lead and second lead are blurring. 180 is driven by three pivotal characters. I don't know if I'd get another film like this. As director Jayendra often mentioned to us while shooting, I'll be glad if people reflect on their lives at least for two minutes after watching this film.”

At ease with both Telugu and Tamil, Priya worked in Tamil films Pugaippadam and Vamanan before Leader happened to her. “I thought it was a joke when I got a call saying that Sekhar Kammula zeroed in on my picture through Facebook. Only after I met him was I convinced that I'd be a part of Leader,” she reminisces. She reveals that meeting Jayendra, too, happened by chance: “One of the executive producers of Leader, who was also on board for 180, asked me to meet Jayendra. I thought I'd never stand a chance to work with a reputed adman like Jayendra. Barring Siddharth and senior actors like Geetha and Mouli, all of us had to audition for our roles.”

Ask her about dubbing her own voice for Tamil and Telugu versions of 180 and she reveals , “My mother is a Tamilian and my father is Telugu-Marathi. I am fluent in Tamil. When I was shooting for Leader, I was given a three-page dialogue sheet for my introduction scene with Rana. It was tough initially and I brushed up on my Telugu. I dubbed for Leader and now, 180. I can see the improvement in my Telugu diction.”

Prod her on the significance of the number 180 and she quips, “For the last one year, during the making of the film, we kept the significance as a secret. If I reveal it now, director Jayendra will kill me. There are speculations — whether it refers to a street, house number, or the diametrically opposite characters of me and Nithya — but I am not allowed to reveal anything.”

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