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Shruti unplugged

Shruti Haasan  

News began trickling in last week that Shruti Haasan was on board director C Sundar’s period film Sanghamitra, which also stars Arya and Jayam Ravi. The Tamil film, which will also be released in Hindi and Telugu, is reportedly being planned with a budget of Rs.150 crore. Is it a fiction, historical or part-history, past-fiction? Does Sanghamitra refer to emperor Ashoka’s daughter who propagated Buddhism?

Shruti Haasan breaks into a hearty laugh when these questions are posed to her. “It’s not emperor Ashoka’s daughter. But I can’t say anything more, not even whether it’s a historical. Right now I am only allowed to talk like I am walking on egg shells. All I can say is I am thankful to Sundar sir for selecting me and I’ve begun preparing for the film,” she says.

Is she looking at what could be the biggest film in her career? “I don’t put that pressure on myself. I take a balanced approach and enjoy the process,” she quips.

Filled with gratitude

After the box office success of Singam 3, the attention is on Katamarayudu co-starring Pawan Kalyan. When Shruti talks about this remake of Veeram (Tamil) and working with Pawan, you can sense her gratitude, “I look at Pawan Kalyan a little differently from my other co-stars. He worked with me at a time when many others were doubtful of my ability. My career wasn’t really doing well. He and director Harish Shankar stuck to their decision and wanted me to be a part of Gabbar Singh. The film changed things for me. I have huge respect to both of them for that.”

If Gabbar Singh gave her the much-needed hit in Telugu, Race Gurram and Srimanthudu bolstered her position further. “We can only play the parts we are offered and I had huge fun in Race Gurram. It was wonderful to go through those extreme comic moments and robotic expressions. And Koratala Siva gave me a beautiful, subtle character in Srimanthudu. That kind of work comes from years of experience as a writer. He became a director after 15 years as a writer and that showed. My part was like the backbone to the film and the reason for Mahesh’s transformation,” she reflects.

When she was roped in to reprise Sai Pallavi’s part for Premam remake, trolls went overboard. “Everyone has an opinion and the right to express it. But this case was an example of absolute lack of logic and I thought, what nonsense! The film hadn’t even released. As actors we choose a film with a certain amount of clarity and I’m glad director Chandoo (Mondeti) was a strong anchor during those times,” she says. In fact, Chandoo had stated that her presence perked distributors’ interest in the film. “Ultimately Sithara was loved and that’s all matters to me,” maintains Shruti.

Juggling films in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi for the last eight years, she says, “I feel blessed that I’ve worked with so many wonderful people, who’ve helped me grow as a professional.”

She has the romantic comedy Behen Hogi Teri co-starring Rajkummar Rao and Sabaash Naidu directed by Kamal Haasan to look forward to. She says it hasn’t been easy working with her father, “He doesn’t take anything for granted because he is Kamal Haasan and he expects the same from everyone. It’s quite challenging to work with him. He’s so passionate about what he does and it’s hugely inspiring.”

Music matters

Shruti Haasan

Shruti Haasan  

In between all her film commitments, she took time off in 2016 to do something else she loves — to make music — Shruti Haasan Unblushed for Culture Machine’s digital channel and announced her collaboration with British band Dinosaur Pile-Up. There are more collaborations coming up, she says, but won’t talk about it now.

She’s aware that whether she’s acting or making music, everything comes with a bag of expectations. “I think even if you are a housewife, there’s no escaping expectations. But there’s a joy in it. Everyone goes through a struggle, whether making music or acting. In India, it’s so tough to be an independent musician and make yourself heard amid all the film music. You’ll have anxious moments not knowing if you’ll get a call for a gig. Ultimately, we all do things because we love our job,” she signs off.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2020 11:31:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/As-Shruti-Haasan-gears-up-for-the-period-drama-%E2%80%98Sanghamitra%E2%80%99-she-gets-talking-on-career-highs-and-dealing-with-the-not-so-high-moments/article17325037.ece

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