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The new brigade takes over

Regina Cassandra. Photo: Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar   | Photo Credit: CH_VIJAYA BHASKAR

For an actor to get a foothold in the industry, it helps if he hails from a prominent film family or has the backing of a leading producer or director. There are exceptions to the rule, but getting an entry, making your presence felt with a hit and staying on firm ground isn’t easy without support.

Live wire

Naga Shourya isn’t exactly the find of 2014. He made his debut in the 2011 film Cricket, Girls a`1nd Beer. Remember it? Most audience and members of the industry don’t. Shourya remained a struggling actor until he was selected by Srinivas Avasarala for Oohalu Gusagusalade. “I wanted someone handsome. Naga Shourya fit the part. I gave him the script written in Telugu. He has a good grasp of Telugu and a sense of humour, all of which helped,” says Avasarala.

Shourya was also part of the ensemble cast of Chandamama Kathalu. But it was Oohalu…, regarded one of the best romances of 2014, which pushed him to fame.

The industry’s vagaries caught up with him, soon. Dikkulu Choodaku Ramayya, with an unusual story of a father and son falling for the same girl, received a mixed response. His next, Lakshmi Raave Maa Intiki, didn’t evoke as much as a flutter. This year, he has a project with director Nandini Reddy among others.

New territory

Oohalu… also ushered in a vivacious female lead — Rashi Khanna. Her casting was a gamble, says Avasarala. “She was shy, didn’t know Telugu,” he remembers. But when he gave her an English script, she learnt her lines and hit the right note. An English honours graduate from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi, Raashi had earlier acted in Madras Café. “I had heard that there wouldn’t be much to do for a heroine in a Telugu film. But here I was, with so many lines to learn. We had a one-week workshop and with a friend’s help, I learnt the meaning of Telugu lines in Hindi,” she says. Rashi knew she was on to something good but the film’s overwhelming response took her by surprise. Her second film Joru was a box-office turkey. Rashiis now working on a new film with Gopichand.

The express races ahead

Venkatadri Express
released in November 2013, became a hit and the after effects were there to see in 2014. Rakul Preet Singh became the new darling, almost. Loukyam with Gopichand was a success. She also got noticed in Yaariyan and Current Theega, and the audience was willing to overlook Rough, which sank at the BO.

Now, working in Ramesh Sippy’s Shimla Mirchi, Surender Reddy’s Kick 2 and Pandaga Chesko, she looks forward to another fulfilling year. “I was working for 350 of the 365 days, touchwood. This is just the beginning,” she says. Talking about her upcoming films, she says, “I am a confident, independent girl in Shimla Mirchi and an environmentalist who takes herself too seriously in Pandaga Chesko. I have an author-backed role in Kick 2.”

Meanwhile, asserting herself quietly was Regina Cassandra. She’s been part of Tamil films for a few years, but in Telugu, got noticed with the 2012 film Routine Love Story. The past year saw her in a brief role with Ravi Teja in Power and with Sundeep Kishan in Ra Ra Krishnayya and pitched opposite newcomer Sai Dharam Tej in Pilla Nuvvu Leni Jeevitam. Next up are Shankara with Nara Rohit and Harish Shankar’s Subramanyam for Sale with Sai Dharam Tej.


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Printable version | Jun 12, 2021 11:15:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/newcomers-in-tollywood-this-year/article6748611.ece

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