“It is a nightmare to watch myself on screen”

Shraddha is astounded her screen journey has begun  

‘Here, take the script. When you reach the interval, come and tell me what you think of the story.’ This is what filmmaker Pawan Kumar said when he handed the script of U Turn to her, says Shraddha Srinath.

“I read it and when I reached the interval, I rushed to him and said ‘I have no time to talk to you right now. Please let me read the rest of the story. Then, I’ll tell you what I think.’ He laughed and said this was already a good response to the story,” recalls Shraddha during a phone interview. Barely recovering from all the excitement surrounding her first film, Shraddha still sounds a bit astounded that her journey as a movie actor has actually begun. The experience at the premiere in New York was overwhelming, she adds. And last week, when she walked into Bhumika theatre, clad in a long blue dress, one could discern a sense of nervous delight from her demeanour there too. The cameras followed her to the doors of the theatre and she stood there smiling consciously.

Ask her what it feels like to see her on screen and she says, “It is a nightmare for me to watch myself on screen. Luckily, the audience didn’t think so when they saw me,” she says with a chuckle. Originally a stage actor with theatre groups like Jugaad Co., Playtonik, Barking Dog productions, Shraddha was seen in plays such as A Box of Shorts, Take it or leave it, Vagina Monologues, Leila Alvarez’s musical, Curtains etc. So, her tryst with films happened in the “most unsuspecting manner. When Pawan called for auditions, a friend suggested I apply. There was a form on his website which required me to attach three pictures, links to my work etc. I felt that the form didn’t cover everything I wanted to say in my application. So, I got Pawan Kumar’s email and sent him a detailed mail. In less than 24 hours, I got a reply,” she says. He then called her for an audition soon. “For the first audition, he asked me to enact the first scene from the film. It was a bit scary. Then, when I went home, he had sent me a WhatsApp audio with a couple of suggestions, spelling out what he liked and what he didn’t. He also said my Kannada did not sound very convincing. My heart sank. I thought there was no chance I’d get this role,” she recollects.

But then, there was a second and a third audition and Shraddha did prove her mettle for she was eventually chosen for the role. What is Pawan Kumar’s process like? “He gave me a set of instructions, told me a bit about what he wanted Rachana to be like, and that’s it. He asked me to take it from there. He doesn’t nitpick or spoon feed. The story of Rachana is less about the journalist and more about the girl. She is inquisitive and believes in following rules, she won’t back down when there is injustice. She is brave, ambitious, strong and an independent woman. I did my research, watched movies with reporters in it to get to know their depiction and pick what works for Rachana and what doesn’t,” she says.

Was she apprehensive about joining an industry where there are such few strong roles for women? “I feel things are changing already. There are a lot of young filmmakers who have been assistants so far and have some really good ideas. Maybe they don’t have enough experience. I’ve already been approached by some of them saying ‘Madam, there is a performance oriented role for you’.” Shraddha has begun work on Urvi, her next Kannada film, with an all-woman lead cast starring Shruthi Hariharan and Shwetha Pandit and will begin shooting for another film in June, a project of the Simplagi… banner.

Happy that it was U Turn that launched her, she says, “Even if I wasn’t a part of the film, I think I would have still felt that this is a film that one can really relate to as a resident of Bengaluru. It is so real. It could happen to anyone.”

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 5:30:32 AM |

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