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‘Dude, I have bigger things to worry about’

Something must have been bothering Shruti Haasan during our conversation. What, I am not sure, and of course, I didn’t ask.

The interview began innocuously enough when I asked her about the comedy film she’s signed with her father, Kamal Haasan. “I’ve wanted to work with him for a really long time,” she said, tersely. She has previously been quoted in a newspaper, saying that he has always wanted her to return to music. She made her film debut as a composer, after all, in Kamal’s film, Unnaipol Oruvan . And so, I asked her if he took a while to warm up to the idea of her becoming an actress. “I have always wanted to become an actress. I’m sure he’s appreciative of that.” Another terse response. I wondered if she’s been asked this question a lot of times over the years.

Shrugging it away, I asked her a pretty generic question. How does she evaluate her career so far? She responded with “being at a crossroad of sorts”. “I’ve done some critically acclaimed films, and many blockbusters. I love the idea of being a star.”

The response took me to the recent Panchu Arunachalam documentary, in which the producer-writer mentions that Kamal Haasan was never really a fan of commercial films. Does he wish she did more serious, meaningful cinema? “Whenever we have discussed this, I’ve always told him that a heroine doesn’t get the same opportunities to do such films as a hero does.” Does she wish the situation was different? “No, it is what it is.”

That was the end of that thread, so I began a new one.

I pointed out that she’s more successful in Telugu cinema. She’s had more blockbusters there. She disagreed instantly.

I moved on, hoping that a compliment would lighten up the interview. She worked with Vijay and Ajith last year. She’s doing S3 , the third film in the Singam franchise, with Suriya, this year. “I thought you said I’m not successful here?” she retorted. I had touched a nerve somewhere. I said it wasn’t my intention to slight her. “All right, okay.”

About S3 , she said it is a “different and dynamic role that is pivotal to the story.” When I asked her if the character had been named yet, she said the director would be a better person to discuss that with. What about her role in Majnu , the Telugu remake of Premam ? There was some uproar about a leaked picture from the sets, with some fans of the Malayalam original assuming that Shruti was playing the role with a lot of makeup. “Dude, I have bigger things to worry about.” When prodded, she mentioned that she hated wearing a lot of makeup and has interpreted Malar in her own way.

It was time to end the conversation. I asked if she felt annoyed when people credited her genes for her acting ability. “As long as they don’t say I got nothing from him.”

Had this been a pleasanter conversation, I may have laughed harder at this parting joke.

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Printable version | May 13, 2021 5:23:07 PM |

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