Shriya Saran, I’m told by the PR person, can only afford to speak for 7-8 minutes.
“She has no time!”
The actor, who’s just finished launching the Samsung New Galaxy J&A smartphone series, begins by reflecting on her career. In a career spanning 17 years, Shriya, last seen in the disastrous Anbanavan Asaradhavan Adangadhavan (in Tamil), has done 70 plus films in four languages.
Her career, she says, is the sum of the decisions she has made. “Things go the way they go. We can’t really plan for anything. I have had my shares of highs and lows,” she philosophises.
Shriya feels that her journey has been personally fulfilling. “I have learned to be more responsible. I’ve had the opportunity of working with some of the stalwarts of the industry, and that has changed my perspective of cinema. I got to observe how they dealt with work and life. Every film, in fact, changes you drastically,” she adds.
She never thought she would be in films this long. “I didn’t want to be an actor. Looking back, I feel happy because I still am working. Initially, I wanted to do some good films and quit. But the moment I got to work with passionate actors, my perception changed. I began taking the craft seriously.”
The screen life of a heroine is still shorter than the hero’s, she says. “It’s still a male-dominated industry. Generally, scripts offer more scope for heroes. It has always been, and will continue to be so. And hey, Hollywood is no exception in this regard,” she adds.
Shriya admits to getting angry when asked why she’s not acting in many films. “Such questions needed to be directed to filmmakers. I don’t write my scripts. An actor doesn’t get to decide. We can only choose the best from what’s been offered to us!”And she is not happy with the roles she is offered in Tamil cinema. “It’s better in Telugu. At least, I am not being stereotyped in Telugu cinema. I’ve done a variety of films, like Manam and Gautamiputra Satakarni.”
She isn’t emotionally attached to her films anymore. “I have made some major mistakes. I realised I am not good at judging scripts. There are films that I regret doing.” The actor dislikes story narrations. “They tell you something, and shoot something else. I prefer to read, but very few filmmakers give me complete, written scripts. Mostly, they develop ideas when they start shooting, and I don’t understand the process at all.”
Now, she wants to work only with filmmakers she can connect with. She cites Krish (of Gautamiputra Satakarni-fame) and Naragasooran-director Karthick Naren as examples. “They are both fantastic. Karthick is just like me. I can trust these guys completely. Even if they change something in the script, I know it will be for the better.”About Naragasooran, she says, “It’s a beautiful script.” She says she could not stop reading it. “Every actor moves the story forward, and it reads like a well-written novel. I knew immediately I’d be in safe hands,” she says.