Coming from a gene pool that includes Ulaga Nayagan Kamal Haasan and Sarika, there have always been great expectations from her. And yet singer-actress Shruti Haasan, the fascinating progeny showed not a trace of nervousness at the release of her film Poojai this Diwali.
After all in an industry where papa dearest is a superstar, Shruti has not exactly tasted success, with her previous two outings 7Aum Arivu and 3 not setting the box office on fire. But the light-eyed actress says she has cared more about the roles and the characters. And the desire to try out new roles in different genres is possibly what attracted Shruti to play the character of Divya in Poojai. So what’s Divya like? “Divya is a young girl who has traditional values but a modern outlook—she’s a blend of the old and the new.”
And before you can swear it seems like déjà vu, the actress quickly interjects that the interaction between Divya and the hero has a dramatic track that’s different from anything you’d expect. Hero this time is the tall, dark and brooding Vishal, who has also turned producer with this film and with whom Shruti has been acquainted for long, though this is their first professional pairing. “Vishal is a very good co-star. In fact, Vishal Film Factory is one of the nicer productions I’ve worked in,” says Shruti.
Of course, there’s a third person in this equation who will be guiding the destiny of the film, other than the glamorous lead pair. And that’s director Hari, the man with the Midas touch (remember Saamy, Aaru, Ayya Vel, Singham) who will be looking to replicate his magic with Poojai. “Working with Hari was definitely an interesting experience,” says the actress, adding, “He has a great insight into the masses and understands the pulse of the audience. His films are commercial potboilers, with Poojai leaning heavily on family sentiment and that’s something I really liked.”
All said, at the moment Shruti’s got a good thing going, as she flits from Bollywood (notwithstanding her dud debut Luck) to Telugu to Tamil. As to the former, there’s Rocky Handsome with John Abraham, Yaara with Irrfan Khan, Gabbar with Akshay Kumar and she’s also one of the newest additions to the madcap comedy Welcome Back. The actress has found her niche in Telugu cinema too—her films Gabbar Singh (remake of Dabangg) and Balupu were blockbusters. And 2014 has already seen the release of Yevadu and Race Gurram. Vijay’s film with director Chimbudevan is another biggie in Tamil that’s coming her way.
Be it any industry, strategising and planning for a film’s release is very important and with Poojai’s release during Diwali, that’s half the battle won. Having been witness to many releases of her father’s films, the hype and expectations that come with a Diwali release featuring top actors and directors is something Shruti understands. So any butterflies in the stomach we wonder? “I am never nervous about a film release because I do the best that I can and do justice to what the director requires. After that it’s really in God’s and audience’s hands. For me every release day is a special day.”
Spoken like a champ, we think. Though there is more to Shruti than good looks, a mean bod and sensuous voice. In between her hectic schedule, Shruti ensures she makes time for social causes, following in the footsteps of her father who has lent his support to numerous causes. Recently, the actress gave her support to the cause of women in the ‘Reach for the Sky’ campaign, besides raising awareness for AIDS.
As we wind up the interview, we throw her a bouncer—why should the audience watch Poojai? Unperturbed, she lobs it right back at us, “It’s a complete family entertainer, and a great way to spend time with your family this festive season.”