I can’t believe how much people love Hayati. Everywhere I went in Hyderabad people would call me Heart Attack Hayati. It was crazy and very cool,” laughs a still dazed Adah Sharma. The 20-something from Pali Hill in Mumbai’s western suburb of Bandra, made her debut in Tollywood with Puri Jagannadh’s Heart Attack a fortnight ago.
It was a chance meeting with the director over a year ago in Mumbai that got Adah a role in one of the most awaited films in Tollywood. “Puri sir said he would call me if he had a really nice role for a girl. A couple of months later that call came and I was asked to audition. I have heard that Puri sir normally selects the lead himself but this time he left the decision to the unit. So, everyone is responsible for me getting this film.”
It’s been an exciting two weeks for Adah who debuted in Bollywood with Vikram Bhatt’s horror saga 1920. A week after Heart Attack hit theatres, the actress had another release— Dharma Production’s Hasee Toh Phasee as the second lead with Parineeti Chopra and Siddharth Malhotra. “I got to be a Puri Jagannadh and Dharma heroine in the space of one year. I never thought this would happen and now everything is happening at the same time. It’s mad but good mad,” she adds with a laugh.
Both films were shot back-to-back last year. “The song Shake it Like Shammi was what we shot the last for Hasee Toh Phasee. I finished shooting that and flew to Goa the same evening. That night I was shooting the first scene for Heart Attack in Goa. It was the climax scene where I was supposed to be drugged. Doing such polar opposite scenes within 24 hours was so exciting.”
Adah was barely in her teens when she knew that she wanted to be an actress. But before she decided on this one profession, there were others that she considered. “I wanted to join the circus, then paint hoardings. At some point, I also wanted to become a farmer.” But it was her passion for dance that steered Adah towards acting. “I have been dancing since I was three. I started learning jazz and ballet. In Class 8, I started kathak. I went to the US a couple of years ago to learnt salsa for four months. I am very good at belly dancing too and I can’t wait to showcase it in a film at some point.” Dance is not just a passion but also how Adah keeps fit. “I also do gymnastics and malkhamb, so I alternate between these instead of going to the gym.”
Coming from a non-filmi family means that Adah has gone through the gruelling process of figuring out the inner workings of Bollywood and Tollywood on her own. “My mom is really pretty and when I was younger, I’d ask her why didn’t she become an actress. If she was an actress, life would have been so much simpler for me. I would have been offered a film in my teens or would have been discovered on a filmset,” she says with a loud dramatic sigh, followed by a giggle. “But I am so glad that I have started my journey as an actress. It’s only going to get better from here on.” With Jagannadh having announced his next with Mahesh Babu and Adah, Tollywood is going to see a lot more of this looker.