Ashrita Vemuganti Nanduri on 'keeping it classic'

Dancer and actor Ashrita Vemuganti Nanduri talks about how she balances hardcore classical dance with commercial cinema.

Published: 23rd January 2021 10:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th January 2021 01:20 PM   |  A+A-

YS Vijayamma in Yatra

YS Vijayamma in Yatra

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Soon after her song Kanna Nidurinchara along with actor Anushka Shetty for Baahubali 2: The Conclusion hit the theatres in 2017, everyone sat up and noticed Ashrita Vemuganti Nanduri. They even said she stole the thunder right from Anushka’s nose with her amazing ‘haava bhaavalu’.

Cut to 2021, the classical dancer has inspired some well-meaning memes for her role in the latest Ravi Teja-starrer Krack. Between the two timelines, she said she worked at her own pace and on her own terms, but feeling happy and blissful all the time.

While she is humble and grateful for getting featured in a song like that, she realised the actual impact soon after the release of the movie and a Punjabi recognized her for her role in an international airport in the US even though she was dressed in reading glasses and a casual T-shirt.

“That was the moment I realised the real power of cinema,” she confesses. She believes that opportunities favour the meritorious and one has got to wait for the right one to come by, without giving up or getting desperate, just like she did. Wait for the one she deserves.

She also knows that the industry is volatile. “One has to always be ready for anything in the industry. We may have done great work with a good crew, but one never knows what impact we will make onscreen. Being patient and hopeful are two virtues I standby,” she says. Having essayed the role of YS Vijayamma in Yatra, she is hungry for more.

“Playing a real person who enjoys the love and goodwill of lakhs of people is always a challenge for any actor. But having done such good work, it is only natural that I wait up for an equally impactful role,” says the actor who is on a break and wants to pursue her first love – Bharatanatyam. She currently teaches a select number of students online through her dance studio Sadyoni which she started at Madhapur in 2019.

While she is not prepping for a role, this dance researcher is busy writing her MPhil thesis. “I am translating a 19th century Telugu text called Sabha Ranjani into English. Decoding it for the current generation is what I am working on,” she says.

She credits her mom Dr Geeta Vemuganti for her love for dance. And her gurus Priya Karthikeyan, Rajeshwari Sainath and Smitha Madhav. Ashrita is also hosting a tele series titled Mathru Devobhava for HMTV on achievers and their relationship with their moms. She also had the opportunity to work on two live shows with legendary director K Vishwanath for a television channel.

“For dancers and artistes, he is God,” she says like a fan girl.

However, Ashrita is a bigger fan of another man, husband  and her biggest critic Raghu Vamsi, a biomedical engineer. Says he is part of what she is now – an actor, dancer, teacher, researcher, homemaker, a TEDx speaker and perhaps a dance therapist in future.

“I have always found a unique dynamic between dance and healing. I want to explore dance as a therapy for special kids,” she says.

As of now, she is on cloud nine as she has wrapped up an ad with top stars of India including Amitabh Bachchan for a jewellery commercial.

“Even Big B would call me Baahubali girl when were shooting earlier this year, before the lockdown,” she adds. “For now, I am waiting to see myself in that advertisement onscreen. How lucky am I,” she giggles like a little girl before she signs off.


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