Somehow, I end up playing murderous characters: Anushka Shetty
The actor's gearing up for the release of her multilingual, Bhaagamathie, talks about why she chose the film, and what she generally looks for in her characters
Anushka Shetty doesn’t want to reveal too much about Bhaagamathie. “I don’t want to give away spoilers,” she smiles. She assures though that the ‘historical horror-thriller’ that is getting released next week, will be quite different from her recent films, Rudhramadevi and Baahubali.
The actor, who was in the city yesterday for promotions of the film, reveals that she plays an IAS officer called Sanchala in the film. Director Ashok had apparently narrated Bhaagamathie’s script to Anushka as far back as in 2012. She says, “The makers had to wait for more than four years because I was committed to Lingaa, Size Zero, Baahubali 1 & 2.” She also clears the air by pointing out that Bhaagamathie isn’t based on a true story. “It’s purely fictitious.”
Anushka agreed to do the film owing to two reasons—the production house (UV Creations), and the script. “Whenever I accept a project, I do it wholeheartedly, and try to transform myself for the character. Take Inji Iduppazhagi, for instance. I gained and lost weight for the film. While Bhaagamathie didn’t need such transformation, it has still allowed me enough scope for performance. All credit goes to Ashok,” she says.
• I don’t subscribe to newspapers. I have very little time to read.
• Rana Daggubati calls me ‘bro’, and I call him that too. I enjoy working with him.
• I’ve given up on marriage plans. Help me find a good guy, will you?
• Prabhas is a good friend. Not a brother, you ask? Ellarum brother-na epdi?
• Deiva Thirumagal and Thaandavam are among my favourite films.
• I am a big admirer of Rajinikanth and Ajith
• Vijay is the filmmaker I like the most. The rapport you share with a director really matters
It’s a female-oriented script, but Anushka doesn’t want to make much of that. “I don’t understand when someone asks why I do only female-oriented films. We are only focusing on presenting good scripts, trusting that the audience will embrace new initiatives.”
It isn’t enough for her that her character is important. “The story itself must be convincing. Bhaagamathie, has fantastic characters for actors like Jayaram garu, Asha Sarath, and Unni Mukundan. Though the film revolves around me, everyone has a solid role to play.”
The actor hopes to be a part of stories that appeal across languages. “But it’s not like I want to do only films like Baahubali. I’d love to do romantic dramas. I am not a huge fan of thrillers, but I have now ended up being a part of one because I was moved by the story,” she says. “Azhaga, breezy-a padam pannanum nu aasai, but somehow, I always end up having to kill people with swords and knives,”she laughs.
Anushka expresses gratitude to Shyam Prasad Reddy, the producer of Arundhati. “If he hadn’t given me a chance to act, I’d not be around today. It was he who first showed conviction in me.” Recalling her initial days in films, she says, “I never planned things. I have always taken life as it comes. I didn’t even know it was okay to listen to a story before signing a project. I was clueless. It was then that Puri Jagannadh (director of Super) told me how things worked. From then to now, I can see I’ve come a long way!”
The makers of Bhaagamathie have shot the film simultaneously in Telugu, Tamil, and Malayalam. “It wasn’t easy. Usually, my films have a huge star cast. But in this film, many scenes feature only me. It was challenging for me to pull off those sequences due to such limited human interaction,” she says.
“The background score plays an important role in the film. There are not many songs, but we have a montage number that melds beautifully with the situation.”
On her upcoming projects, she says, “I couldn’t do many films post-Baahubali because I was on a sabbatical. But hey, there’s this untitled project with Gautham Menon. Whenever they make the film, I’m in. Also, I’d love to team up with SS Rajamouli garu again!”
Bhaagamathie is neither a period drama nor a biopic. It’s a contemporary thriller. Anushka has contributed her best for this film. She was on a rigorous diet regime and dropped 20 kg for her role. I’ve never seen a dedicated artiste like her.