Sanjjanaa Galrani: I am done with controversies in my life
The actor has ventured into the TV space after a decade in cinema
The Galrani sisters are popular across South cinema. While Nikki Galrani is more famous in Tamil cinema, Sanjjanaa is the bigger star in Kannada and Telugu cinema. The latter jokes that when she’s in Chennai, she’s known as Nikki’s sister. “But the same happens to Nikki when she travels to Karnataka and Andhra,” she says with a laugh. After over a decade in cinema and having acted with many top heroes in Telugu and Kannada, Sanjjanaa has now ventured into TV with the big-budget Swarna Khadgam produced by Arka Media of Baahubali-fame.
Your debut was in Tamil cinema. But you haven't acted in the industry after that.
When I did this film called Oru Kadhal Seiveer more than a decade ago, I was studying Class 11. I did it just for the experience, and the film too was only meant for festivals. But Ganda Hendathi (2006, Kannada) got released first and I was soon offered a role in a Puri Jagannadh film. Once the makers of the Tamil film realised I was getting famous, they decided to release it to cash in. And now it's listed as my debut. It's all a mess.
Do I sense some resentment?
It is just that Wiki lists films I haven't even done and refuses to accept films I have done like The King and the Commissioner. I have done films with Mammootty, Mohanlal, Prabhas, Pawan Kalyan, and Puri Jagannadh sir, not to mention some really great women-centric roles. But none of these are listed online.
On reflection, I think all of us go through regrets, be it Trisha, Nayanthara, Anushka or whoever has been here for as long as I have. You then reach a saturation point after running behind trees and heroes for so long. Trust me, I would still love to do that. It is less work and more fame. But then, at the end of the day, it is about balance. You have to do certain things to satisfy yourself also.
Is that why you decided to venture into the TV space with the serial, Swarna Khadgam?
Firstly, I don’t think it’s right to call it a serial, which is typically shot with a budget of 2-3 lakhs and conjures up visuals of crying characters. Swarna Khadgam, on the other hand, is shot with a budget of 38-40 lakhs per episode. Take just the locations alone: My kingdom as well as that of the hero's and villain's combined cost close to seven crores to create. Also, though it is made in Telugu, it is available in 10 languages all over India.
So tell us about how you got to work in this series?
I was working on Dandupalya 2 and 2 Countries, and had just finished Sardar Gabbar Singh, when I got a call from Arka Media that made Baahubali. You don't get a call from such a big production house every day, so I took the next flight out to Hyderabad. When I signed it, it was just to be made in Telugu. Now, it has been released in Tamil and Bangla, and will be released in Oriya on August 5 and in Hindi in October, once we have 60-70 episodes in the bank.
What is the series about?
Manipuram Mahasamrajyam is the biggest and the most prosperous empire of its times, the reason being the swarna khadgam/golden sword. The villain is a powerful man who has done penance and secured magical powers, but he is not royalty. So the goddess who gives him his powers says that he has to get the coveted golden sword to rule the known world. I play a powerful character called Maharani Mahadatri who has her own triangular love story too in addition to the primary story line. My character gives power, motivation, and inspiration to people around her. I would say she is the physical embodiment of the Swarna Khadgam.
So you are game for a web series surely?
The industry is growing exponentially and I am game for doing a web series – something like a Sacred Games, but minus the nudity, of course. I am done with controversies in my life.