Priya Anand: Appu will always remain with us
Priya Anand, who feels lucky to have worked with Puneeth Rajkumar in Raajakumara and James, shares her experience of working with the Power Star
The first thing Priya Anand recalls about the late Puneeth Rajkumar is his smile. “I am still not able to get over his ‘Smiling’ face,” says Priya, who is starring opposite Puneeth in the upcoming film, James. Priya shares that she often told Appu that they don’t make men like him anymore. “I have had the honour of meeting and knowing a person like him in my life. Forget the stardom, and the lineage, he is just an amazing person. Every time I think of Appu, I only see his smile, which would always come from the heart. And, when he smiles, you can’t help but return the smile. It is something that will be treasured amongst his fans,” says Priya.
Priya reveals that it was a common friend who informed her about Appu’s condition. “The person knew that I would not take the news very well, and just mentioned that he had gone to the hospital. But nothing prepares you for things like this. It came as a shock to all of us,” says Priya, who added that she has still not accepted his passing. “I still think he is with us, and his fans or I don’t want to believe that he is no more with us. The goodness he’s done will always keep him alive,” she says.
Priya says that she did not really expect that she would get one other opportunity to work with Puneeth after Raajakumara. “Raajakumara was a huge hit, which gave me a bang entry in Kannada. To be honest, I think I got spoilt with that film. I had Appu teaching me my first Kannada words. He introduced me to Kannada cuisine. I believe that there are some things written in the stars, and I couldn’t have planned my debut in any other way. I joined James almost at the last minute, and I’m glad we got to work with each other again. Even while working, I kept mentioning to my director Chethan Kumar that James will be magical,” says Priya.
The actor who shares her experience of working for the film, says she loved watching Appu’s performance. “Chethan, who is a writer, was very good with his dialogues. I loved watching those mass punch lines. I’m sure the audience will have a treat watching Puneeth’s presence on the silver screen. It is literally a perfect film for Appu fans,” she says.
What is her role in a largely hero-centric film like James? “I love the cute little relationship that Appu and I have in the film, and how it develops. I love masala films, and that is entertainment to me, and everything of it will be seen in James. To be watching it in theatres, the first day, and with these crazy circumstances, it is going to be an emotional ride to the audience. With Puneeth starring in James, irrespective of the length of our roles, all actors would be grateful sharing screenspace with him. All those days of shooting, and the conversations we have had will be treasured for a lifetime,” she says.
“Appu was a man of so many interests, who was willing to share his thoughts and experience. He never once pretended for a moment. He was always genuine,” says Priya, adding that the biggest takeaway from James is that she got to spend a year with Puneeth. “Appu is around and will always remain so,” she signs off.