Shriya Saran: Kabzaa is a majestic period drama
Shriya Saran, talks about her role, Madhumathi in the period drama directed by R Chandru and the evolution of content in cinema over the years
Shriya Saran is an acting powerhouse, who has portrayed amazing characters in her illustrious career both south and in Bollywood as well. She is an actor, who still maintains clout among her fans, and who is always excited about returning to films, and upcoming projects. The actor, who was in the spotlight, for a pivotal role in RRR, her Bollywood film, Dhrisyam 2, has all eyes on her upcoming film, Kabzaa. “I am grateful to people, and ‘lord Krishna” who has channelled me to this point in life. I am passionate about the work I do. It feels lucky and blessed to be an actor. Especially for someone who was a girl next door to be able to tell so many stories through so many characters feels always special, “ admits Shriya, on the sidelines of the film’s release, which will be out in multiple languages.
Ask her, if the process of script selection has changed post-marriage and parenting. “Not really. But the way filmmakers have started making cinema has changed. Over the years, people are more exposed to different genres. Now they are not restricting films because of their genre or region. I think the content is the key.”
An actor, who is open to being part of a pivotal character, as far as it makes an impactful, also opines that she is not choosy about the roles, but the directors are instead selective in offering her the characters. She has a checklist to reveal. “If it is a good director and a good story that adds value to my profile, I will do it. It is all about being in the right place and at the right time. The writers pen a story for certain kind of actors, sometimes, it works and sometimes, it doesn’t. A lot of aspects and combinations go into the making of a film.”
Coming to Kannada, Shriya Saran debuted in Sandalwood with Puneeth Rajkumar’s Arasu (cameo appearance) and followed it with just two films including Kabzaa, and in long gaps. However, Shriya maintains that is her been the case with every language. “I was shifting between Tamil, Telugu and sometimes I get occupied with Hindi projects. Each project needs at least six months of time, from start and finish, and sometimes a year. There was always a gap between each language. Having said that comparatively, I have done fewer films here. This will be literally my second film, and it is releasing on the birth anniversary of my first Kannada co-star (Puneeth Rajkumar), the most loved actor. March 17 is a big day for us, and for the whole of the Kannada industry,” she says.
There was a lot of speculation about top heroines joining Kabzaa before Shriya was announced to be the lead. Asked how she landed up with the project, she says,” I fell in love with the character and the way the director had sketched the female lead. I was blown by the intensity and the desire that Chandru as a filmmaker had to make a film on this massive scale. I wanted to make a comeback in Kannada, and it also happened to be a pan-India film. I also wanted to work with Upendra and Sudeep. Kabzaa was a combo offer. I’m glad, I am part of it.”
Kabzaa is the next big film from Kannada that has created hype across India. Shriya, who has worked in multiple languages and with top stars, does she keep a tab of the various works that are happening in different industries. “ Well, I don’t understand the business side of these films because I can never produce them. I can only understand my work, which is going and acting. I haven’t been watching many films but I watched KGF and Kantara. They were amazing. As I said, it is a great time to be in the cinema, and it is not about the language anymore. How local you are, how honest you are, and how much heart you put heart into it matters.”
Kabzaa is set in a pre-independence era, and Shriya throws light on her role. “RRR is a period drama, and Kabzaa, which is also a period film has taken the genre to another level. ‘A royal queen, a princess, who is strong, beautiful, and talented.’ This was the description Chandru gave to my role and he has successfully delivered it. I had a great team backing it -- Sithara Kudige designed my outfit. My team Mahender, and Priyanka did great work in making me look like a queen. Cinematographer AJ Shetty shot it beautifully. The entire film looks majestic and shows Madhumati the way she deserves to be.”
The actor also shares her experience working with Upendra. “He is a star and a talented actor. Many have asked me to catch his directorials. I was blown away by his simplicity. He is humble and has a great sense of humour. He really likes his craft and loves the job. It was interesting to see, someone so successful, being down to earth. It was a good experience. I would love to work under his directorial too,” she says.
Shriya, who is relishing the back to back to successes of RRR and Dhrisyam 2, has got Kabzaa in the line-up. “ I thank all the directors, right from SS Rajamouli. His film going to Oscars, and song Naatu Naatu taking the centre stage makes me proud. I’m blessed to have worked with him twice. Director Abhishek Pathak did a great job in Dhrishyam 2, and now I feel lucky to have worked in R Chandru’s Kabzaa,” she sums up.