Sharing the dance floor with Allu Arjun was nerve-racking: Anu Emmanuel
The actor shares her views on failures, her next film with Allu Arjun and her love for the Telugu industry
Anu Emmanuel has done four films in two years. She is in no hurry and is relishing every moment of her journey. She’s worked with Power Star Pawan Kalyan and now she’s awaiting the release of Naa Peru Surya – Naa Illu India, starring Allu Arjun. Both are mega heroes and the actor is all praise for them. “It’s an honour to work with Pawan Kalyan and Allu Arjun so early in my career. Arjun is someone who inspires you a lot with his passion for cinema. There are a lot of things that you can learn from him. He is someone who always wants to give his best. His makeover in the film, like his haircut, eyebrow cut and body language – they all were his ideas.”
Recalling an incident on the sets of Naa Peru..., she adds, “We were doing an important scene in the film and then, Arjun said even if you have a small appearance in a sequence, you should try to register yourself. For example, if you have to open the door and sit on the sofa….you should take time, say the dialogue and perform. If you do that, you can make an impact. Initially, I didn’t understand his words, but when I started practising that, it has enhanced my performance. Working with such stars would be an impetus for me to do more good work.”
She plays a collegegoer in the film that touches upon many aspects including patriotism, drama, emotions, love and also has a social message. “I play Varsha, a fine arts student. My role didn’t require any preparation as she looks simple, cool and is not complicated at all. Her scenes with Surya add more weight to her character,” says Anu, who finds a few similarities of her with the role she enacts in the film.
The actor from Chicago had to dance for Naa Peru... alongside Allu Arjun, who is considered one of the best dancers in the industry. Sharing her experience, she explains, “Dancing with Allu Arjun was the biggest challenge. You have to be really good to match up to his energy. His flexibility is amazing. Until now, I haven’t got an opportunity to exhibit my dancing talent in any of my films. I was actually nervous to shoot for the mass number Iraga…iraga…But, our choreographer Prem Rakshit didn’t give me complex movements. I feel standing next to Allu Arjun on the dance floor was itself nerve-racking.”
Anu’s last outing Agnyaathavaasi failed miserably at the box office. Expressing her disappointment over the poor performance of the film, Anu says she expected the film to do well as it had the great combination of Pawan Kalyan and Trivikram Srinivas. “I was disheartened that Agnyaathavaasi didn’t do well. But things like this happen. One day you have a hit, and the next, you have a flop. The game changes every Friday. Just because Trivikram has had many hits, doesn’t mean he won't have a flop. One must understand that nobody is perfect.”
Her performance in the Pawan Kalyan-starrer has been almost universally panned by mainstream media but the actor doesn’t mind it too much. “It’s the director’s call and I don’t have any control over that. When I watched the film, I never felt like that. It’s a commercial film and it’s like that. Keerthy Suresh was in the film also, and I remember people saying similar things about her, too. I don’t take these things to heart. When I sign a film, I really wish it to do well. No matter how well you perform, if the film doesn’t work at the box-office, it doesn’t matter to anyone. But, I’m optimistic that a day will come for me too.”
Ask her what her criteria for choosing films is, and she says, “I choose my projects based on the script, (star) combination and my impact on the film. I haven’t been in the industry for so long. So, I've taken up films which will work for me at this phase. Once I make a mark in the industry, I will start working with newcomers and little-known names. For now, I’m looking for something that has a tick mark on everything. Having worked with big stars has been a bonus at the moment.”
Anu confesses to making several mistakes earlier in her career, but she thinks they have all been part of the maturation process. “Five years from now, the mistakes I have made are going to make me the person I am then. If you don’t go through failures, you will never understand success. Even if a film of mine fails tomorrow, I know that I will bounce back and will have a good day.” As for Naa Peru Surya though, she says she has a strong instinct that it will be a blockbuster.
For someone raised in the US, it is not easy to step in a relatively new industry and win some recognition. About the challenges she encountered on her journey, Anu says, “I came to Hyderabad for Oxygen in 2016. I have never left Hyderabad since then. This city has become my home now. I fell in love with this city and the people. Like any other non-Telugu speaking actor, the main challenges were with language, picking up my dialogues, etc. Until now, I haven’t had any problem in the industry and I would say Telugu cinema is the best.”