‘I really feel that we should give a lot more to the film industry’
In a free-wheeling chat with CE, Priyanka Upendra discusses her upcoming projects, her new-found interest in portraying strong characters, and her apprehension over her husband’s political career
With Upendra getting back on screen, his wife Priyanka, too, seems to be focusing on getting back to cinema. Word has it that she is currently in the process of reading scripts.
Two of her films are in the pipeline--- while 2nd Half is ready for release, Howrah Bridge, directed by H Lohith, is completed with just two days of patch work left. If this wasn’t enough to keep the actor busy, she will also get ready to shoot the sequel of Mummy, possibly in June. “I was mentally prepared to produce a film, but Upendra got busy with his political career and we had to concentrate on elections also. But now that he is getting back to films full-time, I’m also planning to slowly focus more on cinema,” she says.
Priyanka has big plans, and one of these is for a film under the home-banner soon. “It all depends on what Uppi’s thinking. We will decide after I complete shooting the Mummy sequel. At that point, Uppi and I will sit and decide which project to go ahead with,” she says.
At the same time, Priyanka wants Uppi to go back to being a director. “But he generally takes time to complete a script. I have a couple of filmmakers who are coming up with good subjects. I always wanted our production house to be synonymous with good quality films. Now that Niranjan (Upendra’s nephew, who is making his debut in 2nd Half) is also following Uppi’s footsteps, we seem to have a lot of in-house talent. With so many factors in support of a film under our banner, I think it’s time to do something more. I really feel that we should give a lot more to the film industry than just some occasional films. For my part, I want small and new-age films to be part of our banner. I’m also exploring television production. There are a lot of plans and a lot to do,” Priyanka tells us.
As an actor, Priyanka is getting exceptional roles and she is currently playing strong female protagonists. “When I was young, I didn’t get many offers like these. I don’t know whether now, female-oriented subjects have suddenly become popular, or whether it’s my own image that is getting me these roles,” she says.
That doesn’t mean Priyanka is accepting every role in this category that comes her way. She tells us that she picks and chooses roles that she feels she can do justice to. “There has to be something about the character that is suited to me. I feel lucky that I am getting scripts that excite me as an actor and at the same time have a message for the audience,” she says.
Priyanka has her hopes pinned on Mummy 2 especially since the first film in the series opened many doors for her. In the upcoming sequel, she will be associating with Lohith for the third time. She calls him a “good” filmmaker, who is “clear, creative and consistent.” This was one of the reasons Priyanka decided to take up this film as her next project. “He never gives up until he gets what he wants. The film is going to be very different from the first part,” she promises.
While Priyanka has been getting offers from films in other languages, her films are often considered to be made as a bilingual and trilingual. While Mummy - Save Me was released in Telugu and Tamil, Howrah Bridge will again be a bilingual made in Kannada and Tamil, and will be dubbed in Bangla as well at a later stage. However, the actor says that art has no language as long as there is a good story to tell. “It’s all about doing some good work. Right now, my fans are suggesting I take up more realistic characters and thriller films, which I’m considering,” she says.
Cinema and politics cannot be compared
Upendra has long been dreaming of becoming a neta. And Priyanka supports her husband in this. "When someone is so keen about something, you can't tell them not to be. In fact, for the longest time, he's wanted to be in politics. It wouldn't be right on my part to burst his bubble and tell him to wait. The work on the political front is going on and I am sure he will succeed. In the meantime, we have to admit that his popularity comes from his fans and films, so that would be of primary interest. Uppi is honest, hardworking and knows his ultimate goal. It's well known that cinema and politics are very different. Not being from a political family, everything is a learning in this field. It may seem like things are taking time, but they will eventually fall into place," she says.