I was initially scared to play a mom in Jersey: Shraddha Srinath
Ahead of the release of her debut Telugu film, the Nerkonda Paarvai actor talks to us about working in multiple languages, her upcoming films in various languages, and more
From Bengaluru to Mumbai via Chennai has indeed been a long journey for Shraddha Srinath. And it has taken her three years to finally reach Hyderabad and make her debut in Telugu cinema. The actor, who made a praiseworthy debut in the Kannada blockbuster, U-Turn, three years ago, is excited to make her Telugu debut opposite Nani in this week's Jersey.
Interestingly, Jersey should have been her third Telugu release, as she was supposed to make her debut with director Ravikanth Perepu’s untitled film, followed by Jodi alongside Aadi Saikumar. As these films are still stuck in various stages of production, the actor seems relieved that Jersey is hitting the screens as announced. “I recently ventured into Hindi cinema with Milan Talkies and now, it feels really special to get introduced to Telugu audience with Jersey, which has a wonderful story, and boasts of amazing technicians and co-stars. With this film, I have become panch basha nati (an actor who has worked in five languages),” smiles Shraddha.
However, she is understandably upset that her other Telugu films are lingering in limbo and agrees that such delays do dampen the enthusiasm of an actor. “That’s the harsh reality. Some films will release as announced, but some other projects get delayed due to various reasons. It’s difficult to hold the same enthusiasm. Being a professional, I try to promote all my films with the same excitement. If you believe in the film and carry that passion all these years, it works, else you have to move on. Right now, I’m not looking at why those films got delayed and when will they arrive in cinemas. My focus is to work hard and deliver,” shares the Vikram Vedha actor.
Set in the backdrop of Hyderabad, Jersey spans two time periods, and Shraddha, who essays the role of Sarah, will be shown in two different looks -- as a teenager and a 36-year-old married woman with a kid. “The younger Sarah is fun-loving, carefree and is happy to run away from home and get married. As for the older Sarah, reality has hit her hard and she is a responsible woman, who always puts her family above all. To make me look authentic for both timelines, my director and stylist Neeraja Kona helped me to select the right costumes, saris, the kind of bindis, and other stuff used in that era. We also googled what kind of style was in vogue then. I believe everything has translated into a perfect look,” says the 28-year-old actor.
She admits to being initially apprehensive about playing a mother in Jersey, but she was also reluctant to let go of a good script. “I was a bit scared at first about playing a mom, and thought it would be a risky thing for me considering my career in Telugu cinema has just taken off. There is the fear of being stereotyped into ‘mother’ roles. When I raised my concern to Nani, he said that I was given a chance to do something other than romancing actors, and he was confident that this would not only catapult me into success but also show how much potential I have as an actor.”
Shraddha has just completed her work in Nerkonda Paarvai, the Tamil remake of the Bollywood film, Pink. “The film is releasing on August 10 and it’s a women-oriented subject. I’m reprising Taapsee Pannu’s role in this remake.” She is thrilled to share screen space with Ajith, one of the most celebrated actors of Tamil cinema. “He plays a lawyer and it has been a joy to work with him,” says an excited Shraddha.
About working on a remake, the actor says, “I liked what I was offered as there was enough scope for performance. I did watch the original version and was floored by the performances and the direction. When I was offered this film, I realised that there was a story here waiting to be told with well-written characters and grabbed it. Nerkonda Paarvai is a faithful remake with some minor changes to suit local sensibilities. I believe, the film is relevant to our times and deals with several social issues,” beams Shraddha.
The conversation then veers to veteran actor Radha Ravi, who recently passed derogatory comments against actor Nayanthara. “I feel he doesn’t know what he spoke about a woman and he hasn’t realised what his mistake is, even today. He might be still wondering why all these women are talking so much? He doesn’t know his words are essentially wrong and it all stems from patriarchy and sexism. One day you refer to a woman as a goddess, and the next day you pass sexist remarks on her. You should feel ashamed for passing such random comments. One movie may not change their mindset. But I sincerely wish Nerkonda Paarvai sparks a revolution, and people realise that you can’t make rape jokes or talk about a woman that way,” says Shraddha.
Does doing films in multiple languages pose a problem for her? “As a Kannadiga, who was raised in North India and Secunderabad, it's not so difficult for me to work in Telugu and Hindi films. Telugu-- both the language and the script--is close to Kannada, though some words vary. Whereas Tamil words are close to Kannada, but the script is totally different. Being brought up in different parts of India, I am familiar with English, Hindi, and Telugu. Even though I can speak Telugu well, I'm trying to master the nuances of the language and I would like to dub for myself from my next film onwards."
Now that her goal of becoming a panch basha nati has been fulfilled, is there any other ambition left to be achieved? “I'm a positive person and a constant learner. Once you sign a film, you have to make an impression. I would like to be remembered as a good actor and it feels good to live my dream,” signs off Shraddha.