I realised I needed to be streetsmart: Shraddha Srinath 

The actor, whose ‘psychological thriller’, K-13, co-starring Arulnithi, is hitting screens this Friday talks about her transition from a lawyer to an actor, her choice of roles and more 
I realised I needed to be streetsmart: Shraddha Srinath 

Shraddha Srinath is fresh from the success of her Telugu debut, Jersey, and even before she can take time off to celebrate it, her next Tamil film, K-13, is set to hit the screens this Friday. She also has Nerkonda Paarvai, and Rustum with Ajith and Kannada star, Shivarajkumar, respectively. "If I choose to stick only to Kannada films, I will get fifty offers a year and I may end up doing barely three of them. Now, as I work in different industries, I get the best of all scripts. That’s the best part about being Shraddha Srinath right now." 

Excerpts from the conversation: 

Little is being revealed about your character in K-13. Can you tell us about her?

I play a writer named Malarvizhi. The film revolves around the incidents that happen when she meets an aspiring filmmaker played by Arulnithi.  Malarvizhi is a creator, who is compulsively obsessed with her writing; she will go to any lengths to seek inspiration for her writing. As you probably deciphered from the teaser, she is a person coloured in many shades. 

All your roles excluding the one in the Kannada film, Operation Alamellamma, have been serious ones. Any chance of a light-hearted film in the future?

I am totally game. It's interesting to note that all my films so far have been dark thrillers. I didn’t plan this at all. I crave for a good romcom; it’s a genre that brings the best out of an actor. I hope the directors reading this interview will approach me with such scripts (laughs). Even if it is a comedy though, the film doesn't need to be derogatory to a certain race, gender or community.

You had stated that you chose to be a lawyer initially as it gave you the power to make changes, and then in 2015, you decided to become an actor. How empowered do you feel as an actor?

Very. Right now with the aid of media and social media, I truly feel empowered, and I believe I can make a point in the society now. I feel thankful to be in this position of power. I think as actors, all of us should realise that people are watching us, and they want us to do and say the right things. 

Your social media handles discuss middle-class problems, despite all the fame you have found as an actor.

I would call myself a semi-celebrity. Fame hasn't changed me at all. When I go home, I'm still a middle-class girl.  Even now, I get rebuked from my father for failing to turn off a fan. I love this phase of my life.

You had said earlier that you don't see yourself doing commercial films. But you have signed Rustum, a full-fledged commercial entertainer. 

When I was new to the industry, I was idealistic and thought the script was the only thing that mattered. Then I realised that cinema is a business too, and that I needed to be streetsmart. I am going with the flow now. However, I still won’t compromise on my principles. Even when I work in such films, I will do my best, without ever selling the soul of my character. 

Any other aspirations?

I would love to be an assistant director some day and work with amazing directors like Pushkar-Gayathri and Tigmanshu Dhulia. Assistant directors often get the raw end of the deal. They face pressure from both actors and directors. I'm quite interested in filmmaking.  

You have shown no apprehensions playing characters older than your real age (in films like Jersey and Vikram Vedha).

I remember discussing this with Nivin Pauly, who said I should first exhaust all the characters who are of my age and then move on to older roles. He warned me that if I prematurely moved on to older characters, I might get typecast. I think about this a lot before signing a film, but the question, 'What if?' has always pushed me forward. When I chose acting over law, I asked myself, 'What if I win?' and now before signing such roles, I ask myself, 'What if people loved this role?'  Some things never change, I guess.

What's your take on gender disparity in cinema? Do you think the industry has become a better place for women?

As an actor, I find that I’m given utmost respect. The women who work as assistant directors, hairdressers and costume designers are those who face issues. It is the men who invest in films and they seem to be the ones to bring audiences to the theatre; so they get higher salaries. Only if you are a lady superstar like Nayanthara, is the situation different. I feel though that both male and female stars getting featured in a poster, is a progressive sign by itself. These are important baby steps.

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