Chandana Koppisetti: I was scared that people would not like my role
The actor, who made her debut with the recent Netflix release Uma Maheswara Ugra Roopasya, talks about her film and her journey into cinema
Chandana Koppisetti, who has grabbed attention with her debut as Swathi in the recent direct Netflix release, Uma Maheswara Ugra Roopasya, is a huge fan of the theatres. The young actor confesses that seeing actors like Anushka on the big screen every Friday planted the seed in her to enter cinema. "No matter what the film, my focus would always be on the female lead. I felt so connected to the films that I would walk out of the theatre with a teary eye. I initially had no clue why I was reacting so. But later, I understood that cinema was my calling and I must be a part of that art," she says.
Being such a big fan of theatres, was she disppointed that her debut film got a direct OTT release? "I broke down in tears the moment I heard the news. I had strived hard for this break. Seeing myself on the silver screen is all I wanted. So it felt really heavy," she states. However, the attention and love she has been receiving from the audience post the release seems to have changed everything for her. "I am glad that our film was released on a top OTT platform, as it has reached everyone in the family regardless of their age. Seeing them react to our film in the theatres would have been matchless. But, the love we have been receiving is truly overwhelming," she adds.
Chandana was neither told she was auditioning for the remake of Maheshinte Prathikaaram nor given any details of her character initially. "Maha sir (director Venkatesh Maha) auditioned me for both the roles of Swathi and Jyothi. Later, I was chosen to play the former. It was only post the script reading session that Roopa Koduvayur and I had a screening of Maheshinte Prathikaaram," says Chandana. She also confesses that she was sceptical to take up the character as she chooses money over love in the film. "I was scared that people might brand me or hate my character as she leaves the hero. But Maha sir explained to me that the audience will appreciate my performance as it has a lot of delicate layers. He also tweaked the character for the Telugu version to make Swathi feel more like a victim of circumstances rather than an opportunist."
The young actor fondly recalls her preparation for the role and her shooting experience in Arakku. "Roopa, Kushalini and I were made to stay there in a local resident's house to get used to the culture and people. We even did all the household work there. Every evening, we had workshops and freestyle dancing sessions along with the people of Arakku who acted in the film to break the ice. We had lots of fun prepping for our roles," she says.
After the intense workshops, the film was shot on fast track and wrapped in just 35 days. Chandana reveals that she shot for both her wedding scene and her intro scene at the funeral house on the same day. "Everything was happening so fast on the sets. We shot the funeral scene early in the morning and rushed to the church for the wedding scene at noon. Changing costumes and looking entirely different in both the scenes was a huge challenge."
Asked if she wants to be remembered as a performer or entertainer, the physiotherapist-turned-actor, says she wants the best of both worlds. "I don't want to lose out on one for the other. Though I debuted with a zero make-up role, which I had to put on some weight for, I am completely game for glossy commercial entertainers as well. They take an actor to a wider audience. I believe I can prove my mettle as a dancer in those films, even if the scope to act is relatively less."
Chandana, who is on the lookout for interesting roles right now, signs off saying that she wants to explore all kinds of roles and not have any limits as an actor, "I don't want to be boxed into any tag or region. I don't want to repeat the same kind of roles. I am completely ready to work in any language, as long as the character is interesting and I am given enough time to prepare for it."