Priya Mani: I've not played a character like Bhamakalapam's Anupama before
The National-award winning actor talks about films, her OTT debut Bhamakalapam and more
Embarking into the showbiz with a romantic entertainer, winning a National Film Award, making her presence felt across languages, and now rearing to go and surprise everyone with her foray into the Telugu OTT space with her upcoming web film Bhamakalapam, actor Priya Mani Raj, has done it all and more.
Priya Mani exudes charm in portraying her roles with great aplomb. In this interview with Cinema Express, the actor opens up about her character and the film that is streaming on Aha on February 11.
Excerpts from the interview:
Why did you choose to go with Bhamakalapam as your foray into Telugu OTT space?
I think it's an exciting project with an interesting story. I think we may come across such situations in our everyday lives, but I'm praying that it doesn't happen. I liked the way our showrunner Bharat Kamma narrated the script and I found the storyline really captivating.
How do you look at your character, Anupama?
I am playing an average middle-class homemaker, who runs a YouTube channel and treats her followers with a new recipe every week. She is so curious about the events happening in her apartment complex and has the habit of peeking into the lives of others with great enthusiasm. Due to this intrusiveness, things take an unexpected turn and she finds herself caught in a tricky situation. What's so unique about Bhamakalapam is that this is actually the first time I have played such a character in a family setting. I couldn’t have asked for more.
What is your favourite thing about Bhamakalapam?
Bhamakalapam is a dark comedy thriller that has got something to offer to all its viewers. There are so many characters that walk in their own paths, but the film revolves around my character and the efforts Anupama puts in to come out of that unexpected situation makes for an interesting watch. I think I have not done anything on the lines of an innocent woman, who is happy in her own world and is more interested in other's life than her own. I did it to some extent in Yamadonga (2007), but that was vastly different from this one. From the beginning to the end, Anupama's innocence is something that becomes the talking point and I can confidently say that everyone in our family kind of relates to this character.
You are one of the most sought-after actors in the industry. Do you feel the need to learn when working on new projects and with new people?
Yes, definitely. I believe that we learn throughout our lives because change and growth are the two constants. Every project is a new experience and there's always something to learn with each film. Being an actor, my focus lies in understanding the vision and the concept of the director and putting in my sincere efforts to give it a proper meaning. Hence, I would say learning is an automatic experience.
Are there any significant differences between a regular film and the web film according to you?
A web film doesn't need bulk call sheets and we can complete the entire production in a month. In fact, we have wrapped up Bhamakalapam in 25 days. To answer your question, the shooting time and the experience on the sets are kind of similar and we carry the same enthusiasm.
As an actor, you had an interesting career graph. From rustic dramas to commercial potboilers you are part of several hits. What's your next game plan?
I want to be a part of good films or OTT projects...that's it. I really have an interesting lineup of films. I am looking forward to starting shooting for the third season of The Family Man. As many of you know, Virata Parvam and Maidaan are ready for release. I will be joining the sets of Quotation Gang later this month and I also have Cyanide in production. I am bracing up for an exciting journey in the coming days.
There were reports that you are part of Shah Rukh Khan's upcoming film directed by Atlee.
I cannot comment on that at the moment.
A lot of actors from Indian cinema are eyeing the West or Hollywood. Do you have such aspirations?
As of now, nothing. To be honest, I wasn't approached for anything as yet. If I get something really interesting, I don't mind taking it up.