Bharat Ane Nenu actress Kiara Advani says co-star Mahesh Babu 'is a team player, looks at scenes holistically'

Hemanth Kumar

Feb,03 2018 10:58 21 IST

Mahesh Babu’s upcoming political drama Bharat Ane Nenu, directed by Koratala Siva, has become one of the most talked-about Telugu feature films in recent times. Set in an undivided Andhra Pradesh, the film explores the rise of a youngster in the political circle and features Mahesh Babu as the chief minister of the state. Co-incidentally, the film also marks the debut of Kiara Advani in Telugu cinema, and even before the release, she has been signed to play the lead role in Ram Charan-Boyapati Srinu’s forthcoming film.

Kiara Advani. Image from Twitter/@advani_kiara

Kiara Advani. Image from Twitter/@advani_kiara

2018 is turning out to be quite an eventful year for the actress, who shot to fame with Neeraj Pandey’s MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, in which she played the role of Sakshi Dhoni. “The past few months have been overwhelming. Right now, I'm putting all my energy to live up to the faith that so many people have in me and to deliver beyond their expectations,” she says.

Not surprisingly, it was her performance in MS Dhoni that convinced Koratala Siva to offer her a lead role in Bharat Ane Nenu. “It was an immediate ‘yes’ from me, especially after being offered such a beautifully written role that’s so lovable and innocent,” Kiara smiles, adding, “Koratala Siva was sure that I would be able to pull it off, and it’s his sensibilities as a director and faith in me that sealed the deal for me. Of course, working with Mahesh Babu was the icing on the cake.”

The actress is tight-lipped about her role in the film but, she confesses that shooting for the film has been an incredible learning experience. “Although I’ve always dreamt about acting in films, I never thought about acting in Telugu films or for that matter, South Indian films. But like they say, life is what happens when you're busy making other plans. I am extremely fortunate to be working in the kind of films that I have got at the very start of my career and I value that the most. I truly believe that the director is the captain of the ship. If he is calm and clear then everything runs smoothly. And I couldn't have asked for a better director because Koratala Siva is the calmest on set. He’s always smiling and full of energy,” she says.

She terms her co-star Mahesh Babu as a team player, and confesses that he brought a lot of positive energy to the set. “He would often check the monitor even if it was my close up because he always looks at a scene in a holistic way. You'll often see him cracking a joke and having a good laugh which lightens the mood on set even if it's a heavy day at work. Everyone on the sets of Bharat Ane Nenu is passionate about their job and that's why the process of shooting the film has never felt like work,” Kiara adds. Ask her if she had any jitters before joining the shoot and pat comes her reply, “The only jitters I had was getting my lines right without retakes, but having those jitters was good as that made me over-prepare and by the time I got on set I was a pro and I didn't require a prompter (laughs).”

While the film is expected to hit the screens in summer this year, Kiara is equally ecstatic about joining the sets of Ram Charan’s film. “It’s too early to talk about the film, but I must confess that I’m a hardcore fan of commercial cinema. ​I grew up in the 90s, so masala films were a big part of my childhood,” she says. That’s not all. The actress is thrilled about Bombay Talkies 2, which will feature four short film directed by the likes of Karan Johar, Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar, and Dibakar Banerjee. The theme of all these short films is ‘love and lust’, and she will appear in the Karan Johar-directed short, alongside Vicky Kaushal and Neha Dhupia.

“I just accomplished a major goal that I had even before I became an actress,” Kiara confesses while talking about her experience of working with Johar for Bombay Talkies 2. “I really wanted to work with Karan Johar. He is a dream to work with for any actor. My favourite role and performance of my own would be my character Megha from Karan’s film for Bombay Talkies 2. I have enjoyed this process so much that I can't wait to share it with the world. Both personally and professionally, I've taken a lot from the experience. For instance, I was amazed with the way he motivates his team to make them feel empowered and want to give their best. I find myself doing it with my staff now. Everybody likes to be appreciated to be motivated. He understands human beings very well and he's a superb multitasker. As an actor I've learnt from him about how to enjoy a scene and make the most of the nuances between the dialogues to just surrender to a scene.”

The prospect of working with some of the biggest names in the industry can pay off rich dividends not only in terms of more opportunities but also learning some invaluable lessons. In Kiara Advani’s case, it’s all happening quite early in her career. “Each film teaches you something new, you learn from the people you work with, you grow with every experience in life. Sometimes you imbibe qualities from people you admire and sometimes you learn about yourself from the perspective of others. From Neeraj Pandey, I’ve learnt how to be focused and clear in my thought process. I admire Abbas Mustan for their genuine humility and I strive to be like that. Koratala Siva has inspired me to be calm and collected on set. I also learn a lot from the technicians and ADs from each movie set. While shooting for Bharat Ane Nenu, post pack-up, I would sit with cinematographer Ravi Chandran and talk about the technical side of things. I could go on and on about the stories and experiences that people have shared with me. Point is, one can never stop learning,” the actress shares.

It’s been close to a year-and-a-half since she made a mark with Neeraj Pandey’s MS Dhoni, and even now, her role has become part of her identity. Is it hard to let go off the tag and make a name for yourself? It might feel so, but Kiara has a different take on this dilemma. “I love it when people come up to me and call me Sakshi, and recognise me by the character I’ve played in MS Dhoni. It shows that they've connected with my work. That's my biggest high!”

Published Date: Feb 03, 2018 10:58 AM | Updated Date: Feb 03, 2018 11:17 AM