Aakanksha Singh on working with Nagarjuna in Devadas: Learnt a lot from him about dialogue delivery, comic timing
When Aakanksha Singh made her Telugu cinema debut in late 2017 with Malli Raava, a romantic drama where she was paired opposite Sumanth, little did she know that her next film, Devadas, is going to be with one of her favourite actors from South Indian cinema — Nagarjuna. “I’m a huge fan of Nagarjuna. I mean, who isn’t?,” Aakanksha laughs, adding, “When I was young, I was obsessed with songs like "Tum aye to aya mujhe" (Zakhm) and "Tu mile dil Khile" (Criminal), but back then I never imagined that one day I would act along with him. It’s a big deal for me.”
In the film, the actress plays Jahnvi, a news reporter, who falls in love with a don, played by Nagarjuna. Apparently, as part of the audition process, Sriram Adittya, who directed the film, asked her to write an impromptu script and read it like a news reporter. “He wanted me do it in a quirky way because Jahnvi has a comic side to her. It’s the first time that I have explored comedy, and right from learning the nuances of dialogue delivery to comic timing, it was a big learning experience for me,” the actress adds. Since most of her scenes were with Nagarjuna, the actress recalls learning some invaluable acting lessons from him. “I was struggling to get a scene right and he was being quite patient with me. Then, he suggested that I enact the scene without saying my dialogues aloud. His advice really helped me to calm down and get the scene. I learnt a lot from him throughout the shoot,” she adds.
At a recent event, Nagarjuna surprised Aakanksha when he said that after a long time, he has shared screen space with a beautiful co-star, much to her delight. And by her admission, it wasn’t the first time that he said that. “He’s quite a charmer, and I’m sure everyone who has worked with him would say that. He would go out of his way to make me feel comfortable and compliment me. At one point of time, I had to ask him to stop giving me so many compliments because I wouldn’t stop blushing,” Aakanksha says. However, the most memorable incident between the two happened right on the first day of her shoot. “We had to shoot for a song, and Nagarjuna noticed how uncomfortable I was because I was wearing a heavy costume. The next day when my costume was changed, he remarked, “You look so happy today. Now I know why you were feeling so uneasy yesterday.” He’s a delight to work with,” the actress gushes.
Aakanksha is all praise for the film’s director, Sriram Adittya and says that he’s done a fine job handling such a big star cast. “He was like a buddy on the set with whom you can just talk and chill. Sriram has done a fine job handling such big stars, and it’s not an easy task at all. He’s a super cool guy.”
Having begun her career on small screen with quite a few TV serials to her credit, including Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kuch Kaha and Gulmohar Grand, the actress made her debut in feature films with Badrinath Ki Dulhania, which eventually paved way for her debut in South Indian cinema. “I did get another offer for a Telugu film before Malli Rava, but I wasn’t sure if I should do it. But when it came to Malli Rava, its heart was in the right place and I just knew that I had to take it up. Now that I think about it, it took me almost another year to sign my second Telugu film, but I have no complaints. I’m really glad that I am part of Devadas and I’m eager to see what this leads to,” she says.
Meanwhile, Aakanksha will soon be making her debut in Kannada with Pahilwan, where she’s paired with Kiccha Sudeep. “It’s too early to talk about the film, but it’s been wonderful working with Sudeep. My character has two shades and it’s exciting. We also have Suniel Shetty in the team. I can’t wait to see how the Kannada audience is going to react when they watch the film,” she adds. Ask her if she felt that she should have tried to make her debut in South much earlier, Aakanksha avers, “Even though I stayed away from TV for a while, I was always busy with something or the other in Mumbai. I guess no one is completely satisfied with their work and everyone would always want to do better. But I’m happy that my career graph has always been growing. You just know when you come across something really interesting. Malli Raava was like that, and Devadas too got me pretty excited. I love comedy films, and films which have substantial roles for women like Mahanati, Queen and Tanu Weds Manu. I hope I get to do such projects in future.”
Updated Date: Oct 23, 2018 15:46 PM