Kiraak Party actress Samyuktha Hegde on how the original Kannada film established her position in south cinema
Samyuktha Hegde, who also stars in Kiraak Party, recalls how she broke down after receiving the Filmfare Award for the original Kannada blockbuster.
Samyuktha Hegde was 17 when she played one of the lead roles in Rishabh Shetty’s Kirik Party, which also had Rakshit Shetty and Rashmika Mandanna in lead roles. The film went on to become a blockbuster in Kannada and eventually, Samyukta won the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress. It was almost like a fairy tale considering that for nearly two years, she was one among the many background dancers while other lead actors from Kannada cinema performed on stage.
“I broke down into tears when I got the award. It meant a lot to me,” Samyuktha laughs while recalling her acceptance speech from the awards show in early 2017, adding “I was 17 when I made my acting debut and I looked 17. Maybe that’s also a reason why I missed out on a lot of films after Kirik Party released. I was getting a lot of offers but a lot of them weren’t something that really interested me.”
In the meantime, she appeared in MTV Roadies’ 15th season which earned her a huge fan following from North India. Not surprisingly, her effervescence is difficult to explain unless one interacts with her. Out of nowhere, she pulls off a crazy move while sitting on the chair. “I love dancing, and I can’t resist it for too long,” she chuckles.
Last year, when she was first approached to reprise her role in Kiraak Party, the Telugu remake of Kirik Party, she refused the offer since she was busy with few other commitments. “They came back to me a month later and I knew that it would give me a jump start in another language. The thing is my acting career started with Kirik Party and I’ve a lot of good memories from the shoot. I would love to be part of its remake no matter what the language it's made in for the simple reason that I don’t have to think about the content. I’m quite attached to the story,” Samyuktha says, adding, “I’m still quite young and I can build my career in a proper way instead of taking up everything that comes my way. So when the offer to be part of the remake came to me, I looked it at as an opportunity to explore another language.”
“A lot has been changed in the Telugu version,” Samyuktha says, as she talks about how different the Telugu remake is compared to original film in Kannada. “Every college has its own vibe and it keeps changing depending on the region. The college life in Bangalore is quite different compared to what we see in Hyderabad or any other place for that matter. So everything that you see in the film will reflect Telugu nativity. In terms of my own role, our director Sharan had a very different approach to how my character (Satya) should be. And when someone is that confident about what he wants to do, I don’t like tampering with their vision. It wasn’t off the grid for me and I could still relate to her. I just followed his guidelines and it was wonderful working with Sharan.”
The actress also acknowledges that it become a tad easier for her because she had played the same role in the past. “Well, I wasn’t working with the same team, but everyone on the set was super chilled out. I remember on the first day of the shoot, writer and director Sudheer Varma told me to be careful of my co-star Nikhil and scared me that he’ll show attitude so I was kind of skeptical. But I figured out that he was just bluffing. It hardly took me a week to gel well with the whole team. Sudheer was indeed my favourite person on the set. I’m someone who digs for compliments and Sudheer was more than happy to oblige,” she giggles.
Samyuktha is quite aware of the reach that Telugu cinema has, especially in the post-Baahubali era, and she avers, “You can’t deny how big the industry is compared to Kannada, and it has the capacity to reach a wider audience. I got a very good exposure through this film.” Meanwhile, the actress is thrilled that there’s going to be sequel to Kirik Party in Kannada but that will perhaps go on floors only in the latter half of 2019. “Till then, I hope I get to do good work in different languages. I don’t plan my life in advance but I’m sure it’s going to be fun. I’ll see what comes my way after this film releases,” she signs off.
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