Sailaja Reddy Alludu star Anu Emmanuel on working with Naga Chaitanya, her quest for Tollywood success
Anu Emmanuel talks about how she is slowly learning to enjoy the process of acting, and why you won’t hear much about her personal life.
Ever since she made her debut in Telugu cinema, it seemed like Anu Emmanuel was on the brink of something big, but something was amiss. Two of her more recent films - Agnyathavaasi and Naa Peru Surya - had some of the biggest names in the industry; however, both the films fell short of expectations. She was initially signed up as the lead actress in Sreenu Vaitla-Ravi Teja’s Amar Akbar Anthony, and then, she opted out of the film since the dates were clashing with her most recent film, Sailaja Reddy Alludu. And last year, she was in talks for Geetha Govindam, but she couldn’t sign the film since she had signed another film around the same time. “I did regret missing out on Geetha Govindam. But it was nice of Parasuram and the team to have me on board for a guest appearance,” Anu says, adding, “I have done very few films in Telugu, so far. Sometimes you choose a project because of its star cast, director, production house. And then, things might not work at times. It’s a bad space to be in when your films don’t do well. I’m still learning to deal with it.”
In Sailaja Reddy Alludu, directed by Maruthi, she starred alongside Naga Chaitanya. The film narrates the story of three characters — Chaitanya (Naga Chaitanya), Anu (Anu Emmanuel), and Sailaja Reddy (Ramyakrishna) — where Chaitanya tries to patch up Anu and her mother, Sailaja Reddy, who are always at odds with each other. At the outset, it looks like the most fun film that Anu Emmanuel has done, so far, and she nods in agreement. “All these days, I’ve played the girl who doesn’t talk much. My characterisation in Agnyathavaasi was a bit different, but in Sailaja Reddy Alludu, I’m someone who’s screams if I have to. I had the license to be flamboyant. When Maruthi narrated the story to me initially, my characterisation was a lot different. In the earlier drafts of the script, I was supposed to be the soft-hearted girl, whereas Naga Chaitanya’s characterisation was the egoistic one. However, few weeks later, Maruthi told me that he was flipping the two characterisations and I ended up getting the character who’s quite egoistic and has issues with her own mother. I loved the new version,” Anu reveals.
The actress is all praise for Maruthi and says, “Full credit to him for moulding my body language and making me a lot more expressive in this film. It’s not just me, even Chaitanya’s mannerisms are quite different. Most directors direct according to an actor’s body language; however, Maruthi is very particular about what he wants and he doesn’t give up until the actor’s performance matches his writing and rhythm of dialogue delivery. It was great fun working with him.” Sailaja Reddy Alludu was her first film with Naga Chaitanya, and in her own words, he has already become one of her favourite co-stars. “Naga Chaitanya is a nice and easy guy to work with. I like his no-nonsense approach and he makes sure that everyone is comfortable around him.” Another actor that Anu has admittedly grown fond of is her co-star, Vennela Kishore, who played an important role in the film. “He’s been part of almost all my films, but I never really got to interact much with Kishore until this film happened. It’s great fun when he’s around, and when he’s in front of the camera, he puts his own spin into each scene,” she adds.
Admittedly, she was told numerous times by film’s team that she’s a lot like the character she plays in the film. “I’m not sure if it’s a compliment (smiles). I’m different with each person, and it takes me a lot of time to get to know someone. If I have to analyse my own personality, then let me just say that I am very possessive of people I’m close to. I like being in control of everything I do. I’m not sure if that counts as being egoistic,” Anu laughs. Having said that, there’s always been an element of mystery about her. She’s rarely in news, and going by her perspective, Anu Emmanuel prefers it that way. “I don’t go out much. I’m not into parties. If I’m not shooting, I’ll be more than happy to stay at home and read a book or watch a movie on Netflix. I don’t want people to know too much about my life. It’s good if there’s an element of surprise and mystery about you. And when you Google my name, I don’t want to have thousands of interviews under my name (laughs),” she explains.
Ask her if her life has changed in recent times, the actress gets into a pensive mood. “The bottom line is - I’m a very sensitive person and I take everything to heart. While I was working with Ramyakrishna ma’am in Sailaja Reddy Alludu, she gave me the best advice I’ve gotten so far. She told me to enjoy the process because you can’t control everything. I’m learning to not take everything so seriously. The fact that I’m here means that it’s my destiny, along with a bit of luck, to be an actor. I still have a long way to go. Right now, I’m just going to wait and see how people react to my part in Sailaja Reddy Alludu, and then see what comes my way,” Anu says.
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