Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy: Tamannaah says she was initially reluctant to do another period film after Baahubali

Hemanth Kumar

Oct 04, 2019 08:00:30 IST

Tamannaah still remembers the precise moment when Chiranjeevi expressed his interest to work with her, once he makes his comeback in films. That was nearly seven years ago when Chiranjeevi was still dabbling with politics, and Tamannaah had worked with his son, Ram Charan, in action film Rachcha.

Call it destiny or sheer luck, the actress ended up collaborating with Chiranjeevi in his 151st film, Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy. “Getting a chance to finally work with Chiranjeevi sir is such a big honour. It’s such a nourishing experience to work with him. But, at the same time, I know that I have to be at the top of my game every single day to do justice to the role when you work with him. He’s quite humble despite everything that he has accomplished. That’s why I have to be doubly sure of what I’m doing because I didn’t want to mess up anything,” Tamannaah says.

 Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy: Tamannaah says she was initially reluctant to do another period film after Baahubali

Tamannaah in a still from Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy

The first day of her shoot for the film was also one of the most challenging for her. She was a bundle of nerves because of the scene she was supposed to be part of. “It was quite an emotionally charged scene which comes somewhere in the middle of the film. By then, my character, Lakshmi, goes through a major transformation, and I had to enact the part in a certain way. To do all this on the first day of the shoot, that too with Chiranjeevi sir by my side, was challenging,” she recalls.

In the film, she plays Lakshmi, a dancer who transforms into a freedom fighter, and becomes one of Narasimha’s biggest supporters in his freedom struggle against the East India Company. Calling it a dream role, Tamannaah says, “It wasn’t a lengthy role, but what was fascinating for me was the graph Lakshmi had in the film, and the importance given to her in the script. Sometimes, transforming physically into another person is also another reason why it becomes so exciting. I love dancing, but Lakshmi is a Bharatanatyam dancer. I haven’t learnt the dance form professionally, and it takes people years to master the dance form, whereas I had a few weeks to get my posture right, and perform in my scenes. All in all, it was a great learning experience.”

Although she has been part of a period film like Baahubali in the past, Tamannaah underlines Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy challenged her in a very different manner. “I haven’t played a character which has so many layers. Lakshmi is not the most simplest of characters. She’s an intense woman, and she has a past, which explains why she behaves in a certain manner. With Baahubali, I got an insight into the technical side of filmmaking, like shooting with a green screen in the background, and how things will unfold when there are too many people working on a set. But Avantika is not Lakshmi, and playing Avantika didn’t make it any easier for me to become Lakshmi,” Tamannaah confesses, adding, “After Baahubali, I wasn’t so sure if I wanted to take up any period film. People end up drawing comparisons quickly, but more than that, it was important for me to be convinced about the authenticity of the film. When I was offered Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy, I didn’t have to think much because it had a wonderful script. Besides, the people you associate with also matter a lot, and when you are on the same page, it just reinforces your belief system that you are doing the right thing. When you have a team that’s as experienced as the one which worked on this set, execution becomes easier.”

The actress had previously worked with director Surender Reddy in Oosaravelli, which released back in 2011. The two share a great rapport with each other. “He was well-prepared, and a film of this scale was really demanding. I could see how confident he was on the sets, and he had a strong team backing him. On a particularly tough day, I had three costume changes, and each one took about three hours of time. I was fumbling a lot with the last part, where I had to give a dance performance, and I got extremely emotional about it that day. When Surender Reddy saw me, he was surprised that I had taken it to heart, and he was so chilled out about it that he decided to shoot it the next day,” Tamannaah recalls, while confessing fear gets the best out of her sometimes. “I think it’s important for an actor to be scared and fear that they might mess something up. When you understand the magnanimity of a film, this fear will drive you to work harder, and get things right. And Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy was one such film where I had that fear throughout the shoot,” she says.

Tamannaah in a still from Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy. YouTube

Tamannaah in a still from Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy. YouTube

The actress is all praise for costume designer, Sushmita Konidela, for the latter’s work in the film. “Right from the first day I met her, we had a great synergy, and both of us were on the same page. I really feel that my look in Sye Raa... is the best in my career so far. Sushmita had spent quite some time on creating various looks and costumes for me, and I didn’t have to think too much about them. She’s very hands on with her work, and clear about what she was trying to do, and it made my job easier too. I was so happy with the detailing that went into each costume that I wore, and it looked quite organic too.”

Prior to Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy, the actress had acted in Anil Ravipudi’s F2, which became a blockbuster earlier this year. She will soon be seen in a horror comedy Petromax, and Sundar C-Vishal’s Action. Meanwhile, in Telugu, she has That Is Mahalakshmi lined up for release, and recently, she signed Sampath Nandi’s upcoming film with Gopichand. Ask her if her choice of films has changed post Baahubali, Tamannah replies, “I’ve had an interesting year so far, and I want to continue that. I feel that I’m in a very different phase of my career, and I feel challenged in different ways with everything that I take up. As an actor, you want both creative satisfaction as well as deliver films which excite people each time they walk into the cinema halls. There’s no guarantee that you’ll succeed each time, but you can’t take the love and expectations people have on you for granted. Also, choosing the right script has become a grueling process. The consumption of content has changed so much in recent times and people expect something more and interesting each time.”

Her upcoming Tamil film Petromax is a horror comedy, a genre that has become increasingly common in her filmography with films like Devi and Devi 2 in recent times. Admittedly, she was not sure if she wanted to sign the film when it was first offered to her, but she changed her mind once she saw the original version in Telugu (Anando Brahma). “I felt that it was quite an intelligent film in the way it tweaked the regular tropes in the genre. When I met the director, Rohin, I was all the more convinced with the changes that he had tried to make for the Tamil remake. There’s something new for me to do as well, and the film isn’t a frame to frame remake of the original.”

Interestingly, she will be seen as a sports coach in Sampath Nandi’s next film, which also has Gopichand play a lead role. Having worked with Sampath Nandi twice before, for Racha and Bengal Tiger, Tamannaah is confident their latest collaboration will click once again. “Both of us have worked on quite a few commercial films over the years. So, when we spoke about our latest film, Sampath was quite keen on making a commercial film with a soul. The lines between what was once called as commercial cinema and the other kind of cinema are blurring now. Today, all that matters is good cinema,” she adds.

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Updated Date: Oct 04, 2019 08:00:30 IST