Tamannaah opens up on new phase in her career and why it's a good time for her
Tamannaah discusses her approach to acting, working with Vikram in Sketch and more in an exclusive interview to Firstpost.
Ever since she made her acting debut in 2005, Tamannaah has had at least two or three films releasing every year. However, 2017 was different by her own admission. Apart from Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, Tamannaah was seen in Anbanavan Asaradhavan Adangadhavan in Tamil and a special song in NTR Jr’s Jai Lava Kusa. But it was one of the busiest years in her career.
“I ended up filming a lot last year. Apart from Sketch, I also shot for Chaktri Tholeti’s film in Hindi, Kunal Kohli’s film in Telugu, Naa Nuvve with Kalyanram, Queen’s Telugu remake, and I have also signed Seenu Ramaswamy’s next film in Tamil. It was an interesting year for me because I got a chance to play different characters and not find myself stuck to one kind of framework,” Tamannaah says.
Right from Happy Days to her recent Telugu film Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, Tamannaah has worked with almost all the top stars in Telugu cinema and she understands the need to reinvent herself, especially in the wake of new talent coming in almost every other weekend. Has she moved into a different space in her career?
“I have to enjoy the kind of films that I do but then you can only choose from what you get. If you ask me what keeps me going and what the difference in my approach is, it’s all about trying to approach the characters with a lot more sensitivity right now. Prior to Baahubali, I never thought too much about the backstories of the characters. It helps a lot to prepare for the role and when you go to the set, at least you have a game plan ready. Of course, a lot of things are improvised during the shoot but a little bit of preparation won’t harm anyone,” Tamannaah says, adding, “I have had only a handful of films in my career like Baahubali, 100% Love, Paiyaa, Koncham Ishtam Koncham Kashtam, Oosaravelli and Dharmadurai to name a few where I had some strong and interesting characters but now I’ve to consciously look for interesting characters and not just play another version of myself.”
The actress is all praise for a new breed of filmmakers in Telugu cinema who have ushered in a new style of storytelling. “It was very refreshing to see films like Pellichoopulu andun Reddy being made in Telugu. There’s always going to be a big market for big budget commercial films but we also need to appreciate such content-driven films which take you by surprise,” she adds.
Given the slew of action entertainers that Tamannaah has done over the years, she has, for better or worse, become one of the most sought after actresses to play glamorous roles. In the midst of all that, she took a detour to play de-glam roles in films like Dharmadurai and partly in Devi. And her role in the Telugu remake of Queen too has plenty of layers. Ask her the reason behind her recent choices, Tamannaah says, “When you are a mainstream actress, you should be able to do everything. That’s why they put you there. There’s a huge market for commercial cinema and that’ll never change. My quest is to be in a space where I can play any character that I take up. Kalyanram’s film is a love story and at the same time, Kunal Kohli’s film too is a love story which is set in a very different space. Queen has a lot of humour in it. In Sketch, I played a city-bred girl, who is mature and strong. I must add that these days, directors have become more conscious about writing strong women characters. That’s something which we see in real life too — women are at the forefront and taking initiative to do lot of things. It’s a good time for female actors because we are getting many more interesting characters than what we had in the past.”
In Sketch, the actress has played a college-goer who falls in love with a mechanic, a role played by Vikram, and Tamannaah states that she was bowled over by the director Vijay Chander’s narration. “It’s not everyday that you feel an organic chemistry between two characters but I really found that while working with Vikram in this film. Sketch is not a regular commercial film There’s an interesting romantic track between us and even the songs are treated as a natural extension of the narrative,” she says, adding, “It was wonderful working with Vikram. He is a very calm and composed guy, and more importantly, he can be extremely expressive without even saying a word. He has done so many different characters in his career and I found it quite refreshing to see his natural side.”
A couple of months ago, there were rumours that Tamannaah is going to be part of Jigarthanda’s Hindi remake; however, the actress quips that the internet is abuzz with plenty of rumours which have become as a big surprise to her too. “I’m doing so many films according to the internet that I wish I could do as many in reality. Unfortunately, there are only 12 months in a year. If I’m doing a film, either me or the production house will announce it officially. And I can’t talk about a film which I haven’t signed yet,” she says. Among her upcoming films, one film that she’s looking forward to is Seenu Ramasamy’s next film in which she’s paired with Udhayanidhi Stalin. “I loved the role he wrote for me in Dharma Durai and I can say with conviction that my role in his new film will be stronger and better than the one in our previous film. 2018 is going to be an interesting year for me. It feels like I’ve been preparing for exams all these days, and now, I’m waiting for the result (laughs).”
Beyond films, the actress is thrilled that she could spend a lot of time with her family last year. “I had plenty of time to introspect and it’s continuing now. Thankfully, I didn’t have to focus on result. More importantly, I spent a lot of time with my family. I was with them in Mumbai for every single festival. I needed to do this because I was almost away from home due to work for most part of my life,” she adds. For nearly 12 years, the actress has been juggling between Telugu, Tamil, and Hindi films. Ask her if there is a trick to not get bored of her work? “The trick is that you shouldn’t get bored of yourself,” she laughs. “If you do, then everyone else too gets bored because you can’t bring anything new to the table. You need to keep evolving all the time. That’s why I keep saying that I’m work in progress. And I hope it stays that way.”
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