Being a world wide beauty pageant why did u think to switch to acting, was it ur decision or u blindly followed our country’s culture that beauty pageants must enter cinema
It’s not a hard and fast rule that those who are in beauty pageants must enter the film/modeling industry. Having grown up in the US but having a large exposure to Indian films since a young age, it was a wish of mine to someday act in films. But I always had one thing very clear- that I wanted to be an ‘actor’ and not just a ‘star’. I was pursuing Dietetics and Public Health when I won the Miss India USA pageant in 2008 and felt that the title gave me that extra edge to get noticed in the competitive film world, and it was indeed a great stepping stone which got me where I am now.
You had many distinctly separate break through movies like “mirapakai”, “nagavalli”, “Leader”, “Mayakkam enna”. Which movie do u think was seriously a break through in your career?
I always make sure that every film and every role I do is very different from each other so I can prove my versatility above all else. I have been selective and have done quality roles so far in my career rather than focusing on quantity. “Leader” in Telugu definitely got me noticed as it was a very substantive role which also had subtle glamour. Equally, in Tamil, “Mayakkam Enna” was a film that got me recognized as a performer and gave me a different kind of scope which I’d not yet had, and was much appreciated by audiences. In the future, I will continue to strike a balance between commercial and performing roles so that the audience can see all I have to offer!
You have been made to speak very less dialogues when it comes to tamil movies, Is this because u don know tamil or was there any specific industry oriented objectives.
Every role is different and incidentally, the roles required more expressing through eyes rather than words. Many who have already seen Dabangg knew what my role in Osthi was going to be, a simple but independent village lass who was caught up in her own world yet mysterious when it came to romance. In Mayakkam Enna, my character had to endure a lot of internal struggles and the expressions were best seen through the eyes and body language rather than an overdose of dialogues which wouldn’t have had the same impact. I am in fact pretty good at learning languages so no doubt I’ll be learning Tamil in a jiffy, and hopefully dubbing for myself soon after!
Ur next upcoming movie is “vaaradhi”, say viewers something about ur role as Maanasa in the movie and how was ur experience with Prabhas
My shooting experience with Prabhas has been going very well. He is a very down-to-earth, laid back person who has no airs and is genuinely very carefree. He is one of the few taller heroes in the industry who works well with my height and so far people have complimented our pairing. The role of Maanasa is that of an NRI girl who comes back to her village and falls in love with the person she least expected to. She’s a strong girl and always speaks her mind but is very bubbly and vulnerable at the same time.
If you were given a chance to act in Hollywood, which hero would you choose as ur co-star.
Hands down, Chad Michael Murray (from the TV drama series ‘One Tree Hill’). I’m a die-hard fan of his and it would be the ultimate dream to get an opportunity to work with him! Among my other favorites are Ryan Gosling and Ben Stiller.
U are also undergoing with a Bengali film called “Bikram Singha” as Madhu, so say something about that movie filming to viewers.
I’m currently doing promotions for ‘Bikram Singha’, which is the remake of Telugu ‘Vikramarkudu’/Tamil ‘Siruthai’, and it has been a very novel experience to have done a film in my mother tongue. It’s a commercial film but the remake has been adapted to the Bengali audiences and I have a slightly extended character than the original. Ive gotten to work opposite legendary actor, critically-acclaimed, Prosenjit Chatterjee, who has done more than 350 films and has been recognized internationally. I worked under Eskay Productions which is one of Bengali cinema’s largest production houses, and was directed by Rajib Biswas who is a reputed modern-day director. We wrapped up the entire shooting in less than 3 months and the film will be ready to hit the screens next month.
U have been running program for children at-risk at Lansing USA, U went on to major in Dietetics and Health Administration at Michigan State University, Michigan. So could u say some good tips on health dietics
(the program for at-risk children has no connection with dietetics, please rephrase the question)
I can definitely comment that discipline and regularity is key to a healthy lifestyle. As an actor, we shoot long, unpredictable hours, don’t have access to gyms or healthy good always, and it is not always possible to get adequate sleep. A combination of ample rest, moderate exercise- even walking daily, and eating small, frequent meals really helps one’s metabolism. In the U.S. we are used to finishing our last meal/dinner by 8pm and my body has had to adjust to indian meal timings. Eating light, healthy snacks frequently is more beneficial than eating three heavy meals as the body has to keep burning the fuel throughout the day rather than storing large amounts of fat.
We heard u are so choosy with the next third film. So whats ur next tamil film u have planned to treat ur viewers? What sort of tamil movie are u expecting
Patience is a virtue, my fans J. So far I have managed to make decent decisions in choosing my films so I want to make sure the viewers will be happy with what they see in my next. I am in no rush to do any film that comes by way. After such a dream entry with Mayakkam Enna and Osthi, I do want to do something that’s somewhat different than what I have already done. I have gone through about 8 scripts but none have quite clicked yet. I follow my gut instinct so when I ‘know’, I’ll be sure to announce it to everyone.
Having personally a great career profile in beauty pageant, do have any idea of starting a pageant training of girls for beauty contest as Shushmita sen is doing?
Didn’t have any such plans. I’m single mindedly focused right now on my own career but I really admire Sushmita Sen and what all she does besides acting. Miss India USA was rather a ‘cultural pageant’ more than a ‘beauty pageant’ and focused more on inner beauty and talent rather than sheer outer appearance. Perhaps one day I’ll think of an innovative way to give back to the pageant world which has contributed to where I am today in my career.
U were in Coimbatore for one year, so how about u and ur tamil travel?
I lived in Coimbatore for a year with my mom and dad when I was one year old before moving to the U.S. so quickly picked up a few phrases in Tamil which I spoke with my neighbors. Though I was really young, I have fond memories of my family’s flat, the food, my childhood friends and the neighborhood in Coimbatore, so its very nostalgic. I have gotten a chance to go back since I was one, and am sure things have changed, so am hoping to go back to visit someday soon!
Dhanush and Simbu a.k.a STR are very prominent in Tamil industry..tell us your experience with them..?
Both Dhanush and Simbu are extremely focused and dedicated in what they do. Though their personalities are very different, with me they were both more on the shy side. They both helped me with my expressions and dialogues and to get under the skin of my character in both the roles I played. Apart from being great actors, both are also multitalented and are amazing singers/lyricists and dancers! I am fortunate to have worked with two of the biggest names in the Tamil film industry in my first couple films.