How do you manage your schedules, especially while working in both Tamil and Telugu?
Right now I don’t sign too many films. I only sign two films at a time and so it is quite easy to manage. And I work for 20 -22 days a month so this way I always have some free days in case someone meets and wants to finish any backlogs. I don’t work like before and am very choosy about films these days. In fact I haven’t signed anything new as of now. I have put everything on hold for the time being and am waiting for something exciting, a film that gives me a really good character. So it is always easy to manage and I have got used to working in both the languages and divide my time equally between Chennai and Hyderabad.
You are looking much more glamorous…
Oh really!! Thank you very much for that. All I would say is that I have got a little more conscious of my health, my diet, workouts and the likes. I think it hits you at some point in your life and everybody seems to be so health conscious these days. I mean every actor and actress they end at the gym all the time and I think that it is really important to feel good. Am saying this not just as an actress but as a person I feel that it is really important to be fit.
Have you signed any Bollywood films?
Yeah, I have signed a deal with Akshay Kumar’s home productions. It is a three film deal and the first one is to be directed by Priyadarshan, who is my mentor. In fact, he is the one who launched my film career. And I have no plans to move to Bollywood. I have signed the deal because I wanted to do something different and I really wanted to do a film with Priyan again. I generally don’t plan as I believe in taking each day as it comes. So I don’t really have any future plans as of now.
Aren’t most of the characters in Hindi glamorous?
No, I don’t see it that way and I beg to differ. The advantage that you’ve got with Hindi films is that there is lot of variety in female characters. You take the case of Priyanka Chopra in ‘Fashion’, which is a very glamorous role and is followed by a different portrayal in ‘Kaminey’. I love the way they portray female characters and being glamorous isn’t a sin after all people that is what people want to see. I think decent glamour is a necessity in a film.
Do you think actresses get equally important roles when compared with the heroes?
No definitely not. It is very rarely that heroines get to do roles that are very important. But you have to accept the fact that the film industry is male dominated and heroes are given more important characters. But these days there are certain filmmakers who feel the need to give importance to the role of a heroine and get the best performance out of her and I have been lucky to get a chance to work with filmmakers like these all along my career.
Are you planning to do a powerful character like Anushka’s in ‘Arundhati’?
I think ‘Arundhati’ is a great film and it is very rarely that a heroine gets to do a film like that. I would love to be part of a film like that. It really was a great boost to Anushka. But then there are a lot of female centric characters and you have to choose one that is really good. So if I do come across something then I will definitely be interested.
Any reason behind you signing all your films opposite established stars?
There is no reason as such. I haven’t been offered any role opposite a newcomer in the recent past. I am very choosy about my characters. I look for good role even under a big banner and these days my number one priority is the director. If it is a good director then more than anything else I would be interested in the film irrespective of it being opposite any newcomer or an established star.
Would you mind doing art films?
Yeah I would like to. Had you asked me the question a couple of years ago, I wouldn’t have been sure. I was very happy doing commercial films. I liked all those roles, the dance, the drama and the likes. I am at that stage of my career where I can afford to be choosy and pick one that is really different.
What about the recent gossips circulating on the web?
I have stopped reacting to gossips. I just look at it this way- for an artist, any publicity, be it good or bad, is publicity. At least you are spoken about and are very popular. I just smile at those and ignore them completely.
What have you learnt from the industry as an artist over the years?
All I would say, to be very honest, is that I have learnt to treat acting like any other 9-6 job. It is so important to know when to detach yourself and when to attach yourself. I absolutely love my work and after I am done with it, I am totally cut off. I mean I have my own life, my friends and other things to do. So that’s about it.
Any social awareness campaigns that you are associated with?
I have a fan club started by a group of girls from Tamil Nadu. I generally don’t believe in fan clubs and am not very appreciative of the idea because I don’t believe in hyping up a film or the actors or the likes. But this fan club is something I really do appreciate because it is involved in a lot of social awareness campaigns, especially for cancer. They adopt a lot of children and do a lot of charity. Whenever I am free I love to give whatever support that I can and if I get publicity for being associated with some of these social awareness campaigns then it is really great. Again these people don’t put up hoardings and the likes at the theatres whenever a film of mine releases. Instead, they go to a cancer hospital; spend time with the kids and the likes. So that is something that I absolutely love to be involved with and it is very encouraging.
What is your take on the fact that all directors are behind glamour?
It is not true that all directors are behind glamour. I don’t see it that way because what audience want when they go to watch a film is a lot of color, brightness and glamour and there is nothing wrong in giving it to them as long as you know where to draw the line and long as it isn’t vulgar or something like that. As far as I am concerned, if I go to watch a film, I would love to see a lot of brightness, well dressed actors and actresses and the likes. As far as directors are concerned, I don’t believe that everyone looks for glamour. I have come across some wonderful people who only want to get a performance out of you, want you to look good and who do everything to project you well. I think glamour is a very important aspect of a film and is not something that should be treated as bad as long as you know where to draw the line.
Your take on the Bikini trend?
Honestly, I think the whole bikini trend has become a big joke because it is not a big deal. I mean if you are comfortable wearing it, have a great body and the film demands it then go ahead because there is nothing wrong in it. Personally, I am not very comfortable wearing one. So that’s it.