You are all set to enter Bollywood now. How did you get SINGHAM? SINGHAM came my way when I was shooting for a Telugu film of mine in Hyderabad. At that point of time Rohit (Shetty) had seen my film MAGADHEERA, which is a very big Telugu film. He liked my role and performance in that film. So he thought that I was very appropriate for Kavya's character in SINGHAM.
So tell us more about your character of Kavya. Kavya is this sweet girl-next-door. She's a Goan Maharashtrian. That's the only
'He (Ajay)didn't really give me any instructions or to-do list'
part that has been modified to keep Hindi sensibilities in mind. She is a fun-loving and innocent little girl, who is also very mischievous. She loves to play her pranks and she plays them on everyone.
You were also seen in the 2004 Vivek Oberoi-Aishwarya Rai starrer, KYUN! HO GAYA NA.... So SINGHAM is technically not your debut film. I don't actually consider KYUN! HO GAYA NA... my debut in Hindi cinema. I barely had one shot in that. And I was in the ninth grade. So I was 13 or 14. At that time, I just did it for fun. Acting was not on the agenda. I wasn't serious about taking acting as a full time profession. I was very focussed on my education. Even till college I wasn't sure if I wanted to get into acting. Then I started getting a lot of offers from the south, which I took up. And after doing a couple of movies in the South, I decided to make acting a full-time profession.
You will be seen playing a girl-next-door role in SINGHAM. Do you think, like many other actresses, you too will get typecast as a non-glamorous girl? Yes, you are right. There is always the danger of getting typecast. But I am not really worried about it. I started in the south as a girl next door, as a village belle in my first Telugu film. I am not saying the same thing will happen with me in Hindi films as well. I don't know what the future has in store for me. I feel that if you can show your acting capability, nothing will really stop you or hold you back.
SINGHAM is an action-packed film and has Ajay Devgn written all over it. So how important is your role in the film? Yes, it is essentially an action flick. Nonetheless, it has other elements to it, like drama, emotion and a very sweet romantic angle between Ajay and me. I don't really feel that you have to be on screen all through the film to make your presence felt. My character is small, but it is extremely important. It can't be missed. I think even if it's a role of ten minutes, one can make an impact.
But was it difficult for you to get noticed in the presence of Ajay Devgn? In fact, I feel that because I am starting out with a star like Ajay Devgn, it's better for me. He was very helpful. Acting is like second nature to him. He is just so amazing at his job! He is so comfortable with whatever he does. I have picked up a lot and have grown as an artiste.
Did Ajay give you any acting tips? He was very co-operative and rehearsed a lot with me. I used to ask him to practice his lines with me. He very sweetly used to agree. And he doesn't need rehearsals as he's very impromptu with his work. But in my case he encouraged rehearsals as I was comfortable with that. When it came to acting, he gave me a very important tip to slow down as I speak very fast. He told me a lot of anecdotes from his run in the industry and he also shared a lot of his experiences in the industry. But he didn't really give me any instructions or to-do list.
Bollywood is bolder and more glamorous than the Telugu and Tamil films you have done. Are you prepared for it? Yes, you have a point. The south is glamorous, but I think they still have their reservations about certain things. No offence to anybody who believes in portraying certain characters, but I do have my reservations about certain things that I am not going to cross. But I do believe in one thing - that you can look glamorous in a sari or wearing a full-sleeved T-shirt and fitted pair of jeans. You don't really have to show skin to be glamorous. I think the words 'glamour' and 'glamorous' are very badly used by us. 'Glamorous' can be just about having a gorgeous face and lustrous hair, just like in ads. Those girls look so glamorous! You don't really have to wear a bikini to look glamorous.
So you have a problem with skin show? I don't have a problem in looking hot or sexy. Skin show to a limit, where it's
'My character is small, but it is extremely important.'
decent, is okay with me. There is a very fine line between decency and vulgarity. So when that line is crossed and it becomes vulgar, I do have a problem with that.
Will your priorities now be with Bollywood? Will you no longer do South films? Nothing like that. I'm going to choose the best of whatever I'm offered. I will strike a balance between South and Hindi. My loyalties definitely do lie with the South. I started out from there and I am what I am thanks to the South.
Have you signed any other Hindi films? I do have a couple of Hindi films, but I am not allowed to announce anything yet. As of now, I am completing my south commitments. I'm doing one Telugu film with Mahesh (Babu) and one Tamil film with Surya.