Shruti Haasan, daughter of Kamal Haasan, Sarika, has managed to make a mark not only in Bollywood but also down South. The actress talks exclusively to the Free Press Journal about working across different film industries, career growth, upcoming projects, and 4 a.m. friends. Excerpts from a candid conversation:
How do you look at your growth in the South and Hindi film industry?
I think it’s been a very different career trajectory. You can’t compare the two. But when you look at it collectively, my connection to what I feel as a film’s performance has changed and grown over the years. Today, it means something very different from what it meant to me five years ago. I get a different kind of joy and purpose from it. That’s a part of any artiste’s growth.
How jittery or nervous were you when you gave your first ever shot?
For my first film, Luck, I would say I was really not nervous. I thought I would feel fine, and it wasn’t what I thought. It was a real experience for me. My jitters really came in with my second and third films. I think we all have a false sense of bravado, and our minds can be really strong. I have been performing since I was a kid. I was an athlete. Today for me, the parameter to check whether something is good is if I am actually nervous about it. Even if I am writing for my music and recording sessions, I am nervous. I think that’s a great feeling.
Could you tell us about your upcoming projects?
I am doing a Telugu film once again with the director of Krack, Gopichand Malineni. That is starting in the middle of next year. It is my third film with this director, and it is really amazing. In Hindi, there is an Amazon Prime Video project. However, I can’t speak about it as it is at a premature stage. But I am super excited, and I hope people love it.
When films are made, the whole unit bonds as a team. However, people tend to go their separate ways once it wraps up. Your comments on this?
I don’t think that’s a bad thing. We are there to do our job to the best of our abilities and get along in the process. It’s fabulous, and it happens in the corporate world when you work on any one project. Then you are back to your office. So, I don’t think this only happens during filmmaking. There are artists, fashion designers, technicians that you collaborate with, create magic and move forward. It’s nice if you have an extended connection. However, it’s not necessary. I have some fond memories of the work we have done in different films. Also, I am quite reticent in the sense that my friends have been with me since school. I love to talk to everyone, but my core group has pretty much stayed the same for years. So, I return back to them.
Tell us about your closest friends.
They are basically my school friends and friends from music school as well. When I started acting, they weren’t enamoured with the movie world. You are our friend, and we will tell you as it is! That is a valuable asset for me.
Do you have any 4 a.m. friends?
A lot of my friends live in the USA, so it’s perfect for them (laughs). I have friends in India, too, but you don’t really need to make those 4 a.m. calls after a certain age. Unless it’s an absolute emergency, we try to deal with it on our own. We learned about ourselves and learned how to panic about ourselves. Also, everyone’s going through so much. We need to be there for each other to unload each other’s burdens.
The Andhra Pradesh government has reduced the rate of tickets. Will it affect the exhibitors/producers?
Honestly, I am not a producer currently nor a distributor. I do not have the final say or opinion. I think we are all doing the best we can. With the breakout of the new variant, we are all figuring out our way, including theatre owners/producers/distributors. Everyone is trying everything to carry on with their jobs.
What is the status of your Telugu film Salaar?
Actually, I have been busy working all through last year. I am shooting for Salaar, which is multilingual with KGF fame director Prashanth Neel. It stars Prabhas and me in the lead roles. I am super excited about it. We will be dubbing afterwards because it’s really hard to shoot in multiple languages simultaneously. It’s really an amazing experience.
What’s happening on the music front?
I have something coming up on the independent music front. Right now, I have been busy finishing film projects. In 2020, I created my first solo in English music. I am happy people loved it. It was a blessing. This whole year I have been preparing concepts around the song and music. A lot will come up next year.
You come from a family of talented performers. What advice would you like to share with the readers?
OMG! I don’t have any advice. I don’t take it for granted that I inherited these qualities, but I feel blessed. I am thankful. I really believe in working hard and that there is no shortcut for myself and others. You can get away with it for a little while. However, if you want to reach your goal in the long run, then there’s no way around hard work.