Kajal Aggarwal is a popular star in the Southern film industries and has held her place over the past 7 years or so, ever since "Magadheera" happened.
She has played the lead role with almost all the top male stars in the South and is still going strong, with films such as "Thala 57" and "Khaidi No. 150" in hand. She is also in talks for the lucrative "Thalapathy 61" with Vijay and director Atlee.
The News Minute caught up with Kajal for a chat on her upcoming films and the highs and lows of her career.
Recently, "Kavalai Vendam" fetched you a lot of good feedback from critics and the audience...
I'm very happy with the response to the film and the way my performance has been received. Credits to my director Deekay for the clarity with which he handled this film. It is actually a new genre for Indian cinema and our entire team is pretty happy about the audience enjoying such stand-up comedy in a positive way. I'm grateful for the positive reviews and all the love showered on me by the audience.
You must have been kicked about getting a film which revolves around your character?
Yes, I was kicked but had lots of questions too. I do a lot of background work of my own to understand any character that I'm playing and the behavioral traits. I sent an email to Deekay with many questions. I kept asking questions to him on set too, as that's how I generally function as an actor.
Your next release is Chiranjeevi's biggie, "Khaidi No.150" (the remake of Vijay's "Kaththi"). Will your role have more to offer to the film than what Samantha's character did in the Tamil version?
The script has been altered to suit Telugu sensibilities. The story and roles have changed a bit but the essence remains the same. I play the female protagonist but the film revolves around Chiranjeevi sir and his double roles. The film would have 5 songs totally, and I'm there in 3 of them.
Can you tell us about your role in "Thala 57"?
I can't reveal anything about my role but the experience has been wonderful. The film has a fabulous story and director Siva sir has a very comfortable working style. I am enjoying it a lot.(She's currently shooting for the film in Sofia, Bulgaria)
What makes Chiranjeevi and Ajith such popular superstars? Any common traits that you noticed in the two?
I would say their professionalism, attitude, simplicity and down to earth nature.
How do you deal with professional failure? Earlier in the year, your films like "Brahmotsavam" and "Sardaar Gabbar Singh" didn't work.
One just has to deal with it. I am very involved in a film's production but don't get too attached to its end result. I leave it to fate and the audience. Some films just don't work, and failure is a part and parcel of any career. I don't get too upset because all my best efforts were put into every film, while making it. The rest is not in my hands.
You have a solid base in Tamil and Telugu, but your Bollywood career hasn't quite taken off. Are you still serious about making a dent in Hindi?
I have always been neutral with all the industries and am not desperate. I wish to strike a balance between all the languages. Thankfully I'm in a position where I can pick and choose what I want to do. I'll give a green signal, if the role interests me, irrespective of the language. I would love to be a part of strong female-oriented films too, but it all depends on the roles and films coming to me. I am quite satisfied with what I've done in Hindi too.
Will you dub in your own voice for Southern films in future?
I'll try in future but I have to work really hard because I don't have a natural knack for picking up languages.
You are also a big star in the endorsement space. How do you enjoy this side of being a celebrity?
It's a 'Catch 22' situation. Only when you have a certain level of presence and recognition, you are considered for such endorsement deals. I enjoy such shoots as they are easy to work in. I've had a great association with many household brands that we have all grown-up using; it's a matter of pride and honour. I use all the products that I endorse and only pick regular products which suit my personality. I have to believe in the ideology of the brand before agreeing to endorse it.
Finally, are you doing "Vijay 61"? There is a lot of excitement about your potential third film with Vijay, after "Thuppakki" and "Jilla".
I just can't talk about it, no comments (laughs). Let's wait for the makers to announce it.