Interview
Stills of Rakul and Balakrishna recreating the iconic rain song from ‘Vetagudu’ went viral recently on social media.

This is undeniably an exciting phase in actor Rakul Preet Singh’s career. Playing the role of the late actor Sridevi in Kathanayakudu, a much-awaited biopic on yesteryear actor and politician NT Rama Rao, Rakul Preet has her fans waiting in frenzy to see her portraying the role of the southern film industry’s first lady superstar.

A poster of Rakul and N Balakrishna in the roles of Sridevi and NTR went viral after the makers released it a couple of days ago on social media. The still is from the recreation of the iconic song ‘Aaku chatu pinde tadise’ from the film Vetagadu, one of Sridevi’s first movies in Telugu.

In an interview to TNM, Rakul says she didn’t have to think twice about coming on board the movie when her friend and director of Kathanayakudu, Krish, approached her for the role.

“When Krish told me that it would be a special appearance and that he would like me to play the role, I agreed immediately because I have known Krish for a while and trust his sensibilities. I was really happy that the team felt that I could play the part, though it would be a special appearance. I know all eyes will be on me as it would be the first time that somebody is playing the role of south India’s first lady superstar,” Rakul says.

The actor, who was celebrating her 28th birthday on Wednesday, herself took to Instagram to share the first look poster of the movie.

“I know it’s a huge responsibility because even people from Bollywood, where Sridevi was immensely popular, will be looking forward to the kind of justice done to the role. I only hope I can live up to people’s expectations,” the actor further added.

After the still from the song went viral, fans have drawn comparison between both the actors, and Rakul has already received criticism for her lack of resemblance to the late actor.

“Of course, people are going to say that I look like Sridevi or that I don’t, but the first response I have received from my fans has been huge. I know that I am not her but the idea of being able to and getting a chance to play her in itself is incredible. So, that in a way for me is a pat on the back and now the onus is on me to put my best foot forward,” Rakul shares.

Rakul will be portraying the Sridevi of the early 80s in the movie and is undergoing a lot of training to imitate the yesteryear actor’s mannerisms. Talking about recreating ‘Aaku chatu pinde tadise’, Rakul says that a lot of effort has been put to shoot the rain song and do justice to Sridevi’s exemplar performance in the movie.

“While depicting Sridevi for Kathanayakudu, we haven’t created anything new. We are recreating scenes that Sridevi acted in, years ago. I am re-enacting scenes she had done which were received with great applause in theatres. So, even while recreating ‘Aaku chatu pinde tadise’, we have put in the same effort to bring the actor to life on screen,” Rakul says.

Visibly excited about playing Sridevi in the movie, rumours also have it that Rakul will be receiving a remuneration of Rs 1 crore for her cameo appearance in the movie.

Rakul has a bevy of movies lined up for release, including one in Bollywood, two in Tamil and one in Telugu alongside Naga Chaitanya.

The NTR biopic is one of the most anticipated films in Tollywood with N Balakrishna, NTR’s son, playing the titular role. Interestingly, Balakrishna is also co-producing the film along with Sai Korrapati and Vishnu Induri.

The film, which went on the floors recently, has an impressive star cast that includes Vidya Balan, Rana Daggubati, Sumanth, Mohan Babu and others. The film will have Sumanth playing Akkineni Nageswara Rao, Vidya Balan as NTR’s wife Basvatharakam and Rana Daggubati as Chandrababu Naidu. MM Keeravani is composing the music for this venture with Gnana Shekar VS cranking the camera and Arram Ramakrishna editing it.