Kiara rose to fame with the Dhoni biopic MS Dhoni: The Untold Story. If not for this film, she may never have landed the opportunity to work on a big budget production like Bharat Ane Nenu which also stars Mahesh Babu in the lead. The highly anticipated film is slated to hit the screens worldwide on Friday.
In this chat with TNM, Kiara opens up about working in one of the biggest southern summer releases, sharing screen space with Mahesh Babu and why she gives more importance to a character than its screen time.
On making her Telugu debut with Bharat Ane Nenu
It was her character in the Dhoni biopic that convinced Bharat Ane Nenu director Koratala Siva to approach Kiara.
“He came down to Mumbai to narrate the script. I liked what I heard and there’s been no turning back since then,” recalls Kiara, who admits she couldn’t have asked for a better debut.
“To work with a superstar in your first film and with a director who is known for striking the perfect balance between making socially relevant and relatable films within the commercial space is nothing short of a dream debut,” she said, adding that she had been approached by southern filmmakers in the past but it looks like she was destined to debut with Bharat Ane Nenu.
“I did receive a few southern offers before BAN, but I was occupied with Dhoni and Machine. Namrata (Mahesh’s wife) is really close to me and she told me this would be a wonderful role and I couldn’t agree more with her after I heard the script," she says.
On why she gives importance to a character more than its screen time
Kiara is aware of the debate that most heroines, especially in the south, don’t get to do much in a big male star’s film. Asked to comment on this debate, she said that she’d play her part as convincingly as possible and not bother about anything else.
“Honestly, I feel the trend is changing. I’ve seen a few southern films where the hero and heroine have equally strong roles. If you were to ask me, I’d try and give my best to a character and not worry about its screen time. A character with hundred scenes but no purpose is worse than a character with just five impactful scenes. The impact you leave with a character matters more than anything,” she says.
Quoting the example of the Dhoni biopic, Kiara says: “I had just a few scenes in the film. But the character is the fulcrum of the story. Even in BAN, I’m not there just to romance the hero. I’m part of the story and my character has a purpose.”
Working on BAN and upcoming films
Kiara says she enjoyed her experience of acting in BAN and adds that she'd like to work with Mahesh Babu again.
“It’s been wonderful working with him. Even when he gets done with his scenes, he’d stand behind the monitor and give me cues for my lines. There were instances where he’d ask for retakes just because he wasn’t convinced with the shot. The best thing about working with Mahesh is that he’s mostly chilled out. This is why I said at the audio launch that I’d love to work with him again," she says.
Even before the release of Bharat Ane Nenu, Kiara has been signed for Ram Charan’s film with director Boyapati Sreenu.
“I’m really thankful for the faith people have in me. This project and opportunity comes with a lot of responsibility," Kiara says.
On Karan Johar’s Lust Stories
“It’s a dream for every actor to work with Karan Johar. I grew up watching his films and to be directed by him is a surreal feeling. To do a Dharma (production) project is one thing but to be directed by Karan Johar is something else. It's an experience very close to my heart," gushes Kiara.
Lust Stories is directed by four filmmakers - Zoya Akhtar, Karan Johar, Anurag Kashyap, and Dibakar Banerjee -- each directing a short story on love and lust. It’s slated for release in June.