"I know that I won’t be able to do what a Tamannaah or Rakul Preet Singh does."

A lawyer who quit to become an actor Meet Shraddha Srinath of U-Turn fameFacebook/Shraddha Srinath
Flix Cinema Saturday, April 08, 2017 - 17:03

At 26, Shraddha Srinath has made a mark in south cinema. A lawyer by profession, she decided to quit her corporate job and take to acting full-time when she was signed on by Kannada director Pawan Kumar to play the lead in U-Turn. And there was no looking back.

With numerus projects in Tamil and Kannada today, Shraddha is seen as an actor who’s not just a pretty face but is talented, too. In an exclusive chat with The News Minute, she talks about films, awards and more.

In just two years, you’ve seen a lot of success. What were your thoughts when you entered the film industry?

I said I’d give myself one year and that if I found myself struggling with no leads and no hope, I’d go back to a desk job. But I didn’t expect such success. With Pawan Kumar’s film, U-Turn, I did have some hope. When you come from Pawan Kumar’s camp, you’re taken seriously and a certain tag is attached. That helped me immensely. I didn’t have a single release in Tamil when I signed on some fantastic films. I never expected such acceptance across film industries.

When you decided to become an actor, were you particular that you’d do only a certain type of role?

I think of myself as a certain kind of actor. I know that I won’t be able to do what a Tamannaah or Rakul Preet Singh does. When I set foot into the industry, I thought I’d just do films that cater to the intelligent audience. But as I went along, I realised that I never in my wildest dreams imagined I’d be in films and now that I am, why not go the full mile. Now, I’d do any and all films that come my way as long as the characters are interesting. Ten years down the line, I’d probably be amused at the kind of films I’ve done!

So you’re open to masala, commercial cinema?

I would be ok with doing such films but I don’t think anyone will approach me for such roles (laughs). I think I have a certain air about me that says I’m only fit to do performance-oriented films – which is a good reputation to have.

But are there enough performance-oriented roles around?

That’s the problem. After U-Turn, everyone said I’d be flooded with offers. This is true but the number of films that I said yes to are few. It’s either that I’m picky or U-Turn has set a standard from where I don’t want to step down. Or it’s just that I’m not getting any offers that challenge me as an actor.

I only want to do better roles and films. So no, there aren’t as many roles as I’d like. After U-Turn, my next release was 10 months later. I’d like to do films regularly – which is why I’m ok with doing commercial films as well. The point is to just keep busy.

Who are some of your role models?

I really admire the work of Konakana Sen Sharma, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Nivin Pauly. The versatility and the kind of roles they’ve picked and the way they surprise the audience each time.

You established yourself in Kannada with U-Turn but you got numerous offers from Kollywood.

I was really keen on doing Tamil films but I knew language would be a problem. Also, I thought it would take a lot more effort to break into the Tamil film industry. With Pawan Kumar, it was a simple process – I applied on his website like I would for a job. I got a reply, auditioned, and then I got the film.

Kollywood is a much larger industry – you need to know the right people, meet the right people and need to have connections to get those good roles. I always hoped I could do Tamil films as I love the language. Breaking into the Tamil film industry was easier than I thought thanks to the U-Turn tag.

You’ll be technically making your debut in Tamil in Mani Ratnam’s Kaatru Veliyidai.

Yes, I play the daughter of an army officer, Girija Kapoor. I don’t know how I got the film; I think it was due to U-Turn. In May 2016, Madras Talkies called me to audition and I played Girija.

Image courtesy: Facebook/ShraddhaSrinathOfficial

Had Mani Ratnam seen U-Turn?

No (laughs). I summoned the courage to talk to him between shots and like a little mouse I went up to him and asked whether he had watched U-Turn. He said, “Illai, kanna but I’ve heard good things about it.”

Mani sir went on to talk about the Kannada film industry and how it was coming of age. We had a nice conversation about what I had studied and he said it’s good to have an education to fall back on. It was a priceless conversation.

Were you nervous while shooting for with him for Kaatru Veliyidai?

I’m an army officer’s daughter and I play a similar role, so I could’ve been chill about it. But I was on edge. Mani sir is so passionate about every single scene. I was thinking I shouldn’t let him down or have him think ‘who is this girl; why have I cast her?’ I was trying to outperform myself. My other motive was to impress Mani sir so he'd somehow remember me from the film.

How did you land Richie (Tamil remake of Kannada film Ulidavaru Kandanthe) with Nivin Pauly?

It was quite interesting. They saw my profile on greenroomnow.com and it was similar to how I bagged Pawan Kumar’s U-Turn. Initially, director Gautham Ramachandran was not happy with my Tamil when I auditioned. I thought I’d not get the film but I really worked on my Tamil. I was jumping with joy that my first Tamil film would be with Nivin Pauly. Everyone craves to be seen in good company with big stars and Nivin Pauly is huge!

You’re also part of Madhavan’s Vikram-Vedha.

It’s a wonderful film and my character is so beautiful. I play Maddy’s pair. I don’t think I can reveal more. I’m working hard on my Tamil because I want to dub for the film myself. Gayathri (director) just told me that the film has come out really well and I’m so excited.

Image courtesy: Facebook/ShraddhaSrinathOfficial

You just got back from a whirlwind trip in Europe for Urvi. Does directly interacting with the audience help actors?

The audience there gave us a lot of feedback. And yes, it does help. You get to know the pulse of your audience. On the Internet or when you go to a premiere, you barely get to know the positives and negatives.

Having seen success, do you think its talent or luck that’s important to an actor? Or both?

I’ve now begun believing in destiny. I never thought I’d be an actress. I think it’s a lot of luck – as ridiculous as it may sound – and talent is the cherry on the cake. My e-mail to Pawan Kumar could have got lost in the hundreds of e-mails he got. But he saw it and my life changed.

Do you think awards matter to an actor?

I recently had my first tryst with awards (laughs). I was nominated for Best Actress for U-Turn at the IIFA Utsavam and a lot of people told me I’d win. I was hopeful and I had my award acceptance speech ready. But I didn’t win. My family was very sure I’d win though.  In the first year, I think awards matter as I’ve worked hard for it but in the long run it doesn’t matter. I know so many actors in so many industries who are underrated and don’t win awards but they are ones you are truly fans of.

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