TNM caught up with the actor between shoots for a brief chat on her upcoming films, on how she chooses her projects and on her love for dance and languages.

Not about how big your part is it is about audience remembering you Tamannaah to TNMFacebook
Flix Interview Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 18:13

Very few actors have been able to break through into different industries and fewer even have managed to make it big in each one of them. Tamannaah, undoubtedly, is one among the few actors who feature on this list.

Born and raised in Mumbai, Tamannaah began acting at a young age of 15. Her debut in 2005 was with the Hindi film Chand Sa Roshan Chehra followed by Telugu debut in the same year with Sri. Her foray into Tamil was with Kedi in 2006. The star in her, however, was recognised only in 2007 with Shekar Kammula’s Happy Days in Telugu and Balaji Sakthivel’s Kalloori in Tamil.

13 years since her debut, Tamannaah has featured in over 45 titles and has an interesting mix of films this year. The songs from her upcoming Naa Nuvve have been well received by fans and Tamannaah is gearing up for more releases this year.

TNM caught up with the actor between shoots for a brief chat on her upcoming films, on how she chooses her projects and on her love for dance and languages.

On her films

Tamannaah has an exciting line-up of films this year - Naa Nuvve in Telugu, Kanne Kalaimaane alongside Udhayanidhi Stalin in Tamil, remake of the award-winning Hindi film Queen titled That is Mahalakshmi in Telugu, Kunal Kohli’s first Telugu directorial, multi-starrer Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy, Anil Ravipudi’s F2 and Chakri Toleti’s Khamoshi (reprisal of Nayanthara’s Kolayuthir Kaalam) in Hindi.

From playing the protagonist in Queen remake to doing a crucial part alongside big names in Sye Raa, it seems she may have carefully chosen projects that’ll help her stay away from being typecast.

“I am teaming up with director Seenu Ramasamy after Dharma Durai in Kanne Kalaimaane and this has a stronger character than what I played in Dharma Durai. Now, in the time that we’re in, I also feel more number of good, female-oriented roles are being made,” says Tamannaah.

Tamannaah is also not the one to shy away from doing small roles. While her role in Baahubali: The Beginning won her awards, including a nomination for the 42nd Saturn Awards, the actor had a very small part to play in Baahubali: The Conclusion.

Tamannaah explains that films being made in parts follow a whole different format. “Baahubali is a big story with many characters, culminating in part 2. It is not a typical hero-heroine story. I felt very happy being a part of it and it wasn’t disappointing at all,” she adds.

Her upcoming films too are a diverse mix - for instance, Khamoshi is a reprisal project with a strong female-centric lead and its Tamil version will be helmed by Nayanthara and Sye Raa is a multi-starrer with big names from the industry on board.

The star shares that the important thing is to make sure her character makes an impact. “It is not about how big your part is. It is how much of your character is remembered by audiences,” she says.

She goes on to add that she loves doing commercial films. “I don’t believe in films made for art. I think everyone should be able to watch a film. In that sense, I love doing commercial films that are accessible for everyone.”

Item numbers and female-centric films

Tamannaah has a good number of strong female roles to her credit. From playing the simple and naive Shobhana in Kalloorri, the free-spirited Anjali in Kanden Kadhalai, the feisty Avanthika in Baahubali to the strong Subhashini in Dharma Durai, she has been seen in a variety of roles that have challenged her caliber as an actor. However, she has also appeared in a good number of item songs, like Bachelor Babu in Speedunnodu, Mandara Thailam in Jaguar, etc. Do they ever clash with her ideology?

“It is not female-centric roles as opposed to item numbers. I enjoy that fact that we can also do glamorous roles. To look glamorous is also playing a part. Everyone likes to look at someone who’s pretty. Looking good is important. There is nothing to feel shy about it,” she says adding, “I enjoy dancing and when I get an opportunity to do an item number I take it up with the same enthusiasm as I would for a female-centric role.”

On her flair for languages

In the industry and outside, Tamannaah has been appreciated for her knack in picking up new tongues. The actor has been lauded, since the very beginning, for her ability to mouth lines perfectly. Tamannaah dubbed for herself in Telugu in Oopiri and in Hindi for Baahubali. “While it is important to know the language, there are those who have survived without knowing it at all and that in itself is an art. I also believe learning a language gives you a good insight into the region's people and their culture,” she shares.

Tamannaah also adds that learning a language has helped her express differently. “The accents, pauses - everything is different when you know a language,” she says.

On pay parity and sexual harassment

Tamannaah is known for her diplomacy and this comes through in her responses sometimes. While she agrees that the industry needs to address the disparity in payment, she also adds that such numbers are decided by the market. “We may have stronger female scripts now but when it comes to payment, it depends on the individual actor’s stand in the market. But I do hope the huge pay gap between male and female stars gets smaller in the future,” says Tamannaah.

On sexual harassment in the industry, Tamannaah has maintained that not having experienced it herself, she has nothing to add. “But if someone has experienced it, they are open to talk about it. It is based on individual experiences.”

While Tamannaah dabbles in Tollywood, Kollywood and Bollywood the actor shares her hopes of entering Mollywood and Sandalwood sometime in the future. “It is all about making good content. Today, theatre is not the only form of entertainment for people. It’s all about churning out interesting content,” she finishes. 

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