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Sameera Reddy: Tamil films made me more confident

Last updated on: February 3, 2010 12:51 IST

'Tamil films made me more confident'

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Shobha Warrier in Mumbai

Sameera Reddy had a rocking debut in Tamil with Gautham Menon's Vaaranam Aayiram. Eager to taste success again, Sameera is now teaming up with Ajith in Asal.

Saran is the director after Menon dropped out of the movie produced by Sivaji Productions, which releases this Friday.

Sameera spoke to Shobha Warrier about her Tamil experience and more.

How different was acting in Hindi and Tamil films, other than the language?

I don't know why but I get a different feeling when I walk into the sets of a Tamil film. My comfort levels are quite high in the south. Maybe it is because I worked with such excellent people like Suriya, Gautham and Ajith. The way they and even the production house (Sivaji Productions) took care of me was amazing.

I started my career with Hindi films and I made a lot of mistakes in choosing the films. But it was a learning experience for me. Tamil films made me more confident.

How difficult was delivering dialogues in Tamil?

I don't look at it as something really difficult. I have done films in Bengali, also. Yes, one has to work hard on one's lines. It was very much like going back to school. But I had such great directors to teach me the language. 

Did you make any effort to understand the dialogues?

Absolutely. Gautham will tell you how I would learn the meaning of every word in Vaaranam Aayiram. I even made an effort to learn the nuances so that my expressions were correct. Unless you know your dialogues well, how will you emote?


Image: Sameera Reddy

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'You will not get bored of Asal even for a minute'

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When you were first offered Vaaranam Aayiram, were you hesitant because it was a Tamil film?

I had seen Gautham's Kaakha Kaakha and I was impressed. So when he offered me the role of one of the three girls, I said yes even though I didn't know about the other two female roles.

Did you ask him why he chose you? When I asked him, he said he wanted an actress who has an imposing and unapproachable personality!

(Laughs) He told me that too! Actually Meghna in Vaaranam Aayiram is just like me. There is a sense of connection with the character. That is why I am so attached to the film. I find it very amusing when someone runs around proclaiming his love for me! It doesn't mean that I don't have a heart, though!

The film has now won the National Award for the best Tamil film...

I am very happy for Gautham. I was in Delhi when I heard the news, and I called him immediately. He is a director who follows his heart. The film is autobiographical and a grand work.

But Asal is a commercial film like any other Ajith film...

I saw Asal and am very happy with it. Yes, it is a commercial film but at the same time it has a lot of sensibility, style and a very good script going for it. All this makes it a deadly combination. You will not get bored even for a minute. The pace is amazing. I am really looking forward to the people's reaction to the film.

Who are you in the film?

I play Sarah, a French cultural attache who helps Ajith in his quest for whatever he wants. Basically I am his support system. We have a very stylised French look in the film.


Image: A scene from Asal

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'My mother was bowled over by Ajith'

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A lot of actresses whom I have spoken to described Ajith as a true gentleman. What about you?

He is not only a gentleman but a very good human being as well. My mother also met him and was bowled over. It is not about being chivalrous; it is about having a good heart. He has respect for everyone. He is a people's person and very rarely do you find such people in the film industry.

How was shooting in France?

It was simply fantastic. The weather and the place were great. We shot mainly in the interiors. You have to see it to believe how fantastic the locations were. France is not just about the Eiffel Tower.

All the scenes in the film, whether it is coming out of the embassy or walking on the road, are stylish and very European. The place looked so good in film! The way we were styled is something you have not seen in Tamil before. It is going to set a standard in style and looks. I have a feeling that the audience will love it.

Did you feel the same way when you saw first saw Vaaranam Aayiram?

You know, when I saw the film, I fell in love our (Suriya's and mine) love story. There is the scene when I die and Suriya cries in the phone booth. It was so touching that I started crying too when I watched it. I forgot that I was the actor who died and that Suriya was crying for me.


Image: Sameera Reddy

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'Playing a complete idiot in Race was the most difficult thing I have ever done'

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You have acted in Buddhadev Dasgupta's Bengali films Ami Yasin Arr Amar Madhubala and Kaal Purush. You have also acted in Hindi films like Race. What types of films do you enjoy?

I enjoy parallel cinema more than commercial films; I prefer world cinema than Hollywood films. I watch world cinema because I feel they have such original scripts. It is also enjoyable to watch commercial blockbusters like 2010. I truly enjoy cross-over films.

Since you enjoy parallel cinema, how do you feel when you work in commercial films?

I do all my films with full enjoyment and conviction, whether it is a Buddhadeb Dasgupta film or a film like Race. These are a variety of roles I can offer to the audience. When I am acting, it is not about what I like or don't like; it's only about what I can offer as an actor to the audience.

Your role in Race was that of a bimbo. What was it like?

That was the most difficult role I have ever done in my career. While working on it I would ask Anil Kapoor (her co-star in Race) every morning to please tell me why I was doing the film. It was difficult for me to behave like an idiot as I consider myself a sharp person. However good an actor you are, your sensibilities as a person can be seen on your face. The director told me the dumber you are, the better my character. So, I literally left my brain at home and played a complete idiot! And people loved it.

Did you have to prepare a lot while acting in Buddhadeb Dasgupta's films?

That required a lot of hard work but I thoroughly enjoyed it. He is such a fabulous director that he makes you the character inside too. I enjoyed working in both his films.


Image: Sameera Reddy

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'I want to cater to the masses'

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If you were to choose between a parallel film and a commercial film, what would it be?

It all depends on where you are in your career. You may do a lot of honest and excellent parallel cinema but half the time people don't get to see it. It is commercial cinema that takes you to the masses. It all depends on who you want to cater to.

So who do you want to cater to?

I want to cater to the masses. Race reached all over but how many people have seen a wonderful film from Buddhadeb Dasgupta?

Does that mean you won't do those kinds of films again?

I don't mean that. I have done a Nagesh Kukunoor film. His films are sensible and people do watch them. I have taken the route of middle cinema now. Of course, I won't leave commercial cinema.

But I have to admit that the kind of response I have gotten from intellectuals and film festival circuits on the Buddhadeb films was amazing.

As a creative person, acting in which kinds of films satisfy you?

Parallel cinema, of course. But Vaaranam Aayiram is the best example of a mix of both. As also a Nagesh Kukunoor film.


Image: A scene from Asal

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'I was shocked when people asked me not to act in a film on AIDS'

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You are going to be acting with Mohanlal in a Malayalam film...

I am excited about it. I think more than me, my mother is excited. She is a big fan of his.

You also did a film with Mira Nair...

It was a short film on HIV/AIDS. I was shocked when people asked me not to act in a film on AIDS. That was how people reacted to the subject. And that was exactly the reason why I did it. I was with Mira at the Toronto festival and we got a standing ovation after the film was screened. It was an overwhelming experience.

I am grateful to God for what he has given me. I am also a very socially responsible person who thinks that it is our duty to give something back to the society.


Image: A scene from Asal

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