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Saloni Aswani in Telugu film Maryada Ramanna

Last updated on: July 22, 2010 14:07 IST

Image: A scene from Maryada Ramanna
Radhika Rajamani in Hyderabad

Mumbai born-and-bred Saloni Aswani dreamt of being under the arclights since childhood. She entered films via modelling. After her debut in the Hindi film Dil Pardesi Ho Gaya she got the offer to star in a Telugu film Dhana 51.

Subsequently she did a few Telugu (Oka Oorillo, Kokila, Chukkalo Chandrudu, a song in Nagarjuna's Boss) Kannada and Tamil films besides other Hindi projects like Rehguzar and Saawan.

Last year Saloni did a cameo in Magadheera (directed by Rajamouli) and this lead to another Rajamouli film, Maryada Ramanna releasing on July 23.

In the precincts of Prasad Labs, Saloni gives a lowdown of acting in Maryada Ramanna and her career so far. Excerpts:

What was your reaction when you were offered a heroine's role in Maryada Ramanna?

I happened to get a guest appearance in Magadheera. At that time I heard Rajamouli sir was doing a film with Sunil. Even before the release of Magadheera Rajamouli sir called and asked me if I would be part of the film with Sunil. I said, yes.

I didn't expect that he would repeat me in his next film and that too give me a heroine's role, after a guest appearance. He told me it's a family script. I felt lucky. The time has come finally after a gap.

'There was no way I was going to say no to Rajamouli sir'

Image: Trailer of Maryada Ramanna

Did you like the script? Was it because of Rajamouli that you signed the film?

It's a simple family story. There was no way of saying, no. Rajamouli sir was one of the main reasons I signed the film.

You did a small role in Magadheera. How is it doing a full-fledged heroine's role in Maryada Ramanna?

I felt odd that I had only three days of shoot in Magadheera. There was no way of showcasing my skills as there was no song too. I told Rajamouli sir that I hoped to work with him. He told me, 'you are a good actor and acted beyond my expectations'.

Rajamouli sir's acting skills are good. He enacts everything himself. He has a perfect sense of timing too. Since he is so brilliant, he made it easy for me. I wanted to hear him say, the shot was good. So I gave my best.

'I am making an effort to learn Telugu'

Image: A scene from Maryada Ramanna

How was it working with Rajamouli?

He is brilliant as an actor and perfectionist as a director. He is cool on the sets and very approachable. He made sure I was comfortable. For instance, we shot the climax sequence in Prodattur and he felt it was not on the mark. He required a particular expression and I couldn't give it since my eyes were shut because of the light on my face.

Then we shot the same scene in the exterior of the house in Hyderabad. Still I had a problem with the light. So sir asked everyone to shift inside and made me comfortable and then shot it. So, for that one expression, he made so much effort to make me comfortable. When he does such a thing, you feel like giving your 200 per cent as you want to give the best.

You have acted in a couple of Telugu films. How do you manage with the dialogues? Have you learnt Telugu now?

I'm coming after a gap of few years since I was busy with three Kannada films and a Tamil film. I hounded the assistant director to get me the dialogues in advance. I would go to the director to learn the right pauses. I am making an effort to learn Telugu. Since I am from Mumbai, I am fluent in English, Hindi and Marathi.

Did Rama Rajamouli style your look and the costumes?

Yes she did. Having Rama ma'am on the sets was of great help. I play a girl-next-door, so Rama ma'am designed Indian ethnic wear and a western wear for the song. She took my inputs too and even the director ensured my comfort in the songs.

'My dad wanted me to do a 9 to 5 job'

Image: A scene from Maryada Ramanna

Could you say something about your co-star Sunil?

I have worked with him before in Oka Oorillo and Chukkalo Chandrudu, so we share a good rapport. I know he has perfect sense of timing but I was zapped when I saw him dance in Andhala Ramudu. He can do everything like Govinda -- dance, emote, comedy. He was very helpful. He never laughed when I fumbled. He would do his job. We had a blast on and off the sets.

Are you nervous about the release?

Yes. I feel the jitters like I did for my first film. I am waiting to see how the audience will react. Compliments from the audience and box office success matter to get meaty roles.

Are you happy doing Telugu, Tamil and Kannada movies?

Yes. My Kannada film Buddhivanta was a blockbuster and I played a Telugu girl in it. My Tamil film Madurai Veeran (a remake of the Telugu film Nuvvu Nenu) didn't do as well; it was average. Wherever the script, banner, director are good, I would do the film.

What made you take up acting?

Even as a child, I wanted to be an actress. My mother, uncle and aunt supported me in this. My dad was a customs officer (now retired) and he wanted me to do a 9 to 5 job and was not in favour of my doing films.

I convinced him slowly. I took to modelling while in college and when he slowly started seeing my commercials, he started appreciating me.

'To survive in the industry, you need hard work and luck'

Image: A scene from Maryada Ramanna

Are you doing any Hindi projects now?

I did films like Dil Pardesi Ho Gaya, Rehguzar (with Jimmy Shergill) and Saawan (with Salman Khan) and then got the Telugu film Dhana 51 with Sumanth. Then I did Telugu, Kannada and Tamil films and I lost touch with Hindi. Now I have done the Hindi remake of The Departed (which is untitled) with Anuj Sawhney and Aryaman.

Are you happy to be in the film field?

I was happy from the beginning. I was thrilled when I did my first ad and am happy when I get my cheque. I give it to mama and when she is on a high, I feel happy.

What does it take to survive in the industry?

Fifty per cent hard work, 50 per cent luck. If luck shines, you get work. One needs patience and should not lose hope. I have my family support and friends to motivate me.