You have just completed your first Bengali film "Srikanth". Why did it take you so long to act in a film in your mother tongue?
I am excited about my first Bengali film based on Sarat Chandra Chatterjee's famous novel. It is Sarat Babu's autobiography. The film has been released now in Bengal and has been critically acclaimed. I accepted "Srikanth" immediately because it was the first Bengali film I was offered.
You have been a leading actress in the south, but you don't seem wary of doing item song sequences even for south Indian films. Recently, you did such sequences in the Tamil film "J.J." and the Hindi film "Aan".
I don't know why the media is making a hue and cry about such sequences. If some producer is willing to pay me Rs. 1.5 million for a song-shoot of five to eight days, it only shows that these sequences are extremely popular with the audience and that they are an important part of a film's success.
Many people who have seen "J.J." have complimented me on the sequence and said that was all they would remember of the film. If that is the case why should I not do such sequences so long as they don't affect my stature as a lead actress in the industry?
How did "Chitram" happen?
Oh, I cannot forget the day director Teja approached me for the film. He had seen my photographs sent by my coordinator. Until then I was doing only commercials. He asked me if I could do the role of a 16-year-old girl who got pregnant. I said yes immediately as his narration was highly impressive. "Chitram", made on a medium budget, went on to become a big hit.
Then came "Manasantha Nuvve" which was also a big hit. That opened the doors for me in Telugu cinema.
I have always been lucky with my first films. My first Tamil film "Minnale" directed by Gautam Menon and starring Madhavan was also a blockbuster. I hope the trend will continue with the Kannada film "News".
What is your role in "News"?
I am doing the role of an investigative journalist in the film. The film has an interesting story, and I would certainly not like to reveal it. It will be a surprise package for the viewers.
I know it will be Upendra's film all the way. He is a big hero in Kannada cinema.
I don't find it objectionable if my films are hero-oriented. We have to accept that in the film industry. The focus is always on the charisma and saleability of the hero. I cannot crib for more space and focus if I am acting with a superstar like Upendra.
What is your standing in Bollywood now?
I did act in a film like "Hum Ho Gaye Aapke" with Fardeen. The film had a good story but did not do well in the box office. I am still disappointed that my first Hindi film "Jaal" did not match expectations of the audience. I had hopes from the film. Now I have learnt that we should not have high hopes in this industry.
You are concentrating on glamour roles now. Are you not getting any good roles of substance?
Wait and watch for the release of Tamil film "Chellame" that focuses completely on my character. Gandhi Krishna has directed this film, which is almost complete. I have put my heart and soul into this film.
There is another Telugu film "Neetho Vastha" in which I play the role of an assertive and positive minded girl.