At home on screen

Telugu cinema

At home on screen

It is not without reason that Rakul Preet Singh is being hailed as one of the most talented actresses to watch out for in the Telugu film industry.

Starting with the sequel to the blockbuster Kick, to a film with Junior NTR that is being directed by Sukumar and shot by ace cinematographer Randy, Rakul now has at least four big Telugu films that are being eagerly awaited.

“We have finished Kick-2, which features Ravi Teja in the lead. The film is likely to release soon. Then I have Pandaga Chesko with Ram Pothineni, a film with Ram Charan that is being directed by Srinu Vaitla, and a film with Junior NTR that is to be directed by Sukumar. Apart from these, I also have a Hindi film titled Shimla Mirchi, in which Rajkummar Rao plays the hero,” begins Rakul.

In character

Although all these films are big projects, it is the sequel to the roaring hit Kick that has got everybody’s attention now. Get her to disclose details about her character in the sequel and she reluctantly says, “I play a girl from Bihar who comes to Hyderabad. After my arrival here, several things happen. Although I play a single role in the film, it sort of has a dual nature that’s part urban and part rural.”

Terming her experience of working on this film as brilliant, Rakul is all praise for her director Surender Reddy and her co-star Ravi Teja, who she says has lost a lot of weight for his role in this film. “Ravi Teja is a down-to-earth person and I learnt a lot from him. Initially I was a little anxious as he is a big star. However, we gelled well and it was a pleasure working with him,” she beams.

Ileana and Ravi Teja played the lead in Kick. Now that Rakul is playing the female lead in the sequel, can it be taken that she is portraying Ileana’s role? The actress says with a laugh, “No, I can’t disclose anything about that.” But point out to her that if it is a sequel, then logically, she must be playing Ileana’s character and she slowly and thoughtfully replies, “Well, this is a sequel alright as it is a follow-up to the other story. But it is a different story and has a different approach. How it is different is something you will have to find out by watching the film.”

One factor that worked in favour of the prequel big time was the comedy sequences in it. To do comedy, considered one of the tougher genres, one requires a great sense of timing. Grill Rakul on her sense of comic timing and she says, “I was able to do the sequences well. My character in this film is not involved in situational comedy, which is to say the situations on screen would appear serious to characters but funny to the audiences. So, I had no problems handling the comedy part.”

Another interesting aspect of the film is its music. Impressive numbers have got expectations from the film soaring. “The film has five songs in it. Of these, three have been shot in Geneva and Zurich, in Switzerland. The other songs have been shot in India. One was on a set and the last was at a place with a village backdrop. We also shot at Hampi and Jaisalmer for the film,” she informs.

Height of success

Her rise to stardom has been spontaneous and steady. Draw her attention to this fact and she says in Telugu, with a generous smattering of English, “My heart is filled with gratitude. I am not from the film industry. Therefore, I didn’t have a big launch and had to work my way up. At one point, I reached a stage where I didn’t know how to proceed with my career. Luckily, that is when Venkatadri Express happened. The audience accepted that film, and the love that they showered on me changed everything. That love is the reason why I have such a line-up of films now. Therefore I’m extremely grateful to the audience and the film industry.”

Finally, how is it that she speaks Telugu so well? “When you learn lengthy dialogues every day, you tend to learn the language. Moreover, that is the least I could do in return for an industry that has given me so much of love and respect,” she signs off.

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