Born and brought up in Muscat in the Persian Gulf, 20-year-old Sneha Ullal, the Discovery of Salman Khan and almost branded the carbon copy of beauty empress Aishwarya Rai, says that Bollywood people are rough and rude compared to the amiable Andhra Pradesh (Tollywood) and industry further down South. “If everything goes well, and if the people of Andhra Pradesh receive my performance, I wish to have a long-lasting inning in Telugu film industry, rather than in Mumbai or in Los Angeles,” the girl is hopeful. With the general feel in her favor that her histrionics in Karunakaran’s Ullasanga Utsahanga, she is still more confident of her second venture Nenu Meeku Telusa, set for release in September/October. Ullal is aware of her weaknesses and strengths. She talks about her dream of starting a hospital for the Animal welfare, love for her mother suffering from cancer and last but not least to be attached to her possessive dad for the whole of a lifetime. “I don’t even mind skipping marriage for the sake of my parents’ wellbeing,” Ullal makes a highly endangered and truly human statement. Here are the excerpts from an exclusive interview to Idlebrain.
How did your film career start?
I was studying at MMK College, Mumbai. That time, Salman Khan’s sister Arpita happened to see me. But, I didn’t know that she told her brother about me. One day, I came from the hospital and the phone was ringing at home. My thoughts were fully clouded with my mother, who was at the hospital taking painful chemotherapy for the cancer. I received the phone and words from the other end said: Hi, I am Salman Khan. Could I speak to Sneha Ullal – I felt that somebody was joking. I just put down the phone repeatedly. When my mom came home after several days, I told her what had happened. Casually, I gave her the incoming number and she tried it back. It was truly Salman Khan who called for me. At first, I was nervous. But, Salman was a sportive man. My parents agreed to the proposal to take me in for the film Lucky. The film brought me instant recognition and I am thankful to the Indian media which shot me to fame. Currently, I am awaiting the release of three films in the coming months. Two movies are in the pipeline in Bollywood. As you know, I am doing the lead heroine in Manoj Kumar’s Nenu Meeku Telusa.
You are having a good time there (Bollywood). Why testing luck here (Tollywood)?
I have no calculations. After all, I never thought that I would become an actress. At the same time, I have no inhibitions. I just behave like a normal girl what I was before a heroine. Karunakaran just wanted me for his project. I found it feasible and my dates didn’t clash here. I sincerely did what I could do as per the script. Now that the film (UU) was released, everybody is telling me – Hi, Sneha, you did a fantastic job … this and that. I sincerely trust them. I didn’t lose anything by coming here. As an actress, I am busy here.
Will you settle here if your position gets established here?
Why not? I am not new to South. In fact, my dad hailed from Mangalore. Let me frankly tell you. All these years, I was with my parents in the Gulf. I am not a settler in Mumbai. There also I am just an actress. Here, the same. Now that I have chosen the tinsel world as a career, I have to persist, and I shall.
Which you feel is better – Bollywood or South?
Definitely, it’s South which makes me feel happy. In Mumbai, people are very rude and that is their lifestyle. I don’t have any grumbling. As of me, I am lover of silence and wish to do things without noise. Within a short span, I finished two films without much difficulty. Moreover, people here are very flexible and don’t mind encouraging us, as we don’t know Telugu. But, there, we will always be missing the special attention. Nobody will encourage us. But, just exploit our potential. Rather, I say, it’s a raw deal sans heart and soul.
Heard you are doing a Hollywood flick. What’s it about?
Yes. I am doing a Hollywood film. It is Gandhi Park, to be completely shot in the USA. Tom George is the filmmaker. I already finished two weeks shoot. Soon, I will be resuming the shoot in the coming days. In that film, I am doing the heroine, what you say female lead. I am even happier that I could spread my arm further into the West.
What is your ambition?
This is one thing which keeps me watchful always. I can’t tolerate cruelty to animals, birds or any living creature. I have taken a vow to spread vegetarianism as best as I could. If I get sufficient money, I will start a hospital for the animals. I love them like I love human beings. Everybody is equal in the eyes of God.
Were you a born vegetarian? Or convert?
It’s like this. One day, I was driving home. I saw some guys whipping and chasing some goats. They came before my vehicle. I just chided them for being cruel to the animals. They shot back – Hello, don’t you eat mutton? Their words stung me like anything. Guilt covered me. Instantly, I decided to quit non-vegetarian food. And I did it. I am into my third year as vegetarian. When I came here (Hyderabad), I met Nagarjuna couple and got thrilled at their work. Association with them helped me to turn more resolute about my dream for a welfare animal kingdom. Of course, it might sound a fantasy, but I am hopeful of it. I also join the fight against Cancer and Aids.
Did you make any charity so far?
I did it personally. I don’t want to talk about it. I understand your suspicion. Yes. A lot many people talk about animal welfare, alleviation of poverty, fight against AIDS. Mostly, these things are just limited to mere slogans. It has also become a fashion to be a volunteer. If I could do it wholeheartedly, I don’t need to open it to the public eye.
How’s your mother now?
She is doing fine. But, she lost a lot of hair due to chemotherapy. She needs our love. And I am ready for it.
Did you ever fall in love? Your opinion about marriage?
To be frank, I never thought much about these things. I am still young. Just 20. If you insist, I just say: I love my parents a lot. My dad is so possessive of me. When I want to go on a picnic for a day or two, he doesn’t even entertain the idea of being away from me more than a couple of hours. He makes hungama like a child. Now, they are aging. Their happiness is my happiness. I am dead against the thought of marriage until and unless my parents are assured of their happy life post-retirement. I don’t mind even skipping marriage for their sake.
What is your opinion about skin-show?
Skin-show doesn’t come under entertainment. Of course, I heard a lot about this in Mumbai, Muscat and in Hyderabad. It’s everywhere. But, I am not a taker for this. You see my debut film here (UU). Karunakaran showed me very decently. The same thing is in Nenu Meeku Telusa. I was made to present some decent appeal in the song sequences, that too on the suggestion of director Karunakaran. In other sequences, you will find me very traditional. I like those roles. I wait for those roles. And I will never ever go after roles for money or career. I strongly believe that people in South really don’t like exposing. It’s more a fallacy of mediocre filmmakers, misjudging the taste of the audience.
What kind of food you like?
I already said simple vegetarian dishes. Mostly home-made food.
What’s your favorite dress?
What are your favorite places in Hyderabad?
So far, I saw only Golconda. Since I was working in films here, they took me to the shooting spots. Golconda is one such. I wish to see entire Hyderabad and Nizam splendor as a tourist. Or like a Hyderabadi.
Who is your favorite actor?
In Bollywood, it’s Akshay Kumar. He knew me as a child. He kissed me once. I still remember it.
Recently, SRK and Salman were at loggerheads again. Whom do you support?
I don’t know what had happened there. I can’t take sides.
Who are your friends in Mumbai and Hyderabad?
I don’t have any friends at all. I just maintain Hi-Hi relation. It doesn’t mean that I am arrogant. But, I have a good friend, our family well-wisher in Salman. Now, I feel, it’s so long that we spoke again. Of course, he is busy.
What about your studies?
I am studying degree. I just took some break. I will continue.
What is life in your dictionary?
It’s humanism. Love for all.
Prem Kumar Patra (Producer)
GV Prakash (Music director)
Mohana Krishna Indraganti (Director)
Bharat (Child actor)
Malini Dasari (Cinematographer)
Rama Jogaiah Sastry (Lyricist)
Uday Kiran (Hero)
Aditi Sharma (Heroine)
Nagur Babu (Mano) (Singer)
Sekhar Suri (Director)
Sindhu Menon (Heroine)
Vinu Thomas (Music director)
Nihal (Music director & Singer)
Smita (Pop singer)
Sonal Chauhan (Actress)
Raghu Kunche (Singer)
Udaya Bhanu (Anchor)
Meher Ramesh (Director)
Rao Ramesh (Actor)
Gopi Mohan (Writer)
Ajay Sastri (Director)
Vara Mullapudi (Director)
Bhumika Chawla (Actress)
Jagapati Babu (Actor)
Vijay C Kumar (Cinematographer)
Sekhar Kammula (Director)
Ram Gopal Varma (Director)
Srinivasa Reddy (Director)
Mickey J Meyer (Music director)
R Narayana Murthy (Producer)
Baba Sehgal (Singer)
Buddhadev Dasgupta (Director)
Tom Alter (Actor)
Kundan Shah (Director)
Priyadarshini Ram (Director)
Selva Raghavan (Director)
Vijaya Bhaskar (Director)
R Ravinder (Art director)
Chandra Sekhar Yeleti (Director)
Mohana Krishna Indraganti (Director)
Dega Deva Kumar Reddy (Producer)
Nidhi Prasad (Director)
Hema Chandra (Singer)
Vijay C Chakravarthy (Cinematographer)
VN Aditya (Director)