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Chitchat with Ileana by Y Sunita Chowdhary
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June 13, 2006

It is an amazing climb and a very quick one. Just two films old and she is the busiest celebrity in town. There is no perceptible difference in the way the actress has changed. She has always been bubbly and smart and for a girl at 19, she's incredibly mature. The well-spoken young actress made it clear that she's only just begun to make an impression on Tinsel town. She has big plans.

How does it feel to be the most happening actress at the moment?
I'm just happy that I'm doing well. It is very intoxicating and it is just for a brief moment, then I am back to normal and my work. It is always been in me not to get carried away. It is normal when you get into the industry and you get a few hit films people tend to put you on a pedestal and the onus is on us not to get carried away. It always helps if the first few films flop and then there is this massive hit, you realize the importance because you have worked so hard for it. But in this case too, I have been working on my mistakes and trying to better each performance.

How are your confidence levels right now?
I am very positive in my approach to work. When you are acting and dancing you think you are doing wonders but when you actually watch yourself on screen, you are not that happy. It happened with Devadas. So one needs to work hard and do lot better because the director has a different perception of the work and we need to go accordingly. Devadas was my first film and it was a training ground for me. It will always remain close to my heart.

My roles in my next film are so different from the rest. Each one has it's own significance. Maybe I'm taking a risk but I'm hoping for the best. Also I understand Telugu very well but I am hesitant talking. Language has never been a problem, the story and script matter.

How has life changed for you post Pokiri?
I am so used to walking on the road but now I can't do that. There are people mobbing me and it's all so unexpected. I do enjoy it at times but I am not used to all this. I am aware all this is transitory and you can't have the sun shining all the time. In between such hectic schedule, I take my time off and reach for my family.

What's your master plan for the future? Anything you can discuss?
Nothing really that specific. I have a couple of toes in the water, Jadoo is almost over. There is one with Raviteja that will be directed by Rajashekar and Munna is on with Prabhas. That will be handled by debutant Vamsi. Then there is this film with NTR. I'm still not in that category of women whom things just kind of come easily to. But it's all good. I work hard and I want to do good films. That makes me happy and for the moment it is the most important thing and all that I really owe to myself.

What has been your criterion for choosing a film?
The first importance is to the story and then I look at how my character is shaping in the film. I am not for a feeble and a dull storyline. I don't mind doing a short role if the character has substance. I want a strong woman in the story. We are getting such stories these days and one needs to be just lucky. I loved my role in Pokiri and I knew it will work. Moreover Manjula has been one reason. She convinced me and I said why not.

How has your family reacted to the adulation?
The best compliment is from dad when I got the award for Devadasu. He was so proud of me. And my sister too, she's so kind of excited when she sees me on the screen. I'm an actress and I'm open to offers from all kind of cinema. Language is not an issue. If I am offered a good film in any other language I would definitely give it a try. I am not going to restrict myself to Telugu cinema alone.

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