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Interview with Sridevi
Date: August 12, Hyderabad

Sridevi. The very mention of that magical and romantic name makes your eyelids droop and you go nostalgic about your experiences of watching an all-time screen wonder. Leave that for now. Come back and consider the dreams of her ardent fan. Manjula-Vijaykumar’s darling daughter Sridevi. Shedding her childhood molt, she made her debut as heroine in Prabhas debut film – Eeshwar (2002). After that she acted in six films in six years. There is a general feel that she couldn’t get that so-called commercial break. But, the girl, fuming but appearing cool, declares: “I am never for money. I am not here to become a star heroine. I am content with what I am. I will get my time.” With hope gushing out from her dark eyes, her lips quiver – clearly suggesting her passion for a vengeful comeback. “In my view, there is nothing like big star or small artiste. An artiste is an artiste. If I do star with debutants, what’s wrong in that?” The actress speaks about her marriage, expose factor, and above all her perception of acting. Currently, she plays the heroine (as Muslim girl) in a violent love story – Manjeera. An Idlebrain’s exclusive interview:

Tell us how you made your way up to film industry?
You know that I am the daughter of Manjula and Vijaykumar. Hailing from a very popular artistes’ family, it’s natural that I hold interest in the filed of Cinema. I was known to many as a child artiste. With the blessings of my parents and film industry elders, I made my debut as heroine in Eeshwar with Prabhas. That film brought me much recognition, but I knew and agree that I couldn’t move ahead to the expected stretches. I am always busy with my career in Tamil and Kannada also. But, I shall be ever grateful to Tollywood.

So many heroines came and bagged stardom. Don’t you think you missed the train of success?
I don’t have any regrets. Why should I feel that way? See, I am basically an artiste. I have got my own commitments and interests. I don’t like comparison. I go my own way. My perception of success is altogether different from the narrow thinking.

Why there are many breakups in your career?
So far I have done 12 films in Telugu, Kannada and Tamil. It shows I am engaged to films regularly. Then, from where does the gap come?

What you consider important in your career?
Certainly, it’s not stardom, as you people think. I love to do memorable characters. That should elevate the prowess of an actress. Merely romancing with the hero doesn’t make an actress a crazy heroine. That kind of name is just temporary. You can’t deny this. You go and watch all my films. All of them will show me in good roles, worthy roles that could sure be remembered for their performance. So, I give a lot of importance to the characterization given to me.

The influence of your mom (Manjula) on your career?
Yes. She inspires me a lot. She is a big source of strength to me. So also my dad. They are my best critics.

What kind of suggestions they give you?
They give me a lot of suggestions. But, every time, they do it after watching my films. Yes. You might feel it strange. Of course, me too. When I go to shoot, they don’t say anything. They don’t want to mess up things. They love my individuality. But, their constructive criticism of my performance on the screen helps me better myself each time. This way, I care more to become a perfect artiste rather than ending up as a commercial heroine with no longevity.

See, during these six years, you have not acted with any big hero. Why didn’t you get the opportunity?
I don’t believe in categorizing artistes as big and small. Every artiste has his/her importance. If everybody wants to become big, you can’t make a movie at all. Terms like big and small are a big fallacy. Come on. You tell me. Is there anything wrong in not working with big heroes? Or do I become something little if I act with debutants? My perception of acting is very broad. I can never allow my mind to get into channels of narrow thinking.

When are you going to marry?
It might take a couple of years.

Will it be arranged or love marriage?
It could be a mix of both.

What is your opinion about love?
It is a beautiful feeling. It is common for all. But, the expression of it might differ. Without this human element, a life is not complete.

Do you support or oppose the so-called “Exposing” in films?
First of all you understand that there is a lot of confusion in the film industry about Glamour and Expose. Let me tell you frankly. The audience comes to see something on the screen which they don’t regularly find in their real life. That is glamour. They want something more. That is exposing. There is nothing wrong in exposing, which is a basic requirement for films.

So, you are supporting exposing in films?
I neither support nor oppose. Until and unless it crosses the limits, everything would be nice. Let us call it glamour. Beyond that… it amounts to vulgarity. But, don’t get confused. Glamour, exposing and vulgarity are different from one another.

You seem to care much for performance. Do you get any awards so far?
Performance and getting awards are not to be linked with each other. A good performer does her character out of passion and merely for awards. Anyways, I got some private awards for my Tamil films – Devathai Konden and Priyamana Thol. Wherever I go, people love to speak to me. When they try to compare me with my mom, I feel proud of it. It reminds me of our responsibility to become a good actress.

What are the strategies you maintain to withstand the competition?
See I am not a competitor to anybody. I am my own competitor. I already said. My primarily interest is to do good roles. Roles that should be memorable. Why should I compete with somebody? Acting is an art and not a race.

Okay. What you think are your major strengths as an actress?
My parents are my biggest strength. I don’t entertain any jealousy against anybody. I do my own business and don’t care for others. At the same time, I am adaptable to good things.

As a heroine of 12 films (six in Telugu), are you comfortable with your remuneration?
I don’t really bother about remuneration. It is not at all the criterion. I have great parents. I am under pressure to earn money. I consider acting more as my passion rather than profession.

What is your dream role?
I don’t have anything in particular. Just I will be satisfied with all good roles. But they should be performance-oriented.

What are your hobbies?
Playing shuttle and badminton.

Who is your favorite actress?

What about your mother?
Oh! She is in my blood.

Is Sridevi your real name or screen name?
Real name. It’s mother’s favorite name.

What are your future projects?
Yes. I have got some films. It will be let known, next.

Tell us about your current film – Manjeera?
It is a violent love story. I play the role of Muslim girl, for the first time in my career.

Some time back, you were busy opening show rooms and giving stage shows. Why the activities thinned down now?
Oh! I just inaugurated only one shop in Hyderabad some time ago. Of course, I regularly give stage performance during film-functions.

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