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Sriya Reddy - I wouldn't mind retirement after Salaar and OG, want my career to end on a high | Exclusive

The actress talks of her big-screen comeback with the Prabhas, Prithviraj starrer Salaar and spills the beans about Pawan Kalyan’s OG

Sriya Reddy - I wouldn't mind retirement after Salaar and OG, want my career to end on a high | Exclusive
Sriya Reddy

Last Updated: 07.18 PM, Dec 26, 2023


Sriya Reddy, today, may be the talk of the tinsel town for her portrayal of Radha Rama, the ambitious princess in the last week’s release Salaar (Part 1 - Ceasefire), but did you know she almost turned down the role? Director Prashanth Neel was keen on roping her for his magnum opus after watching her badass act in Pogaru. “I was surprised why he chose for me for the part after so many years.”

The actress, who was on a sabbatical from cinema for nearly a decade, was reluctant about working on the film regardless of the names involved with it. “However Prashanth was persistent and said only I could do justice to it. We had more disagreements than agreements across every possible department - the look, the costumes and the gait. I gave him a hard time (laughs).”


Prashanth felt it would be refreshing for a woman to play a negative role but he and Sriya also wanted to lend it a touch of class. “We didn’t want her to be a villain who’s shouting all the time. He had given me specific instructions about not lifting my mouth beyond a limit. She had to be soft and yet firm while standing upto the men around her.”

She even rejected many looks/costume designs, but credits the director for being secure and incorporating her inputs at all stages. If the portrayal of Radha Rama comes across as dignified, it’s all because of Prashanth, the actress mentions. “He took many months to get back about the fully-developed character and assured he would give me a platform to perform. He stayed true to his word.”

The character presented her challenges at every step. If the long time for the makeup, donning heavy costumes and jewellery weren’t enough, Sriya was overwhelmed by the dialogue-sheets that extended to many pages. “I can function with my limited Telugu but I couldn’t make head or tail out of those lines.”

On a lighter note, Jagapathi Babu kept asking Sriya to come out of her character and behave normally in between shots. “I wanted to be Radha Rama all the time.” Sriya labels Prabhas one of her sweetest co-stars and apparently the Baahubali actor wondered if she was much like Radha Rama off-screen too. “He doesn’t let stardom get to him. I call him a gentle giant.”

Prithviraj is one of the finest actors of our times and there are no things about it, the actress adds. Before the release, was there a worry if audiences may not absorb the intricacies of Khansaar in Salaar? “It’s a Game of Thrones-like world, but that’s how world-building works. Baahubali 1 is ultimately a foundation for the second part and we’ve just introduced audiences to Khansaar in Salaar.”

“What you’ve seen in Salaar is barely the tip of the iceberg. If you’re so excited for the first part already, I can’t tell you how would you react to the second. You’ll have to wait for two years at least.” Meanwhile, she’s almost wrapped up shooting for another biggie OG, a slick actioner featuring a host of stars including Pawan Kalyan, Priyanka Mohan, Emraan Hashmi, Arjun Das and others.

“If I’ve to give a spoiler about it, many have doubts about its similarities to previous films of Sujeeth and Pawan Kalyan’s commercial flicks. As much as it’s an action film, I can assure you it’s an emotional rollercoaster. It’s brilliant and out of the world. Pawan Kalyan is a sweetheart and always kept asking me about the intensity in my eyes. I said it was to scare him (mischievously smiles).”

With OG, she’s also reuniting with her Kanjivaram and Sila Samayangalil co-star Prakash Raj after many years. “I kept joking that it was my turn to dominate him in OG and win laurels, since he already won the National Award for Kanjivaram.” Barring an action sequence, the Pawan Kalyan starrer is complete and is expected to release by mid-2024.

She admits the big deal is to choose her projects wisely after Suzhal (her OTT debut), OG and Salaar. “The writers need to give me something unconventional. I can’t keep doing the action roles or play the baddie every time. I don’t want to repeat myself. In fact, I don’t even mind retiring after OG and Salaar. It’s better to end on a high, isn’t it?”

While the directors are often tempted to cast her in mean, strong female roles, doesn’t Sriya sense the necessity to play the demure, measured parts too (like in Kanjivaram, Sila Samayangalil and Appudappudu)? “The grass is always on the greener side I guess. Actors who get to play sensitive roles would also want something like Radha Rama. We need stronger women characters. Aren’t we bored seeing the men already? Let us take over.”

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