Something must have been bothering Shruti Haasan during our conversation. What, I am not sure, and of course, I didn’t ask. The interview began innocuously enough when I asked her about the comedy film she’s signed with her father, Kamal Haasan. “I’ve wanted to work with him for a really long time,” she said, tersely. She has previously been quoted in a newspaper, saying that Kamal has always wanted her to return to music. She made her film debut as a composer, after all, in Kamal’s film, Unnaipol Oruvan. And so, I asked her if he took a while to warm up to the idea of her becoming an actress. “I have always wanted to become an actress. I’m sure he’s appreciative of that.” Another terse response. I wondered if she’s been asked this question a lot of times over the years.
Shrugging it away, I asked her a pretty generic question. How does she evaluate her career so far? She said she’s at a crossroad of sorts. “I’ve done some critically acclaimed films, and many blockbusters. I love the idea of being a star.” The response took me to the recent Panchu Arunachalam documentary, in which the producer-writer mentions that Kamal Haasan was never really a fan of commercial films. Does he wish she did more serious, meaningful cinema? “Whenever we have discussed this, I’ve always told him that a heroine doesn’t get the same opportunities to do such films as a hero does.” Does she wish the situation was different? “No, it is what it is.”
That was the end of that thread, so I began a new one. I pointed out that she’s more successful in Telugu cinema. She’s had more blockbusters there. She disagreed instantly. I moved on, hoping that a compliment would lighten up the interview. She worked with Vijay and Ajith last year. She’s doing S3, the third film in the Singam franchise, with Suriya, this year. “I thought you said I’m not successful here?” she retorted. I had touched a nerve somewhere. I said it wasn’t my intention to slight her. “All right, okay.”
About S3, she said it is a “different and dynamic role that is pivotal to the story.” When I asked her if the character had been named yet, she said the director would be a better person to discuss that. What about her role in Majnu, the Telugu remake of Premam? There was some uproar about a leaked picture from the sets, with some fans of the Malayalam original assuming that Shruti was playing the role with a lot of makeup. “Dude, I have bigger things to worry about,” she said. When prodded a bit, she mentioned that she hated wearing a lot of makeup and has interpreted Malar in her own way.
It was time to end the conversation. I asked if she felt annoyed when people credit her genes for her acting ability. “As long as they don’t say I got nothing from him.” Had this been a pleasanter conversation, I’d have laughed harder at this parting joke.
This interview was written for The Hindu. All copyrights belong to the organisation. Do link to this page if you’d like to share this review.