I chose not to watch the original before the shooting of Drishyam
She last sizzled in the song Chamiya No. 1 in Zilla Ghaziabad, and will now be seen as mummy no. 1 in Drishyam. Talented actress Shriya Saran talks about her upcoming film and her far and few between appearances in Hindi movies.
Did you have any apprehensions playing a mother onscreen?
No, I just wanted to be part of this beautiful film. Motherhood is also an emotion that a woman goes through. And today’s mothers’ characters give you a lot more shades to portray. They are working and multi-tasking people. It talks about what you are. I think it is fun (playing a mom).
What made you say ‘yes’ to the character and the film?
I had seen the original (Drishyam, in Malayalam) long ago. It is such a brilliant script. I wanted to do it because it’s a wonderful script about simple human emotions. It’s a film everyone will relate to and connect with, no matter what background or language or part of the world you are from. It is a simple family of a husband-wife, a daughter and an adopted daughter, and how they deal with a big problem. The best part of Drishyam’s story is that no one is right or wrong, it’s just the situation.
What kind of interaction did you have with Ajay Devgn and Tabu while shooting Drishyam?
It was a very intense film. We did the whole film from start to finish in two months. Ajay is a brilliant actor and one of those actors who leaves his stardom behind. On the set he is a simple guy. Shockingly or interestingly when he says his lines it feels as if they were written by him. Ajay is very real and natural as an actor. When he is acting you feel that he is really going through the character’s emotions. Like I said earlier, if acting is all about reacting then it becomes very easy while working with someone like Ajay because all you are doing is reacting to all that he is doing. What he is doing is so brilliant that you end up doing your best as well.
I have worked with Tabu in a South Indian film as well. She is just the same, simple, down-to-earth, sweet and loving person. I didn’t have many scenes with her though.
Given that Drishyam is already made in Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada and Tamil and your character has been reprized four times, did you try to bring something new to your character in the Hindi version?
One, we didn’t watch the original film, the Malayalam version, before we started shooting. I have done many remakes in the South. And I feel that is important you don’t watch the original because if you do watch it there are chances you will hamper your creativity. And it’s not because the acting is bad or you’re trying to be better than it, somewhere you limit your abilities. When you start with a clean mind you can achieve a lot. And sometimes even actors are different. I may approach the same scene differently. For instance I may not feel like crying in a particular scene, whereas another actor may feel the need to show tears. Also, the punch in the jokes changes in different languages. The relationship of a Goan family would be different from a Malayalee family. So, despite it being a remake, you can create your own film.
Since you have done many remakes do you feel it is easier or difficult to do them?
With a remake the only thing you know is that it’s a tried and tested formula, you know how many people saw the film, enjoyed it and how it did business-wise. But the cut, copy and paste approach may not work. Some films are actor-based and some are writer-based, so if the story is the hero of the film then it is easier to remake such a film.
You have acted in Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, English and Hindi. Is it easy to emote in different languages?
Yes and no. Yes, because I started working at 17 in different languages, which means you become part of someone’s life and tell their stories. At that age you grasp better.
Why doesn’t one see you in Hindi films regularly?
You do work where you are offered. Fortunately we are part of one country so doesn’t matter which language it is in.
Have you signed anything new in Hindi or regional films?
What is your dream role?
I’d like not to limit myself… At some point I wish I could do a role like the one Meryl Streep had in Iron Lady. To be able to last till the end and do a role like that would be cool.