Actress Keerthy Suresh made her acting debut with director Priyadarshan’s horror film Geethaanjali (2013). And in a career spanning a decade, he has emerged as a force to be reckoned with. Although she has a number of successful films to her credit, it was Mahanati (2018) based on the life of late actor Savitri, that really changed her game. It won her widespread critical acclaim and a National Award in 2019.
Last year was extra special for Keerthy as she was part of the super hit movie Sarkaru Vaari Paata and she gave two remarkable performances in Vaashi and Saani Kaayidham which is considered as one of her best roles. And now, she headlines the multilingual action thriller Dasara, which sees her reuniting with actor Nani. Dasara, which released today, touches on the socio-economic status, political aspirations and power struggle of the Singareni coal mines and sees Keerthy playing Vennela, the heart of the story, as stated by Nani. Having released all over India and 1300 screens in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, it is considered to be the biggest film of the summers. According to reports, more than 2300 tickets have already been sold in the UK.
News18 speaks exclusively to Keerthy as she talks about the role of women who do a combination of fierce and fragile, being called ‘the next lady superstar of Kollywood’, working with Nani again and again. Excerpts:
How is your headspace now?
I get butterflies in my stomach before every release. It feels like an exam. No matter how much you study, when a test approaches, the number of butterflies continues to rise. With every film I feel a responsibility.
Your first film with Nani was Nenu Local (2017). What is it like to be on a set with him?
If I am on a film set with Nani and we talk for five hours, four hours and forty-five minutes will be about cinema. I know about the kind of passion he has for cinema, which I really like about him.
You have been hailed for your author-backed roles in films like Mahanati and Vaashi and for changing the narrative about women in commercial cinema. Is playing a strong woman a priority for you?
You don’t always have to be strong. As an actor, I have to play all kinds of characters – even vulnerable parts or whatever a certain script requires me to do. Yes, the character should be something that has more screen space. In Nenu Local, my first film with Nani, I played a vulnerable girl. In Dasara, my character is fun and mischievous. Anyone from Telangana or even the rest of the country will connect to Vennela. She is vulnerable but also has a lot of power.
Some are comparing Dasara with Pushpa: The Rise (2021) and even the KGF series. What do you think of the comparisons?
I think it’s because of the tone of the movie and how Nani’s character is dressed. I think a lot of people from rural backgrounds dress a certain way. But Dasara is completely different in terms of story, setting and [overall] experience. We haven’t seen many rural films and maybe that’s why Dasara is being compared to Pushpa. We don’t have many other movies to compare it to. But these two films belong to two different genres. Our film is very rooted and thus, the script required mythological references. We have also depicted many rituals, which have not been shown in many other films. Nani is sure that people will not make comparisons after watching our film.
Many believe you are the next lady superstar in the making…
We have a lady superstar. So, I don’t think that phrase should be used for me (laughs)!
But are you aware of the frenzy that surrounds you in other parts of the country?
Two to three years ago, I was roaming the streets of Kolkata. Someone came up to me and said he wanted a picture with me. I was sure he didn’t know me. I told him he might have mistaken me for someone else. Then he told me that he has seen me in some Hindi movie. But I didn’t even do a Hindi film (laughs)! So he showed me my own picture on his phone. Then I realized he’s showing me a still from a dubbed movie. It was so funny! But it was also such a pleasure. It is so good to know that they are receiving our films so well. They watch all our movies which are dubbed in Hindi.
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