Tamannaah is a huge star down South but is now gearing up for her big Bollywood release Himmatwala. Having started her acting career at the tender age of 14, Himmatwala is only her second Hindi film. However, with films opposite two of the biggest superstars (Ajay Devgn & Akshay Kumar), Tamannaah is surely hot property in B-town right now.
Tamannaah talks about why she gave the nod to Himmatwala as her re-launch pad, her experience working with Sajid Khan & Ajay Devgn and why she considers her role as a tribute to Sridevi.
You made your acting debut with Chand Sa Roshan Chehra way back in 2005. Why did you decide to go down South after doing just one Hindi film?
Right from a young age, I always wanted to be an actress. I signed my first film Chand Sa Roshan Chehra when I was only 14 years old and still in school and the film released during my board exams. At that stage, I didn’t really plan which way I wanted my career to go. Though I was interested in acting as a career, I also had to continue with my education. I did an ad for Fair & Lovely which got me noticed big time down South. I started getting film offers in both Tamil and Telugu and that’s how my career down South took off.
While you were working down South, didn’t you get any offers to act in Hindi films?
I did get a lot of offers to act in Hindi films but I always wanted to be a part of a film that I would want to watch as an audience. I am an avid movie-goer and love watching films. Movies are the best form of entertainment for me. I was very clear that I didn’t want to take up any random film. I wanted to do a film that was entertaining and I think Himmatwala is the perfect choice.
So would you consider Himmatwala as your re-launch pad in Bollywood?
Absolutely…I am brand new when it comes to Hindi cinema. My only Hindi film prior to this was a long time ago when I was very young and naive. So this is definitely a fresh start to my career in Bollywood.
Tamannaah, How did you exactly bag the film?
Sajid Khan wanted to cast someone who is already an established actress down South. Vashuji and Sajid had seen some of my work down South and they thought I would be apt for the part in Himmatwala.
Were you apprehensive about doing a remake of a popular Bollywood film?
All things got clear when I met Sajid. He is very sincere and has solid conviction. He is the encyclopedia on movies. His obsession for Himmatwala is known to all. He has seen the original film about 36 times. I like his intention behind movies…he makes movies only to entertain people.
Had you seen the original Himmatwala before you bagged this film?
No…I hadn’t watched the film but the moment I was offered this film I did see the original and I was actually convinced that if it’s remade now it would definitely work.
You are paired with a superstar like Ajay Devgn. How’s been the experience working with Ajay?
I am the luckiest girl to be working with a blockbuster director- Sajid Khan and a superstar- Ajay Devgn. In every way, Ajay has been so consistent for over 20 years in this industry. It shows the kind of adulation and fan following he has got. I think people like him not just because he is a brilliant actor but also because of the kind of person he is off screen. He is indeed a very fine human being.
Were you nervous at any point considering you were stepping into Sridevi’s shoes?
A lot of people ask me this question but honestly I’ve always been the biggest fan of Srideviji so it’s more like a tribute to her. It’s very heartfelt but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working on this film. Although the film has undergone a lot of change in terms of story and screenplay my character remains pretty much the same like how Srideviji’s was in the original.
You seem to be having a blast dancing to ‘Naino Mein Sapna’ and ‘Taki O Taki’. How’s been that experience?
I like both ‘Taki O Taki’ and ‘Naino Mein Sapna’. I even find ‘Bum Pe Laat’ very cute and am sure the kids are gonna love that song. For me it was a huge experience to work with Farah Khan. Every song that she has choreographed has been a blockbuster hit. She has taken the songs to another level. It was a very nourishing experience to work with her. I was always very intrigued to see how songs are done in Hindi cinema and this has been a great start.
What do you have to say about your director Sajid Khan’s sense of humour?
There is no dull moment on sets when you have Sajid Khan. What you see in his films is pretty much how he is in real life as well. He is always hyper active, always cracking up everyone with his one-liners. He is full of energy and positivity. It’s been a blast working with him.
Finally you are now going to be working with Akshay Kumar next. Looking forward to that experience?
Absolutely…I am very lucky to be working with him. It’s a total masala entertainer with a lot of comedy. We start shooting in July. Sajid has been speaking so highly of Akshay’s impeccable comic timing that I am totally looking forward to work with him. The film is produced by Tips and is being directed by Sajid-Farhad who have written most of the recent blockbusters like Golmaal series, Singham, Bol Bachchan and even Himmatwala. I interacted a lot with them while filming Himmatwala so there is a certain comfort level.
Are you going to continue doing films down South as well?
Yes for sure. In fact right now I am working on a Telugu film with Naga Chaitanya and also working in a Tamil film with Ajith.