Tamannaah Bhatia, who has been a superstar in the South film industry with hits such as Padikathavan, Paiyaa, Siruthai among others, is all set to make her debut in mainstream Bollywood cinema with Sajid Khan’s Himmatwala. Tamannaah talks about making the transition from South to the Hindi film industry.
Were you sceptical about acting opposite a big Bollywood star like Ajay Devgn?
It was actually good to work with someone who is already established in the Hindi film industry. It makes my work so much easier. When you do a film with an actor as big as Ajay, who has such a big fan-base, you’re rest assured that a lot of people will come to watch the film. So, as an actor, the first thing that you need people to do is watch your film before they actually comment on it and say whether it’s good or bad. For me, acting opposite Ajay is a huge plus in various ways.
Did you fear being overshadowed by him in Himmatwala ?
About being overshadowed, I think that nobody else can do a heroine’s role. There is no other substitute for that. A guy cannot play a heroine. For Ajay’s part in the film, nobody else but Ajay can play. So, every part has its own value.
Are you going to stop working in South films, post Himmatwala ?
Not at all! I have a Telugu film, which is about to release and a Tamil film, for which I will start shooting after Himmatwala releases.
Out of all the actresses who have made a transition from the South film industry to Bollywood, whose performance have you liked the most?
I think Asin’s performance in Ghajini was one of my favourites.
Your Bollywood debut is Himmatwala, which can be safely called a ‘masala’ film. Your next with Akshay Kumar may also belong to the same genre. Do you fear being stereotyped?
I’m often asked this question in the South film industry. To me, a commercial film is the toughest challenge for an actor. For a heroine especially, there will be a limited number of scenes. So, you have to perform to the best of your ability and captivate the audience at the same time. I’ve done character-driven roles in the South as well. However, I feel the conviction required to be a part of a commercial film is even more challenging. People of all age groups relate to such films. So, I don’t think that there may be any kind of stereotyping. At the same time, I will try and balance out the commercial films with serious cinema as well.
For instance, another actress from the South, Ileana D’Cruz, started out with Barfi! and is now acting in Phata Poster Nikla Hero. Would you want to do a film like Barfi! at some point?
At some point, yes certainly. I would love to do a film like Barfi!. However, to me the audiences’ choice matters the most. I would work in a film, which the audience is most excited to watch.