Trisha whose upcoming film, Khatta Meetha starring Akshay Kumar and directed by Priyadarshan is releasing this Friday.
The actress talks to the media about the film, her move to Bollywood, her passions and much more. Excerpts:
What is Khatta Meetha about?
Just as the titles suggests it is a little sweet and a little sour. People are fighting for a cause in the film. Of course, there is slapstick comedy; I am sure people expect that because it is a Priyan-Akshay Kumar combo. The love track is very cute.
I play a collector and Akshay plays a road contractor. My role is slightly serious and I haven’t played anything like this before. Akshay’s character is funny and bit crass. I think he has done it fabulously. I don’t think anyone else would have pulled off the character so well. Our silly tug of wars and the scenes where he has to overact and I need to underplay are shot very well.
There are rumours that the film is inspired from a real-life story of a road engineer who was killed because of municipal politics. Another rumour says it is an adaptation from an old Priyadarshan film. Which is true?
It will be right to call it an adaptation of an old Priyan film. It is a film that came out in the 1980s and I have seen the film starring Mohanlal and Shobana. Priyan sir has changed everything according to the current trend and Akshay’s image. He has also portrayed me differently.
About it being inspired by a true story, I am not sure and don’t want to comment on it.
What made you take the plunge into Bollywood?
The idea of doing a Hindi film has been cropping up for the past seven-and-a-half years since Priyan sir launched me in films. We have been in talks but nothing materialised. I was busy doing films in two languages down south. But I realized monotony was creeping in and that it was time that I tried my hand at something new.
It was magical; I got a call at the right time. Priyan sir called up and said he was doing a film with Akshay Kumar and wanted me to be a part of it. I took it up because I needed a challenge.
Are you liking Bollywood?
I love it. The journey has been very smooth and pleasant. It hasn’t been that much of a contrast; people here are wonderful just like those in the south. People here are very professional. Plus, there were a lot of guys from the south in the crew. I don’t feel like a newcomer.
How different is Bollywood from the south?
It is a bit different. I like the way people do things here. If they are shooting a song, a lot of effort is put into it — be it the song, the location or the make up.
Akshay is so professional and so is Priyan sir. He is someone who will get upset if someone is even 10 to 15 minutes late. He is so organised that if he has a 9 am to 6 pm shift, he makes sure he finishes at 6 pm. We have a lot of time for ourselves.
How was your first day of shoot? Were you nervous?
The first day of shoot was in Pune and was only a half-day shift. I think Priyan sir knew I would be nervous and it was sweet of him to start the shoot with the climax scene, which was very simple; it was a small scene. It was nice because it was the first time I was meeting everyone. Though I had done a lot of tests with my designers, I hadn’t met Akshay. I got acquainted with the crew first and only then we started shooting.
Since you found the language difficult, how did you learn it?
It wasn’t all that difficult. I had learnt Hindi in school, and I have relatives in Mumbai, whom I visit often. It is only because of lack of practice that my spoken Hindi isn’t good. If I have a script, I am very good at mugging it up. In time, I guess, I need to speak more Hindi in order to pick it up better and be comfortable with it.
Compared to the south, Bollywood is more glamorous. Were you uncomfortable or apprehensive about keeping up?
The Tamil industry is conservative, but the Telugu industry has glamorous and loud films. But here, since it is Priyan sir’s film, I wouldn’t call it exposure. I think exposure can be done aesthetically. It is up to the individual.
If I am not comfortable wearing revealing clothes, no one will force me to wear them. In this film there is a college song that is glamorous; it has been shot beautifully. A bit of glamour is necessary. When I watch a film, I want to see a bit of glamour and colour.
Are you the silent and serious type?
I do take time to open up; I am not chatty. Akshay said this to me within 10 days of the shoot. Since it was a new environment and a new set, I was nervous. He said I was different because people here talk a lot and I am yet to figure that out.
Apparently it was Akshay who recommended your name for this film. Did you hear of that?
Priyan sir did mention that Akshay had seen Abhiyum Naanum (Tamil) and loved my performance. They were looking for a new face when Akshay suggested that I could fit in. It fell in place so well that it felt like magic. Everybody asked me if it was a trying phase for me, but I would say it was so simple that it happened over a 10-minute phone call.
Nothing specific. Working with Akshay was a pleasure. I haven’t seen a person let alone an actor who can multitask like him. He has four films running under his production and at the same he is acting in four films and he has to keep fit.
I’ve asked him if he has time to breathe or sleep. I don’t know how he juggles so much. He wakes up at five am and does an hour-and-a-half training. He then comes for the shoot whatever the shift. After six pm, he has meetings and shows. It is amazing to see him work like this. Even if I am having a low day and feeling sleepy, after seeing Akshay you want to wake up because there is so much energy.
n the south, you work only in Tamil and Telugu films. Don’t you want to try Malayalam and Kannada films?
I would love to. It is just that doing two languages drove me crazy. There was a point when I thought I should quit because I wasn’t able to work 30 days a month. It got too much to handle.
That is why when I got a few Hindi film offers, I couldn’t take them up. But I think now it is time that I pick and choose — do one Tamil film, take a break and then concentrate on a Hindi film. I like the pace at which things are happening now.
Does that mean you won’t do any more south films?
No at all. I will definitely continue to do south films.
Are you planning to shift base to Mumbai?
I am shuttling between Chennai and Mumbai, but if things work out, I plan to work out of Mumbai.