Anushka Shetty bats for women participation in all fields of cinema

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Actress Anushka Shetty has been wowing the South Indian movie lovers with her scintillating beauty and spectacular acting prowess. She had shined as the lovely Devasena, the fierce Rudrama Devi and the fabulous Arundhati and Bagamathi. She has given class, panache and splendid definition to these roles that celebrated womanhood on the big screen. After a break, Anushka is back, this time on an OTT platform, with the movie Nishabdam. The award winning actress opens up about her career and her unique role in Nishabdam.

You are coming with a new movie when the theaters are still closed.

The movie is Nishabdam in Telugu while its title is ‘Silence’ in Malayalam and Tamil. The movie has already been released on Amazon Prime. I play the role of Sakshi who is deaf and mute. It is a thriller that narrates the incidents that takes place in a haunted bungalow. I had learned the sign language for this movie. The movie directed by Hemant Madukar also has actors like Madhavan, Anjali, Michael Madsen and Subbaraju.

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Romance, action, horror and thrillers.. Why have you always chosen unique projects?

Those choices weren’t made consciously. From my debut movie Super, I have done many movies that offered me unique roles. I am grateful for the trust that each director had placed on me. I would get mentally ready to transform into a new character whenever I travel from one set to another. If a movie becomes a hit, it is difficult for the next one in the same formula to get clicked. So, I give preference for unique themes and plots when I choose movies.

Heroine oriented movies are still scarce. But, many of your movies have strong female characters. Do you think the gender equations are changing in the cinema industry?

Male oriented movies are mostly made in almost all languages. Not just in cinema, the society too is like that. However, don’t you think these outlooks have been changing? Women are coming to the forefront. That change is reflected in the movies too. Cinema is actually travelling alongside time. Newer themes that reflect the changing world are being portrayed in movies. Strong women characters are introduced. Now, the only woman in a movie is not just the heroine. From director to technicians, women don many roles in cinema. If cinema is taking a pro woman stand, then it should open its door for women to all its fields and not just limit to making female oriented plots. A movie shouldn’t be made by a group of men by projecting the character of a single woman. Cinema should belong to women as well. I think this transition has already begun.

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What are the changes that happened in your career after Baahubali?

Baahubali is indeed the biggest movie that had happened in my career. It took me to a great number of audiences. However, nothing has changed in me before or after Baahubali. I work with the same honesty and commitment in all the movies. When a movie becomes a hit, it is natural that the artists who have worked in it gain immense popularity. More directors, producers and scriptwriters approach us. We would then be able to choose amazing roles and movies from among them. When a movie of yours succeeds in the box office, you feel as if you have been given a token for more good movies. That is my greatest happiness. However, it doesn’t mean that this would happen all the time.

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What did you do during the lockdown period?

Life is sometimes like that; it would unexpectedly take us in the reverse gear. I didn’t force myself into doing something. We need time to relax as well. Can we always be busy in our work? Slowly, I started doing what I felt like doing. I read a lot; listened to music and watched movies. I also spent lots of time with my dear ones. In fact, it is during a state of quiescence like this that we realize how fast and restless our lives had been.

What do you think about movies making its way into the OTT platforms?

You cannot enjoy the visual perfection of the big screen as it is on the OTT platform. This is true for movies that are especially made for big screen viewing. Besides, each audience would have different visual experience owing to their internet connectivity and the quality of the smart phone. But, art has always endured struggling times. I prefer to see OTT platforms as a ‘plan B’ that would help cinema to reach the audience when the theaters are closed down. However, the OTT platforms may remain popular even after the theaters reopen. No matter what platform you choose, it is important that good cinema must always reach the audience. It indeed is an amazing change that we do not have to go anywhere to watch a movie; instead it comes to you.

News reports about rampant drug usage in cinema are doing the rounds. What do you think about it?

Not just in cinema, but people in every other field are getting addicted to many kinds of bad habits. You cannot defend drug abuse, no matter whoever does it.

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When do you plan to make an entry into Malayalam cinema?

It is true that a few good offers had come my way. But I couldn’t take them up as I was already committed to movies in other languages. It indeed would be an honor if I could perform alongside legends like Mammootty and Mohanlal. I try to watch Malayalam movies and understand the trends there. Though I haven’t done movies in Malayalam, I am elated for the love that Keralites shower on me.

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