‘Arjun Reddy’ was one film which brought about a lot of changes in South Indian cinema in terms of content and talent. The lead actress Shalini Pandey was lauded for her performance as ‘Preeti’ in the film. Shalini will soon be making her debut in Tamil cinema with the Tamil remake of Telugu film 100% Love, which is titled 100% Kaadhal. The film stars GV Prakash in the lead role and the shooting of the film is currently under progress. In a candid conversation with Pinkvilla, Shalini Pandey speaks about working in her first Tamil film alongside GV Prakash and working in the biopic on yesteryear actress Savitri titled ‘Mahanati’.
Second Tamil film with actor Jiiva.
It’s a heist comedy and nothing much can be revealed at this point in time. I signed the film because I felt that the role I will be playing will not be just another character in the script. It has a lot of substance in it and contributes a lot to the narration of the story. It will be a fun character for sure.
100% Kaadhal and GV Prakash.
GV is an extremely chilled out person. He is as cool as any young guy of this generation is. For me, the Tamil industry was totally new and I knew no one there. And after I started interacting with GV, I felt that he is extremely talented and has a great music sense. He is composing the music for 100% Kaadhal too and it is shaping up really well.
GV is someone who can go beyond boundaries and he is extremely skilled in terms of acting. He showed me few rushes of his film director Bala – ‘Nachiyar’ – and I felt that he looks killing in it. I feel that there is a lot more in him than what we have seen and it will come out soon. And he takes his acting very seriously and rehearses a lot.
How theatre and cinema are different.
I feel that theatre and cinema are two completely different forms, and according to me, they cannot be compared. Theatre builds a person into an artist and makes a better person. And cinema has its own dynamics. And I always wanted to be in cinema, and coming from theatre background, it helped me a lot. So, for me, theatre is always dear to me.
Mahanati and Keerthy Suresh.
I spoke with director Nagi about my role and the kind of shades it would have because I didn’t know anything about Savitri garu. And besides this, I studied a lot about her and did a bit of research as well. For me, I need to know everything about a character I play and that’s when I can give it my best shot. And I had a great time shooting for ‘Mahanati’ because there was a lot of theatre kind of scenes for me in the film and I loved every bit of it. I cannot put it in words how exciting it was to enact those scenes in Mahanati because we had to go back to that era and do the theatre scenes.
I met Keerthy on the first day of the shoot and didn’t get a chance to meet her before. We didn’t speak much on the first day but we got along really well after a couple of days. Keerthy Suresh is a real sweetheart and she is truly a sweet person. I just cannot go to sets and shoot my scenes, and come back. I need to gel with people around and that will show up in my work. And I had that on the sets of Mahanati. There is this notion that actresses don’t get along well while working on a movie, but I never felt a bit of it. It was a great feeling working with Keerthy Suresh.
Yeah, I’ve been putting in efforts to ensure I don’t end up doing similar roles. And I get bored very soon and cannot be doing the same stuff always. And that’s why I wanted to become an actor. I get bored with myself many a times. And that’s my personality. So, yeah I don’t want to get typecasted and I’m putting in conscious efforts to avoid that happening. And also, whenever I do a role, I want to take something back home from it and learn something new. Otherwise, to me it’s a waste of time.
Dubbing for yourself.
It could be the director’s call. It made sense to dub for myself in Arjun Reddy because Preeti was a Tulu girl and she could not speak Telugu fluently. So, whatever I did for that role, matched the required levels is what I felt. But honestly, I like to dub for myself. I feel that if someone else dubs for me, I feel the character gets killed. All due respect to all the fantastic dubbing artists out there, I genuinely feel that I should dub for myself. But, it is finally the director’s call.
In Mahanati, the story is set in 50s and 60s and it might be tough for me to enunciate that kind of Telugu. And it might be tough for me to dub for myself since it would be time consuming for me learn and finish dubbing.