Shalini Pandey, who made her debut with Arjun Reddy is getting rave reviews for her performance in the movie. We met her recently and she gave an exclusive interview. Here are some excerpts from the interview …
FF: How are you feeling about the success of Arjun Reddy?
Shalini: I am happy with the response and it has become a rage, so it is great.
FF: People are calling you Preeti. As this new name set into your system?
Shalini: I am happy that I am being identified as my character and as a person from Theatre, I take it more as a compliment.
FF: There are too many kisses, did you feel any awkwardness?
Shalini: We are actors and all we are doing is to perform as characters on screen. And kissing is more aesthetic and in character. In the climax, the first scene I shot for the film, Vijay kissed me in character and I went with it. As we are characters when the film starts rolling we get into the character and behave like that. And Kissing represents an emotion that is personal like love and there is nothing wrong.
FF: How did Arjun Reddy happen?
Shalini: I am from Jabalpur and completed my Engineering. I do theatre and a co-ordinator sent my photos to Sandeep. He then called me up and advised me to put on some weight after photoshoots. As I am from a Theatre background I needed to like the narration of the story and Sandeep gave me a great narration, so I accepted it.
FF: Preeti did not have many dialogues in First half. Did you feel like you have nothing to do during the time of shoot?
Shalini: No, I come from a Theatre background and we are taught to be in character, even we are just passing by or in the back ground. So, I was ok with not having many lines but knew I needed to make an impact with my expressions. I took it up as a challenge as I don’t know the language and I glad I pulled it off. Preeti is more subtle and conservative yet bold but I am not like her in real life. So I needed change my body language and even put on weight. I am happy that my efforts are getting recognised. I like playing and living different characters.
FF: Do you have any favourite Telugu actors?
Shalini: I don’t know many except for Mahesh Babu and Pawan Kalyan, who are revered as Mega Stars in Telugu.
FF: Will you be looking forward to act with Pawan or Mahesh? If you get a chance, whom will you choose?
Shalini: I just need a good actor and I am happy with a good actor even if he is just launched. I respect Vijay a lot now as I acted with him and even though I will have a soft corner for him as my first film hero and a good actor, I will be more than happy to share screen with any person provided he should be a good actor.
FF: Did you receive any memorable comments from Industry?
Shalini: I received a text message from SS Rajamouli and him noticing my performance overwhelmed me. He took number from my manager and when I got his text I was quite pleasantly surprised. There are many more messages from many and I love this Industry.
FF: What is your parents reaction on the film?
Shalini: My father did not want me to do any films but when I decided to do a movie, the first thing he said to my director, Sandeep is that there should not be any liplocks and too intense sexual scenes. Post release, my sister told me that he is happy with the film and talking highly about the movie. I’m glad he took kissing as an emotion. Sandeep never told there will be these many kisses in the movie before starting the shoot. If I had known then I would have said, No. But it is dealt really beautifully on screen and I’m glad I did the movie.
FF: Do you have any characters that you want to portray on screen?
Shalini: I am a girl who likes challenges and can’t do just one thing all the time. I like portraying negative roles on screen as I feel they are more challenging than normal ones. Anyways, I like to do anything that challenges me as an actor more.
FF: How different is Vijay from his character Arjun Reddy?
Shalini: Vijay is totally chilled out in real life and I am a good friend with him.
FF: There are many rumours about you and him. Are you both romantically involved?
Shalini: NO… I and Vijay are good friends and I can’t see us being romantically involved ever.
FF: You have put on weight for the Film and how did you reduce all that?
Shalini: I eat everything and I can’t put on weight. Just for this movie, I had to eat a lot more than I normally do and to loose weight, I just took lots of water and ate at normal quantities. My metabolism doesn’t allow me to stay fat for long too (laughs..)
FF: Did you have any Arjun Reddy kind of seniors in your college?
Shalini: No, Arjun Reddy is more fearless than a man who has anger issues for me. I did not find such fearless person in my life.
FF: Did your friends watch the movie?
Shalini: They are quite surprised looking at me like Preeti. They know me in real life and they couldn’t belief that I am being more girly on screen as Preeti.
FF: Many students connected with the Holi scene. Did you predict that scene will be such a rage?
Shalini: A man proposing in front a huge crowd is quite fearless and I liked it a lot. Apart from that, while doing the scene we knew that this is more emotional and surprising. So, I expected this while doing the scene.
FF: Do you prefer Love Marriage or Arranged Marriage? Will you be able to marry a guy from Industry?
Shalini: I don’t mind a guy from Industry or any one who is ok with my profession. I still have a long way to go and let’s see what happens in life.
FF: Thank you for taking your time for us.
Shalini: Thank you too and It’s my pleasure to receive so much of love from Telugu audience. I hope to receive even more good work in the future too.
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