From sexy to fat, ugly, mad, bitchy, irritating and essentially, extremely funny! Shreya Narayan in a tete-a-tete on Super Nani, her first full-blown comedy role. Here’s what she had to say about the film and her role in the film.
Super Nani releases this Friday. A big release for you in a long while…
I have knots in my stomach! I am returning to work after long with this film. It was shot over a period of one-and-a-half year, coinciding with the time I was busy with my mother’s illness. She passed away while it wrapped up. She was excited about it. So it’s a very special film for me.
Does individual performance get affected whilst acting before veterans like Rekha and Randhir Kapoor?
Yes, it does. You always have to be conscious about their seniority and space. At the same time you must find your own too. Sometimes, their experience and grace betters everyone’s performance. At other times, you have to make do with less. The director plays an important role in balancing things.
How is your character in Super Nani special compared to others?
I played an escort-cum-police informer Julie in YRF series Powder. I was ‘traumatized sexy’. I played mistress Mahua in Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster. I was ‘sweet sexy’. I did a cameo in Rockstar of a bhabhi who sticks too much to her brother-in-law. I was ‘hilarious sexy’. When I was not sexy, I was not OK in my mind.
Samrat & Co. is the case in point. Thus far I have always played glamourous characters. But in Super Nani, I am fat, ugly, mad, bitchy, irritating and essentially, extremely funny! It’s my first full blown comedy role.
You did a cameo in Rockstar despite it being a small role…
People still remember me from that small role. It’s mind-boggling. It also shows the power of acting and of an interesting character. At times it surprises me but I too have felt the impact of some awesome but small characters in world cinema as an audience.
What are your aspirations as an actor and in general?
I am itching to act in roles that challenge me and are different from the last role I did. There has to be variety, else life can get boring. In general, I just want a loving family life, and means to fulfill my dreams. I also always need an aim… I am driven by purpose. It adds meaning to my life.
Ever thought of running an institution or joining politics, since you have a political-academic background?
Yes of course, I excel at managing things. And at handling pressure! I hold my own in worst crisis situations, too. Earlier, I did not know I had these qualities. I discovered it all when my mother was suffering from cancer and we had to face life and death challenges on a daily basis. I have always been a spiritual person, but a friend of mine introduced me to prayers and I have found a world of solace and power in that.
Overall, I think, I am prepared for worldly duties as I now have the whole ‘Armour’ of God!
Can you elaborate on the Armour of God?
It’s simple, when a soldier goes to war, he has to have his shield, his helmet, his shoes, his sword or gun and whatever else there is to make him ready to do battle. Without his armour, he is a sitting duck. Likewise, we are daily facing spiritual warfare and without putting on the ‘Whole Armour of God’, it gets difficult. Both daily and larger challenges of life need spiritual strength.
Bollywood is full of new faces, any advice for these youngsters?
Be Miss Indias if you are not from the industry. Do not waste time on auditions. Get a star or powerful boyfriend or a ‘good friend’, else you will waste a lot of time. Also, if you do not have talent in acting, don’’t fret. Good looks, connections and short clothes is all anyone is looking for here. [laughs]
Who or rather what inspires you?
The fight for justice inspires me. And having grace even in the face of persecution too. Simplicity and kindness is the biggest inspiration. Thus common people, who may be deprived themselves but find time to extend kindness to me, inspire me most. My friends and family inspire me. Ultimately, anything or anyone that adds meaning to my life and fulfills my quest for knowledge and spiritual awakening is a part of my journey.