Actor Anushka Shetty reached the pinnacle of her career with her character Devasena in the blockbuster Baahubali film franchise. While she always enjoyed popularity amongst Telugu and Tamil audiences, the SS Rajamouli directorial expanded her reach beyond South India. While her Baahubali co-star Prabhas and others from the film explored Bollywood, Anushka chose an unconventional path, sticking to Telugu and Tamil cinema. In this interview with indianexpress.com, Anushka explains why she did not capitalise on the success of Baahubali and pursue pan-India films.
Anushka is now coming back to the big screen with her Telugu romantic drama Miss Shetty Mr Polishetty after three years. After Baahubali: The Conclusion, she delivered the hit Telugu film Bhaagamathie in 2018 and later was seen in the OTT bilingual release Nishabdham (2020).
“Once I finished Baahubali, I had my commitment with Bhaagamathie, and then I wanted to take some time off. It was by choice. It was something I needed the most at that time. Back then, I felt like doing that so I would be more present for my future projects. I know it’s totally unheard of. It’s not what is expected of people. I don’t have a concrete answer for it, but I really wanted some time off. I didn’t listen to any script, but after that I have been listening. So surely if something exciting comes by, I will do it. Be it any language across the country,” says the actor, who plays the role of a chef in her upcoming film Miss Shetty Mr Polishetty.
On doing Bollywood films
Anushka Shetty’s Baahubali co-stars featured in several Hindi films post the success of the SS Rajamouli period drama. So, now that she is back to reading scripts, is Bollywood on the cards? The actor gives an ambigous answer as she says, “Hopefully, if something really nice comes up, then definitely.”
Anushka started her acting career in 2005 with the Telugu film Super and has since then delivered two to three films every year. However, in the last five years, she has not been that active. While Covid 19 and the pandemic have played a significant role in it, the actor shares that after her break, she was looking for a script that would really motivate her to push her limits.
“After Bhaagamathie, I did do a movie called Nishabdham that released, during the pandemic, on Amazon Prime Video. That was also very different. It was a movie where I played a mute. I did take some time out and then Covid happened,” recalls Anushka.
She adds, “This (Miss Shetty Mr Polishetty) was the first project after the break because I actually heard it in 2019, and then Covid happened. So we just started shooting for it in the latter half of last year, and we are ready with it now. I believe that you are your first audience. I am definitely looking for something that can push me to wake up at 5:30 in the morning.”
The actor, who will also be seen alongside Jayasurya in Kathanar: The Wild Sorcerer, promises that some announcements are on its way as she is reading scripts where “the story is not just about my character but also which the audience will enjoy”.
On the story of Miss Shetty Mr Polishetty
Miss Shetty Mr Polishetty presents a unique storyline where Anushka Shetty plays the role of chef Anvitha Ravali Shetty, who meets the boy-next-door Siddhu Polishetty (Naveen Polishetty). The film’s trailer revealed an interesting twist, where Anvitha says that she doesn’t want a relationship with Siddhu but only a good partner who can help her have a child.
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The unique point of view of director Mahesh Babu Pachigolla’s story can be considered unconventional by Tollywood standards. However, Anushka says that she never had any concern when the story came to her.
“That thought never came to me because I know the whole story. Also first thing when I do a movie is knowing that I am my first audience and of course, I have my family and close friends. I believe whatever you are doing, whether its conventional or unconventional, it has to be merged well with the story. I understand that with that one line, people would think that. But I never had a concern about that because the story has all the answers to the questions. It is clean and a beautiful story,” says Anushka.
Miss Shetty and Mr Polishetty recently received a U/A certificate and is set to release in theatres on September 7 in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam.