Sometimes filmmakers make it a point to keep their biggest surprise under wraps until the release of the movie. While many believed that Shraddha Kapoor was the witch in the latest hit film Stree, turns out it was actually someone else. The pretty face, which was half visible from behind that horrifying veil, was actor Flora Saini. Flora, who’s been in the business for a long time, didn’t mind staying under wraps until now.
“They (makers) were not tagging me on social media, because they wanted to keep it under wraps, as to ‘who is Stree?’ But now, the reaction has been amazing,” Flora said in an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com.
“I play a ghost in Stree, which most people don’t want to do because they want to look pretty. But I have done the ugly part also in my career. I am so happy that the film is doing so well. It is my kind of dark comedy,” she added.
Flora shared that it was VFX and not prosthetics which made her look scary. Revealing further how she had to stay in harness most of the times, the actor said, “Half of the time I was hanging and flying, and the other half when I was walking, I couldn’t go really far because I was still wearing the harness. The action team was so good and so caring, they would serve me coffee while I was hanging. The only dialogues I had was that I had to take the names and I had to scream, so I screamed a lot.”
Flora, who is a popular face in south Indian cinema, has appeared in Hindi movies like Love In Nepal, Dabangg 2, Lakshmi, Dhanak and Begum Jaan. She calls it destiny that she came onboard Stree. “I initially said no to Stree, but I believe that Stree chose me. I was offered the role of the prostitute and was told it is a day’s work. I refused saying I don’t want a role of only one or two days. Later, I met a couple of people, who were also auditioning for Stree. I heard some of the dialogues and was very impressed by the writing. I auditioned for the film, and after 20 days, the casting guy called me and said there is another role in the film, the title role. The shoot is for 15 days, but there are no dialogues. I said I am doing it,” Flora said.
Crediting the film’s background score for arousing the horror element in the film, Flora talked about her experience of being on set with her co-stars Rajkummar Rao, Shraddha Kapoor, Pankaj Tripathi, Aparshakti Khurana and Abhishek Banerjee.
“More than being fantastic actors, they are beautiful human beings. On my first day on set, Rajkummar was already there and I was nervous. I just went and sat quietly. He looked at me and said ‘Oh. That’s Stree!’ Every day he would greet me warmly. Even Shraddha, after all my screaming scenes, would make sure that I had some honey with warm water to avoid a sore throat. I fell for both Shraddha and Rajkummar after working with them,” Flora shared.
Flora has acted in over 50 films across languages, having worked with big actors like Rajinikanth, Vikram, Ravi Teja, Venkatesh, Balakrishna, Jagapati Babu and Rajasekhar. The actor said despite being a successful name in regional cinema, she does not mind auditioning for Hindi films. “I did not know south Indian languages, so it was never a career choice. But films kept coming. I enjoyed its working culture, my discipline comes from there and when I started doing Hindi films, I used to think that these people don’t know the kind of success I have seen in the south. So, I auditioned for all the parts, I enjoy it.”
Flora is also known by her screen name Asha. She got the name from her producers who thought this would be lucky for her. She however said she likes to be called by her real name. The actor, who also has Marathi film Pari Hoon Main up for release, spilled the beans about the speculated sequel of Stree as well.
“Even I didn’t understand the ending (laughs). My interpretation for that was she (Stree) thinks Rajkummar backstabbed her. He broke her trust… So you enjoyed, you laughed and we have kept it open-ended for the scope of a sequel,” she shared.
So, what’s up next for Flora? She said, “I hope Stree’s success brings better things.”