Shruti Haasan greets me with a warm smile as I enter the suite of a five-star hotel. “Ask me questions regarding fashion and accessories,” laughs the actress, as she was present in Chennai to inaugurate the 75th store of Marks & Spencer’s. But I tell Shruti it has been a while since I saw her on the big screen. “I am taking a step back before going forward, and it is a conscious move. For now, I am into concerts and writing songs, collaborating with international artistes in the UK. When I was doing films, everyone used to ask why I couldn’t focus much on stage shows, which has become my priority. Dad (Kamal Haasan) always insists that I return to music,” she says.
Shruti is charged about her music shows, for which she keeps travelling abroad. “I connect better with a live audience, and I love to make others sing and dance. I simply love their energy and the whole process is meditative. In fact, I was thrilled by the response I got from the audience for an English album that I wrote myself recently. Since nobody in London or Los Angeles knew who I was, I felt like I was starting everything from scratch. By the way, we are all collectively Bollywood for them. If they see you dance in a movie, you are from Hindi cinema,” she grins.
Does Shruti Haasan get annoyed when she is questioned why she is away from films? “I am going to complete a decade in the film industry, and I have never been a part of the rat race. My intention is neither to make money nor win awards. Everyone is allowed to go on a break, and live life on their own terms. Often, I need to remind others that I am a human being and not a machine. More importantly, I think it is okay to not work. Even a computer needs a shutdown to function better. Up next, I am playing the female lead, opposite Vijay Sethupathi, in an untitled film, directed by SP Jananathan. Also, I am producing Jayaprakash Radhakrishnan’s next, The Mosquito Philosophy, under my banner, Isidro Media,” she says.
Ask Shruti about her television debut Hello Sago, a show that focuses on bringing out the fun side of celebrities, her face lights up. “I am done with the first season and the medium gave me a chance to explore a different side of people who I don’t know. There are interesting stories about people’s lives. After interacting with actors, directors and producers, I got a better understanding of their likes, dislikes, dreams, hopes and fear. Firstly, I was apprehensive about hosting a programme but my manager convinced I am more social than I anticipated I was,” she chuckles.
For many years, top actors in South India were not open to doing television shows, but in the past few years, a lot has changed. “I see television as a fantastic medium to engage with people. Dad (Kamal Haasan) had so much fun hosting Bigg Boss Tamil, and it is the same with me. It is nice to keep the show going without a script and dialogues. At the end of the day, I am happy, and I do things that make me happy. It is good to live in the moment,” says Shruti.
Talking about endorsements, Shruti Haasan tells us, “I like to associate myself with a brand that I value,” and this reflects in the way she carries herself, too. “Fashion means much more to me than clothing. You need to feel confident and comfortable when you wear an outfit. Only then you can carry it off really well.”
I tell Shruti she has a strong opinion about everything. She smiles, “I’m not doing it for attention or to piss anybody off. I won’t say anything unless I’m sure of standing by it.”
How does she see herself ten years from now? “Hopefully alive, happier and wiser. I want to keep pushing my boundaries and explore more, breaking the stereotypes in all possible ways I could,” Shruti Haasan signs off.