Actor Raai Laxmi, who made her Tollywood debut with Kanchanamala Cable TV in 2005, has spread her wings over the years and has become a popular celebrity down south. In Telugu films, she was last seen in a special song in Khaidi No. 150 in 2017.
After a long gap, Raai Laxmi Where is the Venkatalakshmi has hit the screens. The actor recently sat down with the media to talk about her latest film.
Here are excerpts from the conversation.
Q. Tell us about Where is the Venkatalakshmi.
Where is the Venkatalakshmi is an out-and-out comedy film. It’s a lighthearted film where you will see somebody searching for something or someone throughout the film. In the process, there is a lot of humour, comedy and some thrilling moments. Overall, it is a differently packaged film. It has been a while since a complete comedy film released. And I wanted to be a part of a humorous film. I have done horror and thriller films in the past but I was never in a proper comedy film.
Q. In terms of characterisation, what excited you the most about Where is the Venkatalakshmi?
More than my character, I liked the genre of the film. My character here is something like Sushmita Sen’s character in Main Hoon Na. It is a glamorous look in an entertaining film. Humour is accepted by everyone and it is a safe genre to be a part of.
Q. Have you become more choosy in selecting your scripts in Telugu industry?
Success and failure is a part of the film industry but for an actor, satisfaction comes when people appreciate you, even if you are not a part of a successful film. I was only 15 years old when I did Kanchanamala Cable TV and then I waited for a great break. I thought Adhinayakudu with Nandamuri Balakrishna would be one. It was a great story but I think the timing of the release was wrong as it got delayed by two years. Then I decided that with the Telugu film industry, I should be in a space where people are offering me parts. I also do work in all the four languages. Now, I have become choosy because even if I do a song, I should do it opposite a big star. It should be a hit song.
Q. What is your approach towards doing special songs and full-length characters?
I don’t categorise between these two because when you are known, you can do anything. The generation is changing and we have to go with the generation. When Bollywood people do special songs, it is not an item song but if a south Indian actor does a special song, it becomes an item song. We have broken through these boundary lines. People are now paying more for one item number than for a film. Then who would not want to do an item song (chuckles). I feel doing a special number is even more prestigious because you are showing your talent in many ways.
Q. After the debacle of Julie 2, have you changed your approach to selecting movies?
The film had a lot of hype but probably, it was misled. Julie 2 was a heart-touching film but it was promoted in a way where people thought it was all going to be a skin show. So, somewhere the audience was disappointed and a lot of girls didn’t turn up because everybody thought that it is going to be an erotic film. The audience was misled and I blame the makers for this. After acting, we don’t have anything in our hand. How you promote the film is all handled by the production company. Sometimes, you just lie low and it is your duty to support the film. You do it and get out of it. I somehow felt that the Julie 2 trailer misled a lot of people. I was very upset about it and I did share my concern about it openly with the media.
Q. You have been doing films in South and Bollywood both. What kind of differences do you notice?
I am only one film old in Bollywood but the pattern of working there is quite slow. South is way faster than Bollywood. Apart from the working pattern, I think it is the same thing. I feel Bollywood is more of show business than choosing the talents, whereas the South gives a lot of opportunities to its actors.
Q. Tell us about your upcoming projects.
Right now, I am doing three Tamil films and one Kannada movie. I have to finish those first to take up anything new.