With films like Agnyaathavaasi, Naa Peru Surya and Naga Chaitanya-Maruthi’s next slated for release later this year, Anu Emmanuel is delighted with the way things have turned out for her in Telugu cinema. After acting alongside Nani, Gopichand, and Raj Tarun, it did not take too long for her to become one of the most sought after actresses in Telugu cinema today.
Ask her what her state of mind, before a slew of big ticket films came her way, was, Anu Emmanuel says, “Post the release of Majnu and Kittu Unnadu Jagratha, I took a little more time to sign my next film. Maybe it was because I was expecting something better than what I was being offered. A lot of people kept telling me that I should not wait too long and advised me to just sign whatever I was being offered. Finally, when I got the call for Agnyaathavaasi, I knew I had made the right decision.”
The buzz surrounding Agnyaathavaasi, directed by Trivikram Srinivas, is at its zenith these days. After all, it has Pawan Kalyan playing the lead role and it is his third film with Trivikram after Jalsa and Athariniki Dharedhi. The stakes are bigger than ever before. However, the film is expected to strike gold at the box office when it releases on 10 January.
This is the biggest film that Anu has been offered so far, and her reaction to the first call puts her excitement in perspective. “It happened just like any other film but the only difference about this one was that when I got the call I literally fell off my bed! (laughs) It took me a moment to actually let it sink in. Unlike anything else that came my way, this was something I didn’t even have to think about before saying yes,” she recalls.
The actress is tight-lipped about her role in the film but confesses that she will treasure the entire experience for a long time to come. “This film is one of the greatest things to have happened to me. It is not just that it is a big film but I will cherish the whole experience. We were all like a big happy family while shooting. This journey has been so special and a huge learning experience as well,” she says.
Part of the reason why she sounds so happy to be part of the film is because of the actor-director duo — Pawan Kalyan and Trivikram Srinivas, who apparently went out of their way to make her feel quite comfortable. “When I first met Trivikram Srinivas at his office, I was just being considered for the film, so, I was obviously a bit nervous. After about 10 minutes into the meeting, he totally made me feel comfortable. We spoke on and on about movies, filmmaking etc. He’s such a chill person and a breeze to work with,” Anu says, adding, “He’s also the reason why I had great fun during the shoot. Before starting the film, I totally felt the pressure of being part of such a big project but it was a different ballgame once we began working together. I’m pretty sure all the actors would say there’s no pressure at all when someone like Trivikram Srinivas is calling the shots (laughs).”
The actress is all praise for her co-star Pawan Kalyan and says that he has a great sense of humour. “Pawan sir is an unique individual. He’s a man of few words who carries himself with utmost grace. And when you work with him, you also discover that he is quite humorous as well and very relaxed on set. And I must add that Trivikram Srinivas is the reason why this film has been such a pleasant experience for me. His working style is very different and he has a way of making all his actors feel at ease. He’s a true genius and so knowledgeable that we would talk about everything under the sun — from Indian history to Physics; from filmmaking to food! There’s a lot to learn from him,” Anu gushes.
Incidentally, just like Keerthy Suresh, Anu too dubbed her own voice for her role, a first in her career in Telugu. Apparently, it took a while for Trivikram and rest of the team to warm up to the idea since the pronunciation of certain words could turn out to be quite tricky but in the end, it all worked out well. “I had a lot of fun dubbing! Initially, Trivikram sir did not think it was a good idea since I’m playing a Telugu girl so the pronunciation has to perfect, without any slang. So he just told me to try it out casually and see if it works out. There was no pressure from his side. Thankfully, he was very happy with what I had done.”
Prior to her debut in Telugu cinema, Anu Emmanuel had spent most of her life in the US and when she came back to India, she made her debut as a lead actress in Nivin Pauly starrer Action Hero Biju. And once she made her way into Telugu cinema in 2016, there has been no looking back for her since then. “The Telugu film industry has been very welcoming, so far. I can’t pinpoint a reason why I love my life here but there’s something special about Hyderabad, the food and the people here. As far as films are films are concerned, I have always believed in quality over quantity. I would rather take my time to choose the right films. My goal isn’t to be part of every film,” Anu Emmanuel signs off.