Krithi Shetty: I do not compete with my co-actors
Ahead of the release of the Tamil-Telugu bilingual, The Warriorr, Krithi Shetty opens up about her dramatic rise to fame and her acting process
Kirthi Shetty’s life has changed dramatically in the past two years after she signed on to play the female lead in Uppena and it turned out to be a smash hit at the box-office. Speaking about what the past two years have been like, Krithi says, “It has been wonderful. I have grown so much both as an actor and as a person. A lot has changed; it feels surreal. I am grateful for all the love and support I have received. I remember seeing Uppena in a theatre in its second week and was shocked by the response. People were repeating lines along with the film, clapping and whistling. It was euphoric.”
In this conversation, Krithi speaks about her interests, how she hones her abilities, and why she loves acting…
You have appeared in three films so far—Uppena, Shyam Singha Roy (SSR), and Bangarraju. What is your takeaway from each of them?
After Uppena, a lot of people thought of me as an actor who could only essay traditional, village-based roles; they began to typecast me. I, however, wanted to do something completely in contrast. That’s why I did SSR; I wanted to prove that I could do both kinds of roles. After Uppena’s songs came out, I was offered similar scripts, but I wondered what new lessons I would learn. I asked myself why people would come to see me if I played the same role? With SSR, I wanted to connect to a new set of audiences. With Bangarraju, I got to explore my comic timing. I am glad that every time the film is discussed, these aspects are highlighted. I remember watching Bangarraju in a multiplex, once again in its second week, and people were laughing during my comedy scenes. It felt great because you rarely see people laugh out loud in multiplexes.
Are you now seeing more variety in scripts that come your way?
I am receiving different kinds of roles, yes. For instance, I signed The Warriorr within a week after Uppena’s release. I have to thank the directors for trusting me with such roles; a film is their baby, at the end of the day.
How important is it for you to learn the language and cultural background of the characters you portray in films?
I think it is vital to do homework about my characters, and I enjoy the process. For example, if the film is set in a particular region, I try to learn about it by watching other films set in that region. In fact, for Uppena, I watched Rangasthalam to understand Telugu culture. Now that I am doing a straight Tamil film alongside Suriya sir, directed by Bala sir, I write down the meaning of every word of my dialogues. Also, I need to know where to take pauses and which words to emphasise on. Everybody knows that Bala sir is a taskmaster; he gives me inputs about the dialect as well and I love it when filmmakers give me such minute details. I have been watching a lot of Tamil films to grasp the language.
Tell us about your character from The Warriorr.
I play Whistle Mahalakshmi, and I think she is a lovable character. Moreover, the response to the character, from the promos, has been extremely positive, both in Tamil and Telugu. When I first heard the story, I felt she was relatable, and I could foresee people connecting to her cute and energetic persona. It’s all because of Lingusamy sir’s character design. I am thrilled to see how people will react.
Right from your first film, you have worked with seniors—Vijay Sethupathi, Nani, Ram Pothineni, and now, Suriya. Being a newcomer, do you find this challenging?
I don’t see it that way, honestly. If I see it as a challenge, that implies I am competing with them. It is not a competition; at the end of the day, we all have to play our roles in the story. I acknowledge the fact that others on sets have so much more experience than me, which I see as a huge benefit because I can learn from them. As someone young and less experienced, I don’t see it as my lack of experience, but simply that, I have more ceiling for learning. For instance, while working with Ram (Pothineni), I realised how much I like acting. He is active from morning to evening because he loves what he is doing and that’s why he never gets tired. This is how I realised that even I love what I am doing. Regardless of how challenging the work is, I can dance after reaching home. Because mentally, I am so happy that I am acting.