‘Prashanth Neel is a magician and KGF: Chapter 2 is magic’

Actor Srinidhi Shetty is convinced that the KGF sequel is bigger and better, and also shares that she gets more time to shine
Srinidhi Shetty
Srinidhi Shetty

Heroines don’t get as long a stay in the limelight as heroes do in cinema—and this is unfair. However, it is for this reason that they usually try to capitalise on every opportunity. Srinidhi Shetty has been different though. This model-turned-actor has chosen to stick with the KGF films since 2016, and apart from this, she has done one other film: the upcoming Vikram-starrer, Cobra.

The actor speaks of the pride she feels at being part of the KGF films. Speaking with us ahead of the film’s pan-Indian release slated for April 14, she says, “There are many established actors who have a release once every five years, and yet, their films benefit from a lot of anticipation. However, with newcomers, there is uncertainty at the beginning of the career, and there’s pressure to deliver hits.” The advantage for Srinidhi though was that KGF was among the earliest films in the pan-Indian film bandwagon.

“That the film has been made in two parts serves as an added advantage. I was anxious about the waiting period, yes, but this was a calculated decision knowing the story, the plot, and a belief in how the films would shape up.” The faith this actor has in the ability of director Prashanth Neel also helps. “The story he narrated to me in 2016 remains the same. The scale got bigger after the response for Chapter 1. I trust that the people will connect with Reena’s emotions in the second film as well,” she says.

For a newcomer like Srinidhi, it was a huge decision not to take on more work, especially after the popularity of the first film. “Like any parents, mine too expressed concerns about my career choices, and made comparisons with other women actors who were doing more films. I kept explaining to them that this was not any film, but one with so many big names like Yash, Sanjay Dutt, Raveena Tandon, Rao Ramesh, Easwari Rao, Prakash Raj... To even get the chance to share a stage with such people is gratifying. It’s like all my wishes came true.”

Srinidhi is already six years old in the film industry and believes that she has grown along with KGF. “I am happy that the release is almost upon us. All the waiting can sometimes make you nervous, but with KGF: Chapter 2, we only got more confident. I cannot wait for everybody to watch the film on the big screen,” she says.

As both films were shot over a long time, it was important for her to remain connected to her character, Reena. “Prashanth made sure I stayed with her. I would love to hear him speak about my performance. That said, I have known Reena for more than half a decade now, and I feel like she’s a part of me. I have tried to give my best in the second film too.”

While the first film served to introduce her character, she believes there’s a lot more on offer in KGF: Chapter 2. “The first film was just an introduction, and most of my episodes were moved to the second film. That’s understandable because this isn’t one of those films just about the hero and the heroine. It’s about so many characters. I can assure you that you’ll see more of me in KGF: Chapter 2.”

That the anticipation and hype for the second goal is through the roof, is not lost on her. “Soon as we began work on the second film, we knew this was a serious game. Prashanth, in fact, began proceedings by organising a workshop. That helped me get back into the mood of KGF. After a couple of weeks, he could also see I had returned to the film and the character. Whatever I learned during this workshop also helped me perform better in my Tamil film, Cobra,” says Srinidhi.

It helped her to be first-hand witness to so many great actors. “I also got the chance to listen to all their stories. From Prashanth Neel to Yash, they spoke about how they started their careers, what they learned, how producer Vijay Kiragandur paved the way for them all,” she says. “It’s amazing that Yash, who is an established actor now, is such an example of focus and dedication. I hope to remain as focused, as dedicated to my work, as actors like Yash. These were valuable lessons,” she says.

While KGF films have been designed to have a pan-Indian appeal, Srinidhi doesn’t think that every film of hers should have similar ambitions. “In fact, when I signed KGF, I didn’t even know it would become so popular across the country. I just saw all the big names that were part of this film—Hombale films, Vijay Kiragandur, Prashanth Neel, Yash…—and felt I should be part of it.” To state her case further, she speaks of how her upcoming Tamil film, Cobra, isn’t pan-Indian. “Cobra belongs to a different genre, and there can be no comparisons with KGF. I really enjoyed the previous film of director Ajay Gnanamuthu, Imaikaa Nodigal. Cobra has shaped up really well and I’m looking forward to its release on May 26.”

Ahead of the release of KGF, the feelings are mixed for Srinidhi. “Finally, the wait is over, but I’m aware it brings an end to a long relationship, and I will cherish it for a long time. The friends I have made through this time will always be there for me, and just a phone call away,” says Srinidhi Shetty, who is grateful to everyone who has been part of the making of this magnum opus. “Prashanth Neel is a magician, and KGF is magic. You are in for a treat.”

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