The Flip Side Of Shruti Haasan

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From the time she walked in, we knew our choice was bang on! Unabated laughs peppered with humour were like a rainbow on a gloomy morning. Wait long enough for the smile to vanish and dark clouds begin to gather. Charming and intense, colourful yet passionate. We couldn’t wait for the camera to start rolling

From Luck to D-Day, you have constantly experimented with roles and have come out on tops. Which genre are you most comfortable doing?

I am actually comfortable doing any genre but what I love a lot is either intense drama or extreme comedy.

That’s two ends of the spectrum!

That it is. But isn’t that good for your cover story? (laughs).

After Gabbar is Back, tell us which of your co-stars are the most fun to be around on sets?

I can’t really choose like that. Although I must say that working with Akshay Kumar was amazing because he is one of the fittest, funniest co-stars one can have. Having said, I can’t really pick. Because there is a barrage of co-stars in south cinema as well and I don’t want anyone to feel bad. I love everyone equally.

Imran Khan, Arjun Rampal, Akshay Kumar… who is the most methodical actor? Wittiest in terms of sense of humour? Most intense actor?

Talking about being a methodical actor, I really can’t define as I am not a movie critic and I hope I never become one. Everyone gives it their cent per cent to every project. And the wittiest and most intense… I’m guessing you’re not going to answer those either? No! (chuckles)

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And the wittiest and most intense… I’m guessing you’re not going to answer those either? No!

What is your temperament like on shoots? Are you so much into your role that you forget to have fun?

It depends on the day, really. But I’m not one of those method actors who,on the day have to do an intense scene, will not talk to anyone just to get into that kind of a mood. But I am not myself completely either. I am more in the zone of what is required. But I always love a fun and energetic mood on the sets where everyone is driven to create something extraordinary. Therefore, I try and make it light and fun and positive. Roles do not overshadow my mood because then I wouldn’t be an actor, would I?

Which actor, who you have not worked with yet, but are really dying to work with?

So many! Actually all the ones that I have not worked with.

We get the picture. You liketo be politically correct. But any Hollywood actor you want to work with?

Ryan Gosling. I want him on and off the sets as soon as possible. (couldn’t stop grinning).

Ayesha from Luck, Suraiyya from D-Day, Shruti in Gabbar… Out of these… which character portrayal is closest to the real Shruti?

None actually. I have never played anything like myself on screen to date.But hopefully sometime soon. I really liked D Day’s Suraiya because portraying her was out of my comfort zone and enjoyed playing that part a lot.

What remains? How is Shruti Haasan going to transform as an actor in the next few years?

There’s so much that remains! Life influences you, the people you work with, content keeps changing… there is a lot of growth to be achieved. I am looking forward to it. There is more that I have not done than I have achieved.

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There’s so much that remains! Life influences you, the people you work with, content keeps changing… there is a lot of growth to be achieved.

You singing career started much before your acting debut. Which passion precedes the other?

It’s really difficult to choose. I always say this that making a choice here would be like asking a parent to choose between his or her kids. It’s unrealistic to ask which child the parent loves more and which one the parent wants to get rid of. Therefore, they are both equally loved. I get a completely different satisfaction from acting and a different one from singing and composing music. But I have to say that when the two meet in some form, where I can sing for myself or for someone else’s performance, when I can experience cinema and music meet, that is most fun. It’s an indescribable feeling.

Composing? That too? How did that happen?

I always wanted to write lyrics and poetry and also compose music that went with it. I did that too. But I wasn’t confident enough and didn’t know if I could do it, till I went to music school and learned song writing. Ever since then, I am a happier person because I can compose music now. Because there’s so much that I can deal with or cannot share with the world, I find composing to be the only channel that I know how.

And to top it all… you’re the lead vocalist for an alternative rock band called Extramentals. How cool is that?

I used to be but Extramentals was disbanded three years ago because most of the members moved to different corners of the world. I started the band with my best friend who is now living the ultimate life in LA. Now I collaborate with musicians whenever possible. But don’t have a band.

You’re elder of the two sisters. Usually the younger ones are the pampered ones. Was that the case in your family too?

Oh yes! I guess that is the case with most, if not all, families. The younger ones are smarter as opposed to the older ones, who do not know as well how to get out of trouble. The younger ones see their parents and their older sibling and figure out the politics and how to use it to their advantage. Every younger sibling is like that… At least my sister was (laughs).

Akshara is a gifted dancer and you’re a talented classical vocalist and an actor. Between the two of you,what remains?

We do not have a PhD in the family right now. Hopefully one of our kids will be an astronaut with NASA. I want one kid to be in the movie business and the other to in outer space (woah!)

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We do not have a PhD in the family right now. Hopefully one of our kids will be an astronaut with NASA.

Who are you closer to? Mum or dad?
This is a real terrible question because when someone asks, ‘Are you mummy’s pet or daddy’s pet?’ it’s really silly. Because I wouldn’t be here without either of them. Therefore, one cannot choose.

We differ, because over the years one does get closer to one parent than the other, doesn’t it?

I would say that, with my mum, there is so much to talk about. She is very independent so there’s so much to learn there. With my dad, he is really chilled out and a true and a complete artist. So I get different things from both.

How were growing up years? What do you remember?

I really loved going to school and I loved my friends that I made there. Some of them are still my best buddies. I went to an extremely interesting school as well. It’s called Abacus Montessori School and it’s in Chennai. It was a really hippie, fun school where cultural talent and sports were as valued as education. We were encouraged to become the best at what we loved.

Any fondest memory?

So many! It was great growing up in Chennai. It’s the perfect mix of being conservative and cultural. I grew up in a liberal environment in terms of my family and school. So it was such a nice balance to grow up there.

Did you ever accompany your dad or mum to movie sets when growing up?

A hell of a lot! Because my mum, whenever she was not acting, was always part of the movies by either doing costumes, or sound, etc. And my dad was always acting. So a lot of my childhood was on movie sets. For me, thinking of generator vans and doing homework in them brings back fond memories.

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For me, thinking of generator vans and doing homework in them brings back fond memories.

Did the experience ever enamour you?

Oh yes! I first wanted to be a movie actress. But then I somehow got in my head that I would not be able to do it. Thus I started working towards wanting to write and direct. I only stumbled upon acting.

When did you get your calling to join movies?

It was really weird because it really happened overnight. I knew I wanted to but I never thought I would follow through. And it just fell into place then. To cut a long story short… now I am here.

One movie role (Indian or international) that you would love to see yourself do?

It hasn’t been written yet. Why would I want to play a part that someone has already played?

Maybe because they played it so well that you thought, ‘wow’! I would love to play that and figure whether I could pull it off just as well.

Then let them only play it! They have put in a lot of effort to pull off a classic performance. What can happen is that another actor could simply because it’s an amazing film. Also the story behind the movie on how long it took to make it and how they finally finished it against all odds. They are so inspiring. Another fabourite is The Sound of Music.

What does your typical day look like?

I am just working all the time. I wake up, get ready and go to work (try to squeeze in a workout in there somewhere). I Whatsapp all my friends stupid pictures of mine from the movie sets, get back home and catch some shut-eye. And it’s the same routine again the next day. It’s all work and no play. The days I have off, I like to spend time with friends or stay at home.

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And it’s the same routine again the next day. It’s all work and no play.

You’re obviously in awesome shape. Who do you train with and what is your exercise regime like?

I really like to watch what I eat because I can put on a ton of weight if I am allowed to eat what I want to. I do as much cardio as I can. There was a time when I was obsessed with working out and I thought to myself that my body should never need PhotoShop. I was completely on another trip but was not a happy person then. It’s important to work out because it keeps your core strong and your blood pumping. But more than that, no one should go nuts about how they look because there is nothing sexier than someone owning their body the way it is.

If we raided your fridge, what awaits us?

Lots of stuff! There is some South Indian sambhar puddings, along with the top shelf, which is usually loaded with gojiberries and other berries. It’s a mix of everything but it’s healthy for the most part.

What are your stress busters?

Watching television, the complete meaningless types like the Shopping Network kinds. It really relaxes me. (We can’t believe it!)

Ever do stress eating?                                 

Yes. And then it’s French fries and chocolate ice cream. And lots of sambhar.

Bike person or a car chic?

I am neither a car chick nor a bike person. And it doesn’t matter because I cannot drive either.

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I am neither a car chick nor a bike person. And it doesn’t matter because I cannot drive either.

What’s your taste in music like Favourite tracks?

It’s eclectic. I only don’t listen to Mexican Rap. I have some issues with it (laughs). I find it displeasing.

Something to do with the language?

I like Spanish. It’s fine. It’s just displeasing on a frequency level. Other than that I can listen to pretty much anything.

Any favourite tracks?

I listen to Classical, Jazz, I love Metal. I am now getting into EDM, which I am starting to enjoy. I love Retro and Blues.

Let’s talk about men now. If given a chance to date one famous celeb, who would it be?

Jeez… I never thought of it! Is a musician okay?

Musician would be fine…

Then Brandon Boyd from Incubus.

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I listen to Classical, Jazz, I love Metal. I am now getting into EDM, which I am starting to enjoy.

Any Hollywood men perhaps?

Ryan Gosling… always! (Why did we even bother?)

What’s your idea of a perfect guy and a perfect date?

It depends on the person, really. There’s no thing as a perfect date.

With Ryan Gosling?

We could be doing anything in the world… sweeping the streets probably? And it would still be romantic. My idea of a perfect date is to have an excellent conversation and a lot of laughs.

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My idea of a perfect date is to have an excellent conversation and a lot of laughs.

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