Nani and Nazriya Nazim's Ante Sundaraniki is running in theatres. It also released in Tamil as Adade Sundara and Malayalam as Aha Sundara. In this interview with Ramya Subramanian, Nazriya talks about her break from films, making her debut in Telugu, and what kind of roles she is looking for in the future.
Edited excerpts below:
This is your first straight Telugu film right, it doesn't look like that because all your fans and people are opening up and giving a huge reception for you. How are you processing this feeling?
It's been great. I was always very sure about this film, I was always very sure about the story or what the film we were making. But the day like when they announced I'm also a part of this film is the day I realized that the expectation is like really out there and that I didn't expect.
The response has been overwhelming for me at every point, be it the announcement or trailer or photo coming out, anything, it has been a great response. I didn't expect it because it's my first Telugu film but doesn't feel like it with the love and everything I have been receiving.
That's true and how many times in the last two weeks have you heard this word come back.
I think now I'm kind of I'm hearing it a little lesser because they've kind of fixed it in their head that she's been coming back a few times like I take my own time and they're like enough of welcoming you now (jovially). They're like what do you have to say about their comebacks, I said it's my first Telugu film so there's no coming back first. But now they do not ask much now.
For women, when they take a small gap, probably get married, and take a small break again, it becomes like a comeback. Have you thought about that part?
Yeah, I did think about it as soon as I got married and there was the time when I didn't plan for a break like that or a long break. Frankly speaking, even now, I take that time and look for films. Fahadh had taken a break of one year as well but no one's really spoken about that. They spoke about why I took a break and mine was not even planned but it's changing slowly now they don't ask me, they don't say come back anymore, it's become lesser than before.
After your comeback, when you decided to do films, you did Malayalam, then now Telugu. When will Tamil happen?
I really want to, the truth is that I haven't heard much that really excited me. Secondly, whatever I heard I don't know or I wasn't very sure at that point. It is not like I have planned like no Tamil Films now or something. It has never been like that for me. It's always happened to me at the right time, be it Raja Rani (2013) or Thirumanam Enum Nikkah (2014). So, I haven't done much in Tamil also. I have done three films but with the kind of love I get here, I don't want to do the wrong one or something I am not fully convinced with.
Was Telugu Film on your radar at all or was the script so enticing that you had to do it.
In my career, when I choose films, I never look at the language. I look at the script and if I love it, I put in the effort to study Telugu or Tamil or any language. I knew when I got the call I didn't know Telugu at all. I can manage to speak Tamil but I didn't know Telugu. That was there in my head but it was never going to stop me. In all languages, I first listen to the script, if it excites me, I'll do anything for it.
In the comedy department, when you know the language, there's an added advantage because you can improvise and enhance it more with dubbing, you can react better. Were there challenges for you while doing that?
I did the entire script with a translator named Divya before I started shooting. I went through the whole script and I knew the meaning line by line, so it was easy for me on set. Even if I don't add much comedy, I have to know to react to something and be there. Like, I have to know what is happening even if I don't have a single word in the scene. I cannot stand in the frame without knowing what is happening. Since I did this whole script with my translator for all my dialogues, it was easier.
You were the bubbly cute girl and you're no longer just that. You're making a conscious attempt of no more conventional cinema or roles, something different or new. What are you actually looking for?
I think it just came with age for me. It was not a plan and all. I did my last film when I was 19, before my wedding. I'm 28 this year and it came with me growing up actually and seeing the kind of films that are being made around me. Because I have taken long gaps, cinema has changed around me as well. I have done a lot of fun stuff and it doesn't excite me as much as it used to when I was 17 or 19.
Now, my excitement is different. I still believe I am in that commercial space, I like my bubbly roles kinds of films but I want to do something different as well. For example in Ante Sundaraniki, it looks like fun and all that, but when you see the film, you will understand the depth of the characters and all that. Be it Trance, it was not a conscious effort but when it came it really excited me. I like to play deeper characters now.
All these tiny videos when you were 10 or 12 years singing are going viral on Youtube. How do you feel when you watch all those?
I am very proud, even then, I had so much confidence. There are days when I am like "Cringe, oh my god what is this", sometimes I'm like "damn cute and I am like look at that confidence." I am where I am today because of all of this. I truly believe all the films, good and bad, everything has made me go one step ahead.