Tuesday, May 16, 2006
She is one amongst the trio of the famous Reddy sisters. Yes, we're talking about the very beautiful Sushma Reddy. After being a prominent face in the modeling circuit, she gradually shifted to Bollywood with Vivek Agnihotri's Chocolate. And like the title of her first film, the actress can't resist anything edible.
Sushma is currently gearing up for the release of her next film, Chup Chup Ke, directed by Priyadarshan. In an extended conversation with IndiaFM, Sushma speaks about her fascination towards films, fashion and (of course) food.
Chup Chup Ke means everything in hiding. Would you reveal something for us?
It is due for release in the first week of June. There are a lot of misunderstandings and confusion in the movie. A typical Priyadarshan film, it is a romantic triangle between Shahid, Kareena and myself. All his films have break neck speed comedy. This film is an out and out, complete entertainer. I would call it a dark comedy. It was so much fun shooting with the huge star cast. There was a huge set as well. We used to keep playing games like dumb charades and Chinese whispers. Suneil Shetty used to be on the sets. He loves playing pranks and it was just so much fun. Then there was Shahid, who is a fabulous co-star. I was quite nervous, because apart from Shahid, I was the only one who had not worked with Priyan Sir. Most of my scenes are with him and he was very cooperative. I would keep making errors and he would quietly tell me where I was going wrong. Kareena, too was nice to work with. It was a fun team. The film has been produced by UTV, which is riding high on the success of Rang De Basanti. We're all hoping that this film will be another feather in their cap.
Tell us something about your role in the film.
I would say that my role is the surprise package in the film, in terms of the character, clothes and my look.
How did you work on your look?
What makes me enjoy my work is becoming a different character, in each film. It really inspires me. If I can become a new character every time, it's an added twist. In Chocolate, all my mannerisms and gestures were different. My friends could not recognize me when they saw the stills. That's why acting is so much fun! I think Chup Chup Ke will rock because it has something for everyone. All the veteran actors in the film are comic geniuses.
Very few people know that you are in the film.
They want to keep it as a surprise. You have to go and see the film to know what it's about.
Any more movies on hand
I am currently doing an acting workshop for the film Big Bazaar, by Mahesh Manjrekar. He is a brilliant director. This film is in the league of his masterpieces. It's a tragic comedy about the lives of mill workers. The mill lands in Mumbai are very much in demand. He is tracing the 15 years of this phenomenon. It is specifically about families who were involved with these lands. It's about two families. I play the sister in one of the families and it's a very pivotal role. I think it will be very challenging. The last I heard, he wanted to shoot it in an authentic chawl setting. When I heard the script, I was blown away. I have also signed Puneet Issar's film but I don't know when it will start. I am in talks with two other producers. I can talk about that only when things get finalized.
What kind of roles do you want to play?
Art cinema is good but I have always wanted to do commercial roles. They reach a wider audience. I want more people to come and watch films. I would love to do a variety of roles be it period dramas, historical films or total commercial pot boilers with the dances thrown in. I am looking to play different parts and enjoy myself in the process.
The usual perception in the industry is that models can't act. What do you have to say?
I am happy because I have got some good feedback from talented film makers. Why would people cast me if they didn't have faith in my talent? The notion that models cannot act has already been taken care of by my colleagues like John Abraham and others. I'm sure directors would not be taking me on if I could not perform.
Tell us something about the music of the film.
It has been composed by Himesh Reshammiya who everyone knows is in great form. They are beautiful and soulful ballads which go with the tone of the film. They are soothing numbers.
Is Priyadarshan a taskmaster or easygoing?
When I reached the set first, I was so nervous. So he told me to stop behaving like I am punished. I'm still new and was put up against such veteran actors. They would give us our dialogues about half an hour prior to the shot. I was so busy creating the situation in my head. When the scene rolled, Priyan sir asked me to see what I was doing! He told me that I was pre-empting my dialogues. So then he told his assistant to give all the actors the dialogues fifteen minutes before the shot. It worked out well. He wanted spontaneity. He is someone who appreciates natural performances. Even his actresses are always shown as simple in terms of clothes and make-up. What's amazing about him is that he writes, edits and directs his own projects. I am in complete awe of him.
Kareena is a big star. Was there ever a fear of getting over-shadowed?
Not at all, because I am still new. All that I can do is give my best. I saw the big picture - that I am in a fantastic film with a superb cast and a wonderful director. She was good to me so I had no issues. It's an interesting film and I hope it runs.
Do you have scenes with Kareena?
Yes, the entire climax is with her.
There are many aspects to a film like the actors, director, banner, etc. What is the most important factor for you, when it comes to choosing a film?
One or two co-stars need to be in place. You can either have great co-stars or a superb banner. A good banner ensures that the film will be promoted well.
Yours is a family of models and actors with both your sisters being a part of the entertainment industry. Tell us something about the relationship that you share with them.
We all share a very easy going relationship just like any other normal family. We fight about stupid things like CDS, earrings and belts! But we rarely talk about our work. We all have long hours. So when we do get together, we like to go out and eat or watch TV, and movies. At the most we share tips of styling but we never talk about work. It just gets too tiring.
What does fashion mean to you?
What's funny is that in spite of being a model, I have never really wasted too much time on fashion! The more comfortable you are in your clothes, the better it looks on you. If you feel that it looks fantastic on you, it probably does. I am more into accessories. I love to pick up belts, shoes and jewelry. I think that's what makes your outfit interesting. I am not a fashion victim, follower or pundit! I have no idea what's happening on the ramp at any given point of time. If somebody comes and asks me what the colors of the season are, I would not know!
Are you a brand freak?
No I am not interested in brands. I look for quality pieces. I love to mix and match my clothes and accessories. I frankly don't really care about brands.
Where do you shop from?
I shop everywhere. It just depends when I have free time. I am not a shopaholic. I hate to shop! In fact one day, when I am super rich, I am going to hire myself a personal shopper! I know people who love it. But I am not one of them. I shop as per my immediate requirements.
Do you shop for your sisters?
If I am traveling I do shop for particular things that they want. But in India, I shop purely for myself.
What do you feel about Indian fashion?
It has an upside and a downside. The upside is that it can be worn in any season since it has a lot of embellishments. Saris are fantastic fashion statements. On the downside, it does not evolve much. You see similar variations.
Fashion is not always comfortable. What do you feel?
I still maintain that I will not wear something in which I am not comfortable. More so in a profession like mine in which I have to go out to events and meet people. If I am not comfortable, I get fidgety, which looks very bad.
Who is your favorite designer?
I am a big fan of good cuts, so in India my favorites are Shahab Durazi, Savio John and Sabyasachi. They all cut clothes really well. Abroad, I have no particular favorite brands. I like wrap dresses because they are feminine and sexy. If a brand stocks on those, I will pick them up.
What kind of clothes do you prefer? Casuals or formals?
Usually its casual clothes. I am a jeans person. As long as I have a good pair of jeans, I'll keep changing what I wear on top. The weather in Mumbai is too hot to be over-dressed. But you also have to dress, keeping in mind the occasion.
What's your style mantra?
I would say that it's not about the price tag but about the comfort.
Tell us something about your fitness routine.
I am not so hung up on my work out regimen. I am naturally a very lean person. Because of Hindi films, I have the opposite problem. I need to put on weight! Since modeling to now, I have put on 15 kilos! Apart from looking fat, people can even look too thin on camera. It's been a conscious effort to put on weight. I go to gym thrice a week and also dance. The combination of these two keeps me in shape. I can't starve to save my life. I feel hungry every two hours.
Do you follow a particular diet?
I am a pure vegetarian and don't even eat cheese and eggs. I try and maintain some sort of order by eating three meals a day. I love to eat a lot though and land up eating humongous quantities. I love fried food! So far I have been lucky in terms of my weight. Maybe one day the fried food will just explode!
What kind of exercises do you prefer between cardiovascular and weight training?
Weights are important for the body, but also overrated. I feel that for women, power yoga or Pilates are as good as doing weights. It strengthens your muscles. If you don't do the weights right, you could end up injuring yourself. The plus side of course if that it increases your strength and fights cellulite!
Since you have to take care of your body, is there a favorite food that you are forced to avoid?
I am addicted to soft drinks. I have been trying to stop this habit since a long time. My dentist is amazed that I drink one or two colas a day. It's something that I cannot do without.
Tell us what your meals comprise of.
My breakfast consists of fruits and juices. My lunch consist of raw juice, salads, brown rice and vegetables. I love eating yoghurt. The night time is my time! I go out and eat or order food. I think I follow a fairly clean diet. There is nothing ultra complicated about it! A lot of the times in the night, I feel like eating French fries or a burger. I don't stop myself. I just work harder in the gym!
What's your favorite food?
I am so fond of eating that people can't believe it! I love everything from simple ghar ka khana to Japanese cuisine!
Which is your favorite restaurant in Mumbai?
It all depends because there are so many kinds of foods! I am not fussy at all. I like Swati Snacks, Busabi, Indigo and some at the Grand Hyatt. I am fond of a lot of varieties of food.
What do you do when you are not shooting?
I have a lot of hobbies that I indulge in. I love art so I tend to visit museums. I enjoy writing and cooking as well. I am one of those people who need to be busy all the time. I use my time fruitfully, when I am not shooting. I also like to just rest and relax. My favorite past time is watching television. I can watch it for hours.
Are you a very religious kind of a person?
Not really. I am not religious, but spiritual. I follow rites and rituals out of respect to my parents. I do believe that there is a higher power but I am not obsessed with religion. I have a lot of faith in the higher power and I believe it watches over me.
Is there any personality which inspires you a lot?
I always look upto really strong women. Young girls in India should have strong female role models. Personally, I always look up to women whether it is politics, media or any kind of business. I am also a big fan of Mukesh Ambani because he has a great vision, which he is implementing at a rapid pace. I also admire people like Richard Branson and Vijay Mallya because they make it all seem very easy. But actually, they are all very hard working men.
Was acting a conscious decision after modeling?
To be frank, from modeling I shifted to veejaying. After doing that for two years, I felt that I had reached saturation. Films were something that came my way. I never really grew up thinking that I wanted to become an actress. Offers kept on coming. I finally said yes because the scope and content of Hindi cinema has changed. Today we have different scripts, young directors and fresh talent. We have an audience which accepts this kind of cinema. Much earlier on, I had not really visualized myself being a part of the industry. Today I feel that I definitely fit in. I really enjoy acting now. Modeling seems so far away. I wait for really good offers to model. My focus is purely acting now. It's challenging, exciting and different.