EXCLUSIVE: Vidya Balan Asked Me To Try Acting, Says 47 Days Actor Pooja Jhaveri
Pooja Jhaveri is yet another girl from the city of Mumbai, who has come to Tollywood to make her luck shine. She is only a few years old in the film industry and has bagged several films in her kitty. She worked alongside Ravi Teja, Allari Naresh, Vijay Deverakonda and Navdeep. Over the course of time, she also tried her hand in Kannada and Tamil film industries. Now, she enjoys the release of her film, 47 Days on ZEE5.
Watch the trailer here:
We spoke to Pooja in a candid conversation, a day before the release of the film. She spoke about her journey, the film, it’s release, her future plans and more. Read the edited excerpts of the interview here.
Q. What brings you to southern cinema? Can you share your story?
A. Acting for me was a complete fluke. I was an assistant choreographer. Somewhere I wanted to act, but I never pursued it. I was assisting a choreographer on one of the Bollywood songs shoots when I spoke to Vidya Balan. We happened to have a conversation and she said, “You should really chase your dreams. You already have good height and good expressions. Why don’t you try acting? There’s a lot of struggle. If you’re really passionate then you can achieve your goals. It took me so many years to reach where I am but ultimately it happened.”
After that incident, I really took things seriously and got my portfolio done within a week. Out of nowhere, I got a call from the southern film industry. The photographer was showcasing his work and they liked my pictures. They called me and soon, things started to materialise. I gave the audition and they immediately told me I was selected. I felt it was a joke, but it wasn’t. And that’s where my journey started.
Q. How did the film happen to you?
A. So, I had signed a film called Rouge with Puri Jagannadh sir. That’s where I met Pradeep Maddali, the director of 47 Days. Rogue did not work for me because of the dates clashed with another film I was doing. But I became good friends with Pradeep and the other crew. Pradeep had mentioned that he had an idea in his mind, he approached me after a year or so with the script.
Q. What was the preparation for your role?
A. It was a little different and difficult. Because this character has a little grey shade, a little bit of negativity and suspicion. Usually, in Tollywood, I have done bubbly, girl-next-door roles. In this film, she only has to express through her eyes and expressions, with very little dialogues. I had to go throw a process of getting into the character. Pradeep was very clearly of what and how he wanted things to be. Apart from that, I had to tone down a lot of expressions.
Q. Your role as Juliet seems to be mysterious. Can you tell us a little about her?
A. I cannot tell you much about the character. But the entire film revolves around ACP Satya and Juliet. It’s a chase between them.
Q. What was your favourite part of playing this character?
A. Maybe not a favourite, but as an actor, it is important to have versatility – which actresses don’t get usually. So, this was a nice opportunity for me to showcase my talent and acting skills. It’s funny that this Telugu film does not have a single song.
Q. How would you describe your journey playing/as this character?
A. While shooting for 47 Days Telugu movie, I was also shooting for two more films simultaneously. I was playing three different characters at the same time. For 10 days, I’d be Juliet and for another 10 days, I was filming for Dwarka. It’s a constant change, between going from bubbly to intense. At the time, I thought it was difficult, but thinking about it now, I laugh on it. Thanks to my lovely teams, they made me feel comfortable and encouraged me to do better. I have good memories of that time.
Q. How was it performing next to Satyadev?
A. Satyadev is very good with OTT, where he plays intense characters. He is a versatile actor and he picks really nice scripts. He is a pro at it, I can say. Even in real life, he is very focused. He talks less, but he talks sensibly. Satyadev is an amazing person to work with. He will be there to give cues even if it’s my scene.
Q. You’ve done a handful of films earlier, do you think this film will make a mark for you?
A. I don’t know. I cannot say this right now, because I haven’t seen the film. It was supposed to release in January or around that time. And I was constantly busy with other films, at that time. After that the lockdown happened, so I did not get to see the film. I am confused about how the film has come out or how people would react to it. However, I do hope it becomes the one that makes a mark.
Q. How you have been switching between languages been for you, not only in the South but also working in Gujarati films as well?
A. When I started working, the Gujarati film industry had just started booming. It was the first of its kind, with urban films. Until then we had only rural cinema which ran in select parts of the state. Since 2014, I had good cinema happening in Tollywood, so I never thought of switching. But my circle, including family and relatives, said I was doing such good work that they did not understand.
My parents actually wanted me to do something in Hindi or Gujarati so that our circles knew what I was doing. So, I did Gujarati films just for my family. Even now, I don’t have many Gujarati films. I am trying to take up very limited and nice scripts there. And I’m trying to maintain and balance between the industries. But my main focus is on Telugu and Tamil film industry. After having some understanding of the Gujarati industry, there are so many good stories that need to be told.
Q. What do you think about the OTT release of 47 Days?
A. So far, I thought OTT is the future and it has really good content. Everything that does not go to theatres will go to OTT. After the lockdown, we learned that the theatres may not open until January next year. But you always want your film to be on a 70mm screen, you know? You want to have larger than life experience. It’s a mixed emotion moment. You’re having a release while no one else is. So, it’s nice as well.
Q. What’s next for you?
A. I have another release in Telugu called Bangaru Bolludu. By July, hopefully, we will know if it will see a theatrical release or will go to OTT. Apart from that, I have a Telugu web-series coming and another film called Kitty Party. 60% of the film has been shot, we have 40% more remaining. But it will go on floors only once things start again.
As we end on that note, you should check out Pooja Jhaveri and Satyadev in the full film on ZEE5 now.
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