January 21 2018
Like to become a cardiologist someday: Sai Pallavi
17 August 2017

Sai Pallavi chats about her film choices and upcoming projects

Actors pick up many things on a film set — a particular camera angle, figuring how to get into the zone… But, Sai Pallavi’s list is different. “I drank tea for the first time during the shoot of Premam. I learnt to hold a fluttering butterfly. In Fidaa, I drove a tractor, a Ferrari. I never thought that would happen, because I’m very slow on the road,” she laughs.

Pallavi delights in the small joys. “I find happiness in the tiniest things,” she says over the phone from her home town Coimbatore, where she’s relaxing after Sekhar Kammula’s hit Fidaa.

Pallavi, who completed her MBBS from Georgia, says each of her films has taught her something. If Premam lent her confidence to face the screen like she was meant to be there, Kali  taught her to be a silent yet affirmative woman. “When Fidaa came to me, I wondered how I would be accepted because no one there (Telugu cinema) knew me or my past work. Also, I’m quiet. Bhanumathi is a whirlwind. Would I be able to portray her effervescence? Luckily, it worked out,” she says, adding, “What I loved most about Fidaa was how it wove a rich tapestry of relationships among the various characters.”

Comfortable in her own skin

A question that often rankles Pallavi is about her face, more specifically about the “acne”. “It’s rosacea. I’m photo sensitive, and turn pink in front of the camera. And, why are we speaking about looks? There’s no grading system for beauty, right? It does lie in the beholder’s eyes. Having said that, I always yearned for long hair, because I grew up believing goddesses had long hair, and I wanted to look like one!” Pallavi is happy that her sister Pooja (who acted in the short film Kaara) uses her elder sibling as an example to tell her friends why they must be comfortable in their skin.

It is not easy being an outsider, and yet strike gold at the box office with all three movies she’s starred in, in languages not her own. And, to those wondering about the thought process behind her choices, straddling movies and studies, and pacing herself, Pallavi has one simple answer.

“Oh, that’s so much thought. I merely discuss the character with the director, ask a lot of questions and work out in my head as to how I will behave if I’m that person. I am particular about giving my best. It’s a crime to waste people’s time.”

Speaking of new languages, Pallavi’s Telangana dialect in Fidaa has won her appreciation. “Dubbing is a huge responsibility. It took me two sessions spread over eight days. I did tell Sekhar sir that he could get someone else to dub if he was not happy with my effort.”

She has another Telugu film, Middle Class Abbayi  with Nani, and her maiden Tamil film — director Vijay’s Karu, which is said to fall in the horror genre. “Some films are a breather, and MCA, which also stars Bhumika, is that kind of film. It’s light and the film does not revolve around me.”

Pallavi believes that things happen when they have to. “I have never regretted the delay in acting in Tamil. I’ve just gone with the flow, be it dance or acting. I’m not okay with on-screen kissing. My parents let me pursue my dreams, and it’s my responsibility to make them feel comfortable with my work as an actress. I agreed to the LBD in Fidaa, because I knew Sekhar sir would shoot it aesthetically.” Pallavi confesses to watching The Conjuring on mute, eyes half open, the lights turned on, and the Hanuman Chalisa playing on her lips. How easy was it being part of Karu? “That was in Georgia; the wooden floors added to the eeriness,” she smiles, adding Karu is not all horror.

Looking ahead

Back in Georgia, Pallavi’s classmates knew her as a quiet student. “They were shocked to see me in Fidaa’s trailer,” she says, adding she is surprised by the extent of the movie’s success. “I’m happy I made everyone happy.” And, all the adulation is firmly stopped from making a dent in her personality. “I meditate. I need that time to stay true to who I am.”

Pallavi is sure tinseltown will just be one part of her life. “My mother insists women must have financial independence, which is why I completed my degree in Medicine. My doctor dreams are still alive. I hope to become a cardiologist.”



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