Shriya Saran is reveling in the limelight of power that’s zooming in on her. She is the red hot heroine in Kollywood after she signed Shankar’s Sivaji with superstar Rajnikanth. Today Kollywood is her oyster. She has signed films with Vijay and Vikram two of Tamil film industry’s top stars- Azhagiya Tamizh Magan and Kandasamy respectively . As of now, Shriya is basking in the glory of Tiruvilayadal Arambham a surprise super hit that resurrected the career of its hero Dhanush. Since then all young guns in the industry wants to do a film with the ‘Lucky lady”, but she has been politely refusing.
Shriya has a flawless skin, perfect figure, beautiful smile that will melt any heart and has a touch of class. She is a trained Kathak dancer and is literature graduate from the prestigious Lady Shriram College in New Delhi. Her mother is Neerja Saran, a former chemistry teacher at India’s best school, the Delhi Public school (DPS) Mathura Road, Delhi. Now Shriya’s family including her brother Ahiroop who recently got married has relocated to Mumbai. Shriya is a voracious reader and can talk about anything under the sun. Her favourite authors are Paul Coelho and Brian Weiss. In fact when
Moviebuzz met her, she was reading “Shantaram” a book written by her dance teacher and role model Shobana Narain. Two of her all-time favourite books are Harlet Rossin’s “The Kite Runner” and Somerset Maugham’s “To Kill a mocking bird”. We met Shriya over breakfast at `The Park` hotel in Chennai. The pretty actress in conversation..
What is the secret of your beauty? You look a million bucks these days…
Thank you (Smiles). In fact my favourite meal of the day is breakfast. I have an omelet with egg whites, porridge and paratha. For lunch I have plain roti with Dal and Bhindi Indian style. Sometimes I take fish and I love Chennai as fresh fish is available here. My favourites are Andhra, Malabar or Goan fish curry. I don’t touch red meat nor am I very fond of chicken. But basically I eat well.
So you area foodie
Yeah..I enjoy good food and Thai cuisine is my personal favourite. I never eat junk food though I love Subway stuff!
But how do you manage to look so thin?
I am 54 kilos. I eat well and work out too. I am passionate about my workouts in gyms atleast for 45 minutes every day. I believe that it’s not keeping body in shape but it’s fitness that matters the most.
How where you chosen to be the Sivaji heroine, the most coveted role in south Indian cinema?
(A broad smile) One day, I got a call from Shankar sir who said he had seen me in Mazhai. He said that he was impressed by my looks and performance. He asked if I were interested in being Rajnikanth’s heroine in Sivaji. I could not believe it and immediately said ‘Yes’. Then I came down to Chennai, met Shankar sir who said that I don’t need any make-up or screen test. He also gave me some DVD’s of Rajni sir’s films and I watched all of them. I believe that it was destiny that Sivaji came my way.
Can you elaborate on your experience of working with Shankar
He is a perfectionist and my role is very good. I have never worked with another director who goes for such detailing as he wants everything to be picture perfect. Before the shoot dialogues were e-mailed to me so that I could prepare myself. He conceptualizes everything, even minute details including costume and colour schemes. And the best thing is that he gives freedom to his artists to express their views, which I feel is good as he does not mind incorporating them.
Tell us about your character in Sivaji?
(Screams) Oh No…. Shankar sir will kill me! Ok… now that the film is ready for release, I’ll give you a preview of my role. Don’t ask for more. I play a bubbly happy character full of beans.
What is your character name?
My character name is Tamizh and I wear Pavada-Dhavani. I am there in four out of five songs which are amazingly tuned by A.R.Rahman. I love dancing which everyone says comes naturally to me. Please don’t ask me anything further about the film (smiles).
Let’s change tracks… How was it working with superstar Rajnikanth?
Rajni sir is truly the living legend of Indian cinema. I have never seen so much awe and respect among people for an actor like Rajni sir has. At airports, hotels and other places all over the world, people come up and ask me- “Sir epiddi irukku? To be honest, Rajni sir’s heroines can piggy-back ride on his popularity. Thanks to him, I’m getting so much of attention and respect from the masses and the industry.
As a person how is he?
Rajni sir is the nicest human being that I have come across in life. Always willing to help others and he has so much of patience and his knowledge is vast. He is like a search engine as he has an answer to all your queries. When we were in Spain, none of us knew anything about the country. But sir knew all customs and even the political history of the place on his finger tip. He is the most chilled out, down-to-earth, well read person that I have ever met in life.
How was it working with Rajnikanth the actor?
Sir will explain the importance and significance of each scene before the shoot. And when the shot is ok but he finds that I am not comfortable, he will go for a retake. And when I do a scene well, he will clap and motivate me to do better. The kid in him is still alive!
So you had a great time working with Sivaji team?
Working with Shankar sir and Rajni sir was indeed an experience that I will never forget in life. K.V.Anand the cameraman also helped me a lot. Producer AVM Saravanan sir and his son Guhan and his lovely two daughters had gone out of their way to make me comfortable. It’s indeed been a nice experience.
What are your forthcoming films?
I am currently shooting with Vijay for Azhagiya Tamizh Magan in which I play a college student. Then there is Kandasamy with Vikram who is a fine actor. In Hindi I’m doing Awarappan with Imraan Hashmi and let me tell you that there are no kissing scenes (gives a naughty smile). I have also signed a film with Bobby Deol for director Sangeet Sivan. I will not be signing any new Tamil films till my current assignments are over.
Shriya dreamt many things but nothing happened in tune of those. She expected that she would bag something big followed by Sivaji. She acted in Hindi film ‘Awarapan’ but even there the things are not favorable. The film turned down at box office.
She shares her personal things to media this way:
My Beauty: Many say that my physique looks great. I got that from my mother. My Mom is a beauty and I got that from her by birth. I take extra care in the matters of sleep, food and exercise. That keeps me in shape.
Competition: I never believe in competition in this field. Every body will have her own cake. I get along with everyone with amicable behavior.
Party Animal: Many call me party animal. I spend time with my friends that way. I have many friends in Hyderabad. I go with them for parties in the evenings. I don’t think that is wrong. But media projects that in big way.
Present Projects: I’m acting in Tamil film ‘Kandasamy’ with Vikram and another film with Vijay.
Shriya is on top after her portrayal in ‘Sivaji’. She gave a big interview to a Tamil magazine and she said about her glamour tips in that. The essence is as follows:
She said, “I have the habit of taking a glass of orange juice as a part of my breakfast. I don’t use packaged juice but only rely on fresh fruit juices. I clean my face with rose water mixed with glycerin every evening. I consume fish and dal and follow healthy diet practices. Above all, I massage my body with baby oil before going to bed at night. I also use baby soap for washing my face. I frequently drink coconut water everyday.”
Well, those are the beauty tips of this beauty. Anybody willing to follow!
Sriya Saran: "And then, I discovered yoga"
“When you’re on a shoot, the schedules are very erratic,” she says. “So I could never practice dancing and my weight would fluctuate. And then, I discovered yoga, and now everything is under control.”
Yoga is part of her daily routine. Shriya does a mix of power yoga and Iyengar yoga. “These two disciplines focus on all parts of my body. The asanas helped me tone down my two most problematic areas – abs and arms.”
She also makes it a point to have dinner before 8 pm, because, she says, eating late makes your stomach bloat.
Still, in spite of her regular fitness routine, Shriya had to intensify her exercise and diet to be perfectly trim for the cover shoot.
“I lowered my salt intake since it makes the body retain water, and I drank a lot of water and juice,” she says. “I also avoided fruit. The only thing I couldn’t give up was sugar.”
Shriya begins her days on orange juice which she believes cuts fat, filter coffee and coconut water. Breakfast comprises egg whites, paneer paratha and sometimes dosa. The paneer paratha is not fried and contains no oil.
After breakfast, Shriya follows the now-famous frequent small meals diet plan. “I keep having salads and sprouts. My main meals are healthy and I make it a point to eat sabzi, roti and even dal. I don’t cut carbs entirely, and I drink milk every night, so you see, I don’t give up food but follow a healthy diet, combined with yoga.”
Dinner is mainly grilled chicken, chana cutlets and vegetables, and Shriya makes it a point to eat it by 7.30 pm. “I lost three kilos after I started doing this,” she says. “And I don’t feel deprived by my diet as I was never into junk food. When I was growing up, my mother used to make lots of interesting home-made snacks."
Shriya’s only indulgence is chocolate, but she doesn’t claim to possess super-human self-control. “I do let go occasionally. Once when I returned from a holiday in London, I was completely bloated. But then I started my routine again, and with yoga, I lost three kilos in 20 days.”