Leading actresses Rakul Preet Singh and Priya Prakash Warrier were reportedly unhappy with their ill-defined roles in their latest release Check. Similarly, actresses Nidhhi Agerwal and Nandita Swetha had openly expressed displeasure over sharing screen space in the Silambarasan-movie Easwaran, which was dubbed into Telugu.
Rakul is an A-lister in Telugu, who has gained a huge following over the years. So it’s possible she was a tad disappointed with her role in Check which may also have been why she didn’t attend the promotion of the movie that released on 26 February.
But producer Anand Prasad, who bankrolled Check, which also starred Nithiin, says, “Nothing of that sort happened. Rakul is a top-rung heroine and was expecting a song in the movie but we couldn’t accommodate her wish as it could’ve disturbed the flow of the movie. Otherwise, it was great working with Rakul as well as Priya Warrier, although the film didn’t live up to big expectations at the box office.”
Similarly, Nandita Swetha also declined having any skirmishes with her co-star Nidhhi Agerwal during the making of Easwaran, which was released during Sankranti. She said staunchly that she always shared great rapport with her co-heroines.
“I’ve done two-heroine movies and I haven’t had any issues with any of my co-stars; in fact, I am friendly with all of them even now,” she remarks.
Nonetheless, it might seem to a layman that the two or three heroine roles in films have short-changed the careers of some actresses. Although actresses such as Anu Emmanuel (Agnyathavasi and Alludu Adhurs), Catherine Tresa (Nene Raju Nene Mantri and World Famous Lover), Regina Cassandra (Nakshatram and Seven), Hebah Patel (Mister and Orey Bujjiga) Nabha Natesh (Disco Raja and Alludu Adhurs), Surbhi (Gentleman and Raghuvaran B-Tech) had started with solo heroine roles, their career graphs slowly compelled them to take up two-heroine roles to remain in the reckoning. Some even gravitated towards Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi movies.
However, producer Abhishek Nama doesn’t see a trend, least of all anything worrisome about it.
“The actresses have had to sign roles that came their way. Even top actresses such as Kajal, Samantha, Shruti Haasan and Tamannaah have done two-heroine roles, so there’s nothing wrong with that. Of course, every actress dreams of doing ‘solo’ heroine roles, with the spotlight entirely on her, although some compromise on their roles for fancy paycheques. Otherwise, they are moving to Tamil or Malayalam movies to essay meaty roles. Surely, heroines doing two-heroine roles will find it difficult to get back solo leads, barring a few exceptions,” he elaborates.
Roles that matter
Director Hemant Madhukar, who’d cast three heroines — Anushka, Anjali and Shalini Pandey — in Nishabhdham, is convinced that some actresses are drawn to well-etched roles rather than glam prop roles.
“I had no difficulty in extracting performances from all three actresses as they were happy to get performance-oriented roles,” remarks Hemant.
“Of course, Anushka is class apart. Even Anjali and Shalini have been making their own space.” Hemant also points out how, unlike in the past, where heroines were chosen in the last moment after finalising the hero and the rest of the crew, today, heroines have a louder say in their roles.
“Unlike heroines of ’80s and ’90s, who were eager to provide glam quotient, today’s actresses apply their mind before signing a film. And that is even though money is as important for them,” he adds.
Pranitha Subhash also defends the two-heroine trend in Tollywood. The actress, who tasted huge successes with her two-heroine roles in Telugu films such as Atharinitiki Dharedi and Hello Guru Prema Kosame, doesn’t mind doing a few more of such roles.
“I have no qualms about sharing acting honours with my peers as I have confidence in my talent,” she says. “It all boils down to doing significant roles.”