In spite of a booming career, Shruti Haasan shies away from being called a star. In a chat, the actress talks about how she deals with the pressures of stardom, expectations of always looking good, and working with Rajkummar Rao in Behen Hogi Teri.
Your career started off on a shaky ground; but it seems to be steady now...
My career has been steady for about five years now. For me, both Hindi and Telugu films were on a shaky ground when I was trying to find a foothold. It was just about making the right choices. I think you can plan your career only to a certain point and not too much.
Do you think you have become a star?
I don’t like the word ‘star’; it comes with a lot of pressure. I only consider myself a well-paid performer doing what I love.
Do you agree with the popular belief that the south industry is male dominated?
It’s a male-dominated country. I feel like a daughter of this business and I have grown up on films because of my father and mother.
Born to an atheist father and a spiritual mother, how are you so religious?
Yes, I’m very religious. I find a great personal connect with God, and don’t make a show of it. I do believe I’ve crossed many hurdles because of God’s blessings. Different people have different definitions of God and religion. For me, it’s about discipline and a personal connect.
How was it working with your father, Kamal Hassan, in Sabaash Naidu?
As an actor, it was wonderful and an honour for me. Because he is my father, there was a certain openness in our communication. So, the fact that he’s happy with my work is the proudest thing. He is my superman.
You were considered unapproachable in the beginning of your career. Have you changed for the better?
I was never unapproachable. I was just nervous in the beginning and people misunderstood me. When you are figuring out things, it’s best to keep mum and that was misconstrued.
Your personal life has always been under the scanner. Does that bother you?
My personal life has always been scrutinised since I am an actress. There are lines that are crossed, which I am not comfortable with. But, it’s part and parcel of the business.
There’s constant pressure on actresses to look pretty and shapely all the time. Does that take a toll on you?
It does. It’s not easy because you go through so many changes in life — hormonal or thyroid issues. There is a huge amount of stress on looking pretty and shapely but I take it in my stride. When I joined the industry, dieting and looking fit was a big part of it. I can’t do that anymore because it just makes me an unproductive person. I eat healthy, I work out, and I don’t do anything that makes my soul unhappy.
Why did you walk out of Sangamithra?
I find it difficult to commit to a film as an actress without a bound script. It’s understandable for a project of that scale, actually. I wish them luck.
Does comparisons with other actresses bother you?
It used to bother me when I was younger, but it doesn’t anymore, because being bothered is impractical. Everybody can’t be the same with strengths and baggage. My strength is focusing on my own baggage.
There have been reports of you being in a relationship. So, are you in love?
I am always in love! I love my life. I don’t comment on my personal life not because I’m trying to maintain a single status but because it’s a very precious part of my life and I like to keep it private. I am only open about everything with my parents. They know everything about me.
Were you skeptical while signing Behen Hogi Teri because it had a new director and no star per se?
It’s been an honour working with some established directors, but it’s equally important to work with newcomers who have a fresh approach. Working opposite Rajkummar Rao has been fantastic. He is one of the most respected actors, even if not a commercial hero as such. A good actor can fulfill the expectations of the audience.