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Updated January 13th, 2024 at 18:31 IST

Exclusive/ Salaar Star Sriya Reddy Says She'd Never Play A Damsel In Distress

In an exclusive interview with Republic, Sriya touched upon her acting break, the kind of roles she wants to do and her take on problematic roles on screen.

Aditya Sagar
Sriya Reddy in Salaar
Sriya Reddy in Salaar | Image:Instagram/sriya_reddy
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Actress Sriya Reddy made her acting debut in 2002 with the Tamil movie Samurai in a special appearance and went on to star in several movies including Appudappudu, Bharathchandran IPS and Amma Cheppindi. It was in 2008 that Sriya won several nominations for her performance in the movie Kanchivaram.

While everyone expected it a turning point of her career, Sriya surprisingly vanished from showbiz for nearly a decade. Now, with the release of Prashanth Neel's directorial Salaar: Part 1 – Ceasefire, she is back in the limelight, essaying the fiery Radha Rama Mannar.

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Sriya Reddy in Salaar | Image: Instagram/sriya_reddy

In an interaction with Republic, Sriya touched upon her acting break, what kind of roles she is looking forward to landing in the future and her take on 'problematic' characters on screen. 

Didn’t want to do something for the sake of it: Sriya Reddy on acting break 

Asked about how she spent her time away from showbiz, Sriya revealed that she focused on her fitness, family and well-being. “I'm very particular and choosy in what I like to be a part of. I didn’t want to do something just for the sake of doing it. It was quite traumatic for me because I knew that I had potential, I knew I had a fire inside me that I wanted to perform. I can’t lie but the turmoil was constantly there,” she said.

Sriya Reddy in Salaar | Image: Instagram/sriya_reddy

“I truly believe that when your time is right, it will happen. And as much as you want it to happen earlier and when you want it, it will not happen. So I'm just extremely grateful for the whole process,” Sriya added. 

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Shriya addresses lesser screen time for women characters in cinema

Equal or considerable screen time for women characters in Indian movies is a long-running debate. While talking about the same, Sriya told us that she believes in making the "most of whatever she has been offered". She further said, “I also have an issue with that. But if we look on the bright side, I think it's very important to understand that you have to make the most of what is given to you. So when somebody tells me, it's a character role and I have only 20 minutes and if I really love the character, I’d have the confidence to go ahead and do it because I have faith in my own potential."

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Sriya recalled a similar conversation she had with Salaar director Prashanth Neel where she told him, “You can have the most A-lister actors in your film. But what am I going to do? Because everything else doesn't affect me but I want to come and I want to hold my ground. And this is what Prashant promised me and I think he has delivered it.”

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Despite Prabhas and Prithviraj Sukumaran's prowess, Sriya's impactful role in Salaar Part 1 has earned her praise.

Sriya Reddy with Prashanth Neel | Image: Instagram/sriya_reddy

Sriya shares her take on toxic masculinity and violence in Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s Animal

Animal has managed to emerge as one of the biggest box office hits in recent times, with its collections grossing over ₹900 crore mark at the global box office. However, the Ranbir Kapoor starrer has also faced criticism for promoting toxic masculinity and violence. 

When asked about her views on the film, Sriya shared, “I do have a problem with it. What people see on screen, they try to emulate in real life. And that's when all the problems arise. That is a problem that I have as well. We as an actor have to be very conscious in terms of what we portray, how we do and what we say because that is somehow translated into reality. I also have a problem with the way women are treated in movies these days.”

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Sriya Reddy in Suzhal: The Vortex | Image: Instagram/sriya_reddy

However, Sriya also addressed why movies like Animal also deserve a place in cinema and said, “We need to start evolving as a country that churns out different kinds of films. If we are going to be stuck saying that we only make a particular film, then we have to be confined in a box. We are not progressing.”

Asked if she would ever sign a Sandeep Reddy Vanga movie, Sriya shared, "Yes, but I wouldn't want to get slapped. I would probably slap whoever.”

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Will Sriya ever play a damsel in distress?

“As long as you have me around, nothing sort of that is happening because I have a certain amount of responsibility to myself, forget about anybody else. I have to sleep in peace and that is about that. I don't see myself playing something that I'm not doing in real life," Sriya said.

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Image: Instagram/sriya_reddy

When questioned why actresses continue to play characters like this even today, Sriya responded, “Somebody might need the money, somebody might need that particular film to survive and how do we know what their journey is, so everybody's situation is very different. If you ask me personally, I wouldn't.”

Sriya Reddy on women actors and characters starting to get a stronghold in cinema

While storytelling in India continues to go through an evolution, Sriya asserted her confidence in the makers of today. “I think there is a better space and roles for women in recent years. For example, Dimple Kapadia in Saas Bahu and Flamingo. See her age and see how she was so commanding in that role. There are now multiple roles written for people like her, Neena Gupta and Tabu. That is the change I see where there are fabulous roles written and they are the driving force for things earlier. This wasn’t there earlier but now today, I think that change is happening.”

Sriya Reddy in Salaar | Image: Instagram/sriya_reddy

Sriya will be reprising her role as Radha Rama Mannar again in Salaar: Part 2 - Shouryaanga Parvam which is eyeing a release in the 2nd half of 2025.

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Published January 13th, 2024 at 18:29 IST

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