New NRI Babe makes waves in Tollywood

Ever since Shekhar Kammula delivered three back-to-back hits — Anand, Godavari and Happy Days — a role in his film is considered a passport to stardom in Tollywood. And the two-films-old actor, Priya Anand, bagged just that when she was chosen to play the lead opposite Rana Daggubati in the much-hyped film, Leader.
The 20-something NRI has already become the toast of the industry and has signed the dotted line for another film, Rama Rama Krishna Krishna, opposite Ram, even before her debut film has hit the theatres.
Talking about her entry into showbiz, Priya says, “I came down from the US to visit my grandparents in Chennai and I was approached for a film. After acting in Vaamanan and Pugaippadam in Tamil, I got my first movie offer from the Telugu film industry, which I rejected. I wanted my debut to be a more meaningful film. That’s when I decided to audition for Shekhar Kammula’s Leader. It feels good to be part of a movie which promises to have a social impact and aims at getting the audience to think. It’s not often that we make such movies,” she says.
Unlike other imports, Priya dubs for her own films. “I grew up in Hyderabad and Chennai. Since my mom is a Tamilian and dad a Telugu, we spoke English at home. But I grew up watching Telugu cinema, so it wasn’t tough for me to pick up the language. I like dubbing for my own movies as it gives an authenticity to my roles. It also adds to my credibility as an actress in both Telugu and Tamil industries.”
The young actress is not just wowing the audiences, but her friendly demanour is also a big hit with the cast and crew. “Rana was awesome to work with and we became one big happy family on the sets. I think it’s important to get along with everyone on the sets as the rapport you share with people will certainly reflect on the output. Everyone encouraged me a lot and I couldn’t have learnt Telugu so quickly, if not for their support,” says Priya Anand, who is still coping with her new-found stardom. “My family finds it hard to believe that I romance South Indian stars onscreen, despite the fact that I don’t speak the language at home.”
And if films don’t work, Priya even has a plan B in place. “I have studied journalism and if I ever quit films, I can always get into production.”(DC)

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