Shruti Haasan has made a mark for herself in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi film industries. Thanks to her choice of scripts and her versatility, she is one of the most prominent personalities in Indian cinema. Currently, Shruti is excited about the release of Yaara, where she gets to play an older woman for the first time. The crime drama, directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia and starring Vidyut Jammwal, Amit Sadh, Vijay Varma and Kenny Basumatary apart from Shruti, will start streaming on July 20 on Zee5.
Ahead of the film’s release, Shruti Haasan, in a detailed chat with IndiaToday.in, spoke about the process behind playing an older woman in Yaara, nepotism, her music and YouTube channel.
Excerpts from the conversation:
When Yaara came to you, what was the one striking aspect that made you choose the script?
I’ve always been a huge fan of Tigmanshu [Dhulia] sir’s work. So, when Yaara was offered to me, I decided that I have to be a part of this. When I met him to discuss my character, I was blown away and couldn’t wait to play it.
Looking at the trailer, you seem to have an interesting role. Can you tell us about your character?
Predominantly, it’s a story about the four guys and the Chaukdi gang. On layers, it’s very different. I play Sukanya and I found her very interesting. I felt that women of the late 70s were opinionated and more progressive than the generation today. I think that also in a way drove me to choose this film. Also, playing Sukanya in her older years was interesting as well.
Playing a 70s woman must be exciting. How did you work on your body language?
So, this is one of the only times I called my dad [Kamal Haasan] for help. Usually, I don’t. I wanted his opinion on how I can portray Sukanya. He gave me some amazing advice that was really helpful to me. When you’re playing another race, gender or another age, I feel that you need to be extremely sensitive. As a South Indian myself, I’ve taken aback many a time by the portrayal of South Indians in films. It’s like people do not make an effort to understand. Therefore, I do not want to make a caricature while playing an older woman. I wanted people to look at my performance and say that she’s done a decent job. That would be a great compliment to me.
Definitely, Tigmanshu sir’s inputs were helpful. My own understanding of Sukanya – of what I want to keep and leave behind – also helped me. In terms of prosthetics, I was asked to look at the pictures of my mum [Sarika] and dad [Kamal Haasan] and imitate the contours of their faces. I realised the fact that they hadn’t aged very much. It was a good cue to not go overboard with the prosthetic and make-up. My mum, who is in her late 50s, looks like a 30-year-old. In terms of physicality, it made me think what Sukanya would have gone through. If I have a knee injury, 20 years later it might change my physicality. It made me think about what could have happened to Sukanya.
Yaara was meant to be a theatrical release, but due to the current situation, it will stream on Zee5. How is it going to be an advantage to you?
Yaara was shot four years ago and honestly, I kind of forgot about it. I was thinking that it was a beautiful film and wished people could see it. But, it was in the cans for four years. When I got the call for its OTT release, I was pleasantly surprised. I’m really glad that it’s finally getting a release on Zee5. It is a time when everyone is at home. I’m one of the few actors who is relieved right now, which is crazy.
How has the lockdown been for you?
Oh, I love it. When I was younger, I was scared of being lonely. I was also surrounded by so many people at home. But now, I actually feel good in my own company. That’s important for everyone. If you don’t feel good in your own space, why would anyone spend time with you?
You’ve constantly spoken about nepotism and how the Haasan tag became luggage for you…
I understand why this topic is at the forefront again. I’ve always said that being a star kid gives you a key to open the door to the industry. After that, I saw a stark difference when I enjoyed being a nobody in London. People wanted to listen to my music and that was amazing. It was a reconciliation of the fact that this is not an imagination, that I have talent.
You took a conscious break from films to concentrate on music…
It wasn’t just about music, it was more about choosing yourself first. When people start doing that, they will feel better.
Laabam is an exciting film just because of the sheer names associated with it. How was it working with SP Jananathan and Vijay Sethupathi?
To be honest, it was like any other movie set. But, I really enjoyed working with SP Jana [Jananathan] sir. He’s from a different generation and my dad’s old friend. What I loved the most about him is how he is extremely liberal and open-minded. That’s an experience I cherish. He has evolved and his opinion of men, women, society, money is progressive.
Are you a part of Vakeel Saab?
Yes, I am. But, it’s too early to talk about it. We will have to see how it plays out.
You have uploaded your London music gigs on YouTube. How has the whole process been?
It’s lovely and enjoyable. Now, I get to show what I was doing in my live shows. It’s very different from the image of what people have of me and what kind of a musician I am. Many people were surprised to see a different side of me, which I like. I worked with wonderful musicians and I wanted to share that with people.
You seem to love fusion music and that’s reflected in your work as well…
I trained in Hindustani classical for many years. It incorporates itself in my music sometimes. I like taking my culture abroad, but I don’t want to be a caricature. I want it to be natural and organic. Musically, Hindustani sangeet and South Indian traditional kuthu rhythms like Thavil and Thappu are closest to me. I really loved incorporating that subtly in my music. It’s not about having an in-your-face moment, but a more organic one.
Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from