'Ala' doesn't objectify my legs: Pooja Hegde

Tuesday, January 14, 2020 - 16:00

Pooja Hegde is elated about the response for 'Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo'. In this interview, she talks about dubbing on her own, working twice with Trivikram Srinivas and Allu Arjun, shooting for 'Jaan', wanting to be a pan-Indian star and more.

How is the response so far for 'AVPL'?

It's been great. I haven't been counting the number of successful films I have been a part of because I don't want to jinx it. My performance and dubbing have come in appreciation since the film's release on Sunday.

How are you managing the dubbing part? You have done it once again after 'Aravindha Sametha'. How has the experience been?

It was my own initiative to dub for 'Aravindha Sametha'. After that film released, a few actresses called me up and asked me who is the dubbing artist that dubbed for me. They wanted to have her voice. I have been very stubborn about dubbing for myself. I haven't been trained in the language. I have learned the ropes by talking with people, for example, my staff members and managers here in Hyderabad.

Coming to 'AVPL', you have played a corporate boss. However, you don't come across as a strong woman in the film. How do you see that?

When Trivikram sir gave me the narration of the film, he told me that playing Allu Arjun's boss is having a strong role. And that's what the film has. Who is a strong woman? Does she have to shout at others to be strong? You know how my character behaves when Brahmaji comes and warns her. Staying quiet is something strong women do at times. When the hero's character keeps ogling at her legs, she hits back at him by punishing him.

There is this criticism that the 'leg fantasy' track in the movie is embarrassing. Do you agree?

After swooning over her legs, the hero's character falls in love with her eyes. So, he progresses. That's subtle. The lyrics of 'Samajavaragamana' are about her grace and how beautifully she walks, not about the shape of her legs. There have been films that have sexualized the navel, for example. Compared to them, 'AVPL' doesn't do that.

Pooja Hegde at Ala Vaikunthapurrmaloo promotions

You have worked with Trivikram twice. What do you like the most about him?

He explains everything clearly to his actors and is also open to suggestions. He is also very calm always. Nothing can make him get anxious, even a fire on the set. Trivikram sir goes to the extent of explaining the meaning of lyrics even when it is not required.

You are working with big names like Akshay Kumar and Hrithik Roshan in Hindi, Mahesh Babu, NTR, Bunny and Prabhas in Telugu. What is your aim?

I am happy to be getting to work with them all. I want to be versatile. I want to play all kinds of roles. You saw me as a village girl in 'Gaddalakonda Ganesh'. Quite in contrast, you saw me as a corporate superior in 'AVPL'. I want to be Pan-Indian actress. I want to try anything that gives me the scope to perform. In 'Housefull 4', I tried slapstick comedy.

How is Prabhas’s film progressing?

I have participated in two schedules so far. The first one was shot in Italy and the other one was shot in Hyderabad. The third schedule is set to commence. I might join the shoot next month. Prabhas is a very sweet person.

You are one of the busiest actresses in India right now. Don't get you get burned out because of the heavy load of work?

There was a time during the making of 'Aravindha Sametha' when I worked on four films at a time. I worked in four shifts day after day. I have realized that I can do four films at a time. In Telugu, I am doing ‘Prabash20’ and a film opposite Akhil Akkineni right now. I go by my guts when I choose a film. Nobody can say which formula works and which doesn't. I am ready to do a women-centric script if it comes my way.