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Dec 2016
For someone who is as busy and as big a deal as Tamannaah Bhatia, her courtesy comes as breath of fresh air. "I am in Mumbai in the middle of back-to-back shoots for endorsements," she says, apologising profusely, for a few minutes' delay in keeping her appointment with us. With films lined up in Telugu, Tamil and Hindi, Tamannaah is one busy bee, indeed. "The Bahubali shoot still on — I have some work left in it which will be completed this month," she says, as she settles down down for a chat with Hyderabad Times. Excerpts.

So, you must have become quite a pro at sword-fighting, horse-riding et al, now that you are close to wrapping up the shoot for Bahubali...

(Laughs) Playing Avantika has changed my life. Horse riding was something I had never tried before. It was a completely new space to be in and it was scary. I realised that the only way to deal with it is to first face my fears, even before I stepped into the arena to train. Because once I'm on the horse, it's either me riding the horse or the horse taking me for a ride. (laughs). So there was no room for fear. But the training really helped me become more agile and sensitive to my body. This film changed how the industry looked at me. I went from being a dainty, soft girl to this strong woman.

So, do you look at yourself differently as well?

Well, I have overcome a lot of fears — be it the fear of heights or anything that's even remotely challenging physically. I feel empowered now. I have seen myself transform. I was someone who would think twice before going out alone; now, when someone says you have to do an aerial shot, I am like, 'Bring it on!' I'm not scared of things any more. I'm not nervous; not anxious. In general, I'm a braver person.

After this, acting in entertainers might seem like a cakewalk...

Not necessarily. Even the song in Abhinetri demanded a lot from me physically. I mean, there were 15 days of hectic rehearsals alone before we got to the real shoot. The job of an actor is such that you are required to be fit all the time. This is one profession that gives you the ability, no, the right to focus on yourself — physically, mentally and emotionally. It makes you stronger. And I quite enjoy it!

You seem to be enjoying being the fashionista too, of late...

(Laughs) Believe it or not, before I went to Bollywood, I thought there was no such thing as fashion industry. I thought movies drove fashion. I had no clue how trends came about. I did not know that there were trends for every season, nor was I aware of the many fashion weeks. I was more of an actor; less of a fashionista.

When I started doing Hindi films, I realised that fashion was not some frivolous business! People might think, 'Arrey, what's the fuss about what shoe you wear?'. But, now,

I like dressing up because I realise that it is an expression, and an extension, of your personality. There was a lot of trial and error, but in the end, I found my personality through clothes. Now, when I am sitting and chilling, I find myself researching on trends. I feel responsible for the fashion choices I make, because when you set a trend, hundreds are going to follow you. You don't want to set the wrong example.

So much pressure! How do juggle it all and manage to stay sane?

Family. I have always had them around me, even if they aren't physically present. So when I am having a crazy day and need to find some sanity, I will look for solace in family. In fact, there have been times when they felt I didn't sound alright on the phone, so they took the next flight to come see me. Having a support structure like that keeps me sane.Read more at: |
judy smith
Written by
judy smith
   Elizabeth Squires
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