Sriya ‘didn’t expect’ Radha Rama Mannar from Salaar Part 1 to get this much love


In a sea of testosterone that dominates Salaar Part 1: Ceasefire, there’s a feminine energy that holds her own, commands respect and even out-maneuvers the men. We’re talking about Sriya Reddy who plays the villainous Radha Rama Mannar, daughter of Raja Mannar (Jagapathi Babu), who temporarily even rules Khansaar. Since the film was released, her stellar performance has been the talk of the town. In a candid chat with Hindustan Times, Sriya opens up about everything from coming back to Telugu cinema after 2006’s Amma Cheppindi to why she fell in love with her role in Salaar and more. (Also Read: Shruti Haasan talks about her Salaar co-star Prabhas: ‘He is powerful and magnetic’)

Sriya Reddy plays Radha Rama Mannar in Salaar
Sriya Reddy plays Radha Rama Mannar in Salaar

On Radha Rama coming to life…

Sriya reveals that she told Prashanth Neel she wouldn’t come back to Telugu cinema unless her role was substantial. “He promised me my role would stand out and he’s a man of his word. There were a lot of phone calls, meetings, look tests…By the end of it all we knew what Radha Rama Mannar was all about,” she says. However, while the actor expected her role to be noticed, she didn’t expect the love coming her way.

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I knew she’d get a good response, but to this extent? No…I never expected that. I can’t wait to play her again in Salaar Part 2: Shouryaanga Parvam.

On her regal look in the film…

Apart from Sriya’s performance, one striking thing about Radha is how she’s always dressed in beautiful sarees and decked out in silver jewellery, apart from the nose ring that’s a marker for her tribe. “Prashanth knew what kind of colour palette she needed to carry and the jewellery she would wear from the get-go,” she says, adding, “Costume designer Poornima Ramaswamy did a fabulous job. Prints, stripes, anything complicated that took away focus from her personality were avoided.”

Sriya Reddy's regal look in Salaar
Sriya Reddy’s regal look in Salaar

We opted for real silver jewellery because she can’t be someone who wears artificial silver, it just doesn’t look good on-screen.

On Indian filmmakers writing better roles for women…

Citing the example of Salaar, Sriya says things have come a long way when it comes to the kind of roles female actors are offered today. “You have these well-built men taking centre stage in the film, but there’s also a woman who holds her ground and has a voice among them,” she explains, adding, “Filmmakers are evolving. When I acted in Thimiru (Pogaru in Telugu) 16 years ago, I was told I wouldn’t get leading roles if I played such headstrong characters. I said, hell with that…I will create new ground rules and do my thing.”

Sriya Reddy with Prashanth Neel on the sets of Salaar
Sriya Reddy with Prashanth Neel on the sets of Salaar

Cinema evolves when we write better and complex roles for women with good character arcs because that’s where it’s lacking.

In fact, she even told Prabhas on sets how she’d be cutting into his screen time and he didn’t seem to mind. “He is one of the nicest human beings. When I told him that, I’m sure he wondered – where is this mad woman from? But he said – sure, take whatever you want. He is a secure actor like that. Prithviraj is a wonderful person to talk to, I was lucky I got to work with these wonderful men.”

On returning to Telugu cinema…

Being a “Reddy girl,” as she puts it, Sriya says it fills her with “pride” to act in Telugu again. “I have also signed a film called OG with Sujeeth in Telugu. I am in love with the script, what he has penned is a total winner,” she says. She’s also pumped to work with Pawan Kalyan, Prakash Raj and the rest of the team, she adds.

“PK sir is a wonderful human being. He’s such an intelligent person, he’s also quite witty off-screen. Much like Prabhas, he is also the kind of actor who lets his co-stars take center stage and flourish in their roles,” she says, adding, “I worked with Prakash Raj earlier so working with him again felt like coming home. The cinematographer, Ravi K Chandran, is my childhood friend and he’s brilliant.”

If people loved me in Salaar, my role in OG will be the cherry on top.

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