Amala Akkineni is making a come back into films with ‘Life Is Beautiful’ after 20 years of sabbatical. The actress who took retirement from films after getting married to Nagarjuna, is going to appear on silver screen in a beautiful role in Sekhar Kammula’s feel good film ‘Life Is Beautiful’, releasing worldwide on September 14th. On this occasion, Amala had a small chit chat with the media and shared her views on the film. Some excerpts are:
What exactly attracted you to Life Is Beautiful?
In every function that he met me, Sekhar would only talk about this project and would try to convince me to do the film saying that I’ve a good role to play. Although I initially disagreed, after watching the video which he shot with few children to give some clear view about the film, I got impressed and said Yes. He even assured me that my portion will be shot within 7 days, but it never happened so. Moreover at times we would wrap up the shooting by afternoon. When I shared it with Nag about acting in ‘Life Is Beautiful’, he encouraged me to perform well, but at the same time he would make fun of me saying that I did not show any interest in his films even when he asked.
How did you find working with Sekhar Kammula?
Very comfortable! He is a great director. After agreeing to do this film, I was little worried about my performance since I was facing the camera after a long time. When I expressed the same to Sekhar, he encouraged me by asking me to be myself instead of acting. His words gave me a kind of boost in my confidence level. But still somewhere in my heart I would feel nervous as I was supposed to act with new comers. On the other hand, the children would be even more scared while doing the rehearsal. So in order to make them comfortable I would look confident during rehearsal. I’m very impressed with Sekhar’s style of filmmaking. I would fearlessly do if a director like him offers me another chance.
What’s your role in the film?
I’m playing the mother of three children who is a widow. In real life, I have a son but no daughters. While shooting for this film I experienced the feeling of having daughters in real life. It’s a very simple character which raises her children with her hard earned money. Though my character appear soft from outside, her inner heart is vey stubborn with self-confidence. This character has inspired me a lot. My character is similar to 1000 widows in Bala Vikas in Warangal where we would organize programmes to raise funds for the charity. I learnt through them how widows are being let down by the people in the society. They were the inspiration for me to do this widow character in ‘Life Is Beautiful’.
How did your family react when they came to know about your acting?
When my father-in-law learnt about me doing this film, he congratulated me. He even appreciated Sekhar saying that he is a wonderful director. I was thrilled to hear people being curious to see me again on the screen after 20 years. I’ve no words to say about the people’s affection. My mom read from a newspaper and asked me about it. And I replied her saying that it’s just a very small role that I’m playing.
Have you seen the output?
I’m yet to see the output. However, when I was dubbing for the film I saw few scenes related to my character. I was very impressed and felt that Sekhar crafted the movie better than what I expected.
Did you watch Shirdi Sai film?
Yes, I’ve seen ‘Shirdi Sai’ and was touched by Nav’s performance. He was amazing in the character of Baba. I couldn’t say anything to him for a while, but I’m very proud of him. Our entire family members consider Nag lucky for getting opportunity to do a wonderful role like Baba. Yet another happy thing which I wanted to share with you is that Nag gave me his entire remuneration for spending it for the social cause. So we are planning to construct a hospital for Blue Cross and use the remaining amount for the education of some poor children.
There must be a lot of change now when compared to your period right!
Of course yes! There was no monitor on the shooting spot 20 years back. In order to know our performance, we would wait till the editing was done and then see the rushes. But there is vast growth in technology now with which we are able to see our performance then and there on the monitor after completing every scene. I’m very happy with this vast improvement in film industry using latest technology.
Did you enjoy shooting after so many years?
When Akhil visited the set of ‘Life Is Beautiful’, he said, “Cool Mummy! This looks more like a picnic than a shooting location.” And as he said the entire shooting progressed so coolly. Sekhar knows what he wants and how to extract from the artists. Although initially I was a bit nervous, as the shooting progressed I felt comfortable.
So what would be your next film?
My family is important to me, next comes animal care, then social services like ‘Bala Vikas’ keep me busy all the time. So I reallydo not know whether I’ll have enough time to spend on films with the above commitments. Even if I act, I may choose a role which would be prominent in the film and would love to work with wonderful directors like Sekhar Kammula. So let’s keep our fingers cross.
Is Akhil interested in films?
Yes, Akhil has interest in films and he is also doing some film related courses. At the same time he is also interested in sports. So we are not forcing him into anything. We would like him to choose what he wants to become. My parents also gave me the same freedom when I was young. I have learnt classical dance in Kalashetram.
Could you tell us briefly about your real life?
(Smiles) All are aware about my real life. I’m blessed with a good husband, good family and I’m leading a happy life. I love to spend time for social causes because only that gives me complete satisfaction.
How is your relationship with Naga Chaitanya?
Naga Chaitanya respects my word and follows my suggestions regarding films. Akhil and Chaitanya are very friendly even though there is a gap of 8 years between them.
Any plans to act with Nagarjuna in the near future?
Nag is always in me. So I don’t think I need to act with him.
She concluded her speech saying, “I worked with cameraman Vijay C Kumar for my last film in 1992 and exactly after 20 years I’ve once again worked with him which I feel immensely happy. ‘Life Is Beautiful’ is a very beautiful film. I’m sure everyone will like it. It’s a great experience working with youngsters. I thank Sekhar once again for portraying me on the screen through a beautiful film.”