Saheb Biwi aur Gangster fame actress Shreya Narayan, who hails from Muzaffarnagar in Patna, is elated due to the positive response she’s been getting for her recently released movie ‘Nanu Ki Jaanu.’ Shreya, who happens to be the great grand niece of India’s first President Dr Rajendra Prasad, feels proud of herself for being a self-made woman. In a freewheeling chat with Nation Next, Shreya Narayan speaks about her role in Nanu Ki Jaanu, why she felt ‘happy’ when her roles in Tanu weds Manu and Rockstar were chopped off and why she idolises the legendary actress Rekha.
Tell us something about your role in Nanu Ki Jaanu. How do the makers justify a title like this?
I basically try to ward off a spirit who creates a ruckus in Nanu’s (Abhay Deol) life in the movie. It’s a cameo, in which I play a high-class ghost buster. In the process of driving away the ghost, I get possessed! I can say that I’m a con-woman in the film. So, my role in the film is quite funny and the audience is finding it funny too.
Speaking about the title, Abhay is playing the character of Nanu, with whom the ghost falls in love. That’s why the word Jaanu is used.
Speaking about the genre of the film horror comedy, don’t you think it’s relatively a new genre in Bollywood unlike Hollywood?
Yes. I too found the concept different when I watched the film! It makes you laugh and wonder at the same time. I feel children and family audiences are going to enjoy the movie.
You’re the great grand niece of India’s first President Dr Rajendra Prasad. You must have come across his numerable stories, which people at large aren’t aware. Can you share with us some?
I was told how revered a man he was. He was a simple man with simple habits. My family would tell me stories about president’s official house when they would stay there. I feel I have a name to live up to by being a self-made person.
Your role in Tanu weds Manu and Rockstar was chopped off and it must have surely been disappointing for you. Did it deter you from acting, as they were blockbusters?
My roles were always chopped off in the first few films that I did, whether it was Rockstar or Tanu weds Manu. I was a newcomer, who came to Mumbai, gave auditions and got roles. This is what happens to people who give auditions till you get established. Such things don’t upset me. I don’t regret this all. In fact, I’m so happy it happened because it gave meconfidence to pave my own way in life.
What is it about the Indian media that bothers you?
The media runs after big names. There are people who get everything served on the platter. I’ve given 10,000 auditions to reach where I am unlike some, who haven’t even given a single audition. As per the media, we’re stupid people with ideologies, who are still struggling with smaller roles. This is how the world perceives us. Without sounding pompous, I want to say that when I look at my journey, I feel lot of admiration towards myself. Nobody here (in Bollywood) is anybody till they are somebody’s somebody.
How was working with Abhay Deol? You also worked with the legendary Rekha during Super Nani. How was working with her as well?
Working with Abhay was great. It was a pleasure to work with such a wonderful artist like him. I was more than pleased to work with him.
Rekhaji taught me a lot. There was a conversation that left an imprint on me. It was during the shooting of Super Nani my mother succumbed to cancer. Due to some delays in the movie, I had to shuttle a lot between the hospital (where my mother was admitted) and the shoot. That was a critical time for me. That was when I asked Rekhaji if she ever imagined Umrao Jaan to be a hit, to which she replied, “The director was new, who approached me. There was no money so I travelled to Lucknow by train. I designed all my clothes and used my jewellery for the film.” She further told me, “I’ve done 175 films but people know me for 20 films. But an actor continues to work and one day, you get an Umrao Jaan!” Even today she thinks of how she can become a better actor. Be it a 3 am or a 6 am shoot, she would do her yoga and be ready for the shoot. She’s so inspiring!
Read more| Meet ‘Nabbe’ from the film ‘Nanu Ki Jaanu’