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No objectification of my legs in 'AVPL': Pooja Hegde

Tuesday, January 14, 2020 • Tamil Comments
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No objectification of my legs in AVPL: Pooja Hegde 

Pooja Hegde has scored one more hit with 'Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo'. In this interview, she disagrees with critics and says that she has a strong role in the movie. Catch her talk about what makes Trivikram Srinivas and Allu Arjun special. She also talks a bit about Prabhas' next film.

Learning Telugu without a trainer

I am not counting my hits. I don't want to jinx it by counting. After 'Aravindha Sametha', this is the second time that I have dubbed. It has been hard obviously because Telugu is not my mother tongue. I am slowly picking up the language, I am now getting comfortable with phonetics and pauses. I don't have a language trainer; interacting with my mangers, staff has helped me a lot. I am not talking regular Telugu with confidence. I am told that a number of actresses back out at the last minute after agreeing to dub for themselves. I didn't do it.

It's a strong role, not a weak one

The chemistry between me and Allu Arjun has struck the right chord with the audience. Honestly, I did 'AVPL' because I loved the script. The script narration session had me laughing so much. I told Trivikram sir that it's a light-hearted film that I would call a popcorn entertainer. We all wanted to do something light. Getting to work with Trivikram sir was a bonus. Script is everything these days. I wanted to play a strong role in the movie. And the director told me that I will be seen as Allu Arjun's boss. That too made me feel good about the role.

Being strong in varied ways

Being strong doesn't mean she needs to shout at others. In one of the scenes, an extortionist threatens her and she doesn't budge. That's also a kind of strength. Strength is also about knowing when to keep quiet. When Bunny comments about my legs, I punish him. Women are getting stronger in each film.

'AVPL' doesn't objectify legs

Every woman is subjected to ogling. If I have to teach every guy who stares at me, I won't be able to do anything in life (laughs). Every scene in 'AVPL' is justified. The 'Samajavaragamana' song is not vulgar or problematic. The song is about how I walk, not about how my legs are shaped. It's about the grace of her walk. Many films have objectified the navel and cleavage. 'AVPL' is much better in that respect. As Bunny's character tells Rahul Ramakrishna and Navdeep later in the film, he goes mad about my eyes. So, he has moved beyond legs.

When does my character fall in love with Bunny? It's narrated like an undercurrent. The soft corner she develops for him is subtextual. It's not really a love story but an entertainer. It's a father-son story.

A very calm director

Trivikram sir is one of the calmest directors. Even if the set is on fire, he will tell you to calm down and proceed to shoot where there is no fire. He also explains the scenes neatly. He narrates the meaning of each line of songs to his actors. I appreciate it because actors get to understand the context and meaning properly that way. Despite being such a huge director, he is not at all egoistic. He is open to suggestions.

No objectification of my legs in AVPL: Pooja Hegde 

Favourite scenes

My most favourite scene in the movie was edited out! There is a scene that comes in the run up to the 'Butta Bomma' song and it's not there in the final version. I love the boardroom scene and the reference to 'Undiporaadhey'.

Working with big stars

I have been busy indeed. On some days, I had to do three schedules in a day. For example, in 2018, I shot for 'Aravindha Sametha', 'Maharshi' and Prabhas' 'Jaan' in a day.

On 'Jaan' & Prabhas

I enjoy working with Prabhas. Two schedules of 'Jaan' have been completed, one each in Italy and Hyderabad. I will join the new schedule in Hyderabad in February. Prabhas is very sweet. Akhil Akkineni is my age and carries a lot of friendly vibes. I am a fan of Bunny's work. I have the capacity to do four films at a time. I am doing two Telugu films right now and can do two more.

A versatile, pan-Indian star

I want to be an Indian star. I don't want to limit myself to one language. Hindi is also regional, much like Telugu. I tried slapstick comedy in 'Housefull 4' and the experience helped me a lot. How to stand out in a scene where there are many other artists in the frame (like in 'AVPL') is also a learning experience. In Telugu, versatility is my strength like in Hindi. I have played a village belle in 'Gaddalakonda Ganesh'. In 'AVPL', I am a corporate boss.

Everyone asks me how I don't get burned out despite being a busy bee.

Go with your gut feeling!

Women-centric roles are not easy to come by. I am not afraid of pulling off such roles. I go by my gut feeling. What is the worst if your film doesn't do well? If the script is good enough and gives me the scope to show my acting talent, I will go ahead. You can never tell whether a film will do well. Some films are good in terms of content but the collections are poor. Vice-versa too happens. There is no formula in life. I just want to do what the audience enjoy.

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