She’s essayed the Dresden china babe in mainstream cinema, sending adrenaline levels of scores of males into overdrive. In a refreshing departure, Sameera Reddy sheds her saucy doll image in ‘Red Alert The War Within’ and dons the mantle of Lakshmi, a destitute woman whom destiny transforms into a Naxalite?
No blazing AK 47s/ pistols/ grenades/ hand bombs ammunition in sight, mercifully! Sameera Reddy, fortunately, is quite a bomb herself. Clad in a blue and white off shoulder top and white pant ensemble, Reddy’s looking all spiffy and turns on the charm voltage full throttle even as she tackles a salvo of queries from the scribe tribe.
Reddy’s enacted the glam bimbette in several Hindi flicks, which required her to display precious little in terms of talent. ‘Red Alert The War Within’, her Suniel Shetty starrer helmed by Anant Mahadevan, showcases Reddy in a deglam image; in a role that illumines her traversing the route from hapless woman to gun toting Naxalite.
Excerpts from a rapid fire chat. Well, quite?.
What is the film ‘Red Alert The War Within’ all about?
‘Red Alert’ is a movie that focusses on the Naxalite movement in our country. It shows the problems and the issues they face. I think this a topic that we really need to talk about.
How would you describe your character in the film?
In ‘Red Alert’ I play the role of Lakshmi. She is a very simple girl. One day she gets raped by the police! The Naxalites find her, take her into their fold and and she then becomes a Naxalite too. It’s her journey of how she turns from a simple girl to a girl who holds a gun to kill people. But there is a reason, an instigation for her doing it. Her character in the film shows that every Naxalite or terrorist has a reason for doing what they do.
Since the movie is based on a very sensitive issue, how much of research did you have to do in order to play this role?
I think this a very sensitive issue. But our film is not taking the side of the Naxalites nor are we siding with the government. We are only saying that violence has no justification. We are here to just educate people about these incidents that are happening around us. The government needs to wake up and do something about it and not just kill all the time to prove a point.
There are many Naxalite attacks happening around us, what do you want to say about it?
I think it’s happening because we have a lot of wrong doings in our country. The manner in which the government is handling this is debatable. I can’t say whether they are right or wrong, but I do feel that there is a lot of injustice happening, so the only way they can attack back is by becoming a Naxalite, and that is certainly wrong. Somewhere along the way, Naxalites feel that the only way in which they can tell the world what is going on is by increasing their numbers and that is why more and more Naxalites are joining their fold.
According to you, how should one deal with the Naxalites?
If I could answer this question I wouldn’t be in Bollywood? I would have been in politics!
In the ultimate analysis, what is the kind of message that ‘Red Alert’ sends out?
The specialty about this movie is that we are not taking anyone’s side. On behalf of the government’s side, we are saying that this is the problem and on behalf of the Naxalites we are showing that this is why they have become Naxalites. We have shown their mindset, how they eat and live together like a family because of the common thread of oppression that they have endured. So in the end, we are not taking anyone’s side by saying that these people are right or wrong. We just want say that these things are happening and ‘Red Alert’ is a story around it.
Having done a whole lot of glam commercial cinema, how comfortable were you with the deglam image in this film?
I have done a lot of bubblegum films. If you see ‘Musafir’, ‘Race’, ‘De Dana Dan’, I have always been seen in glam doll roles. It is not that I have any problems with glam doll roles, because I love my ‘jhatka matkas,’ but in my career it’s important to do different kinds of roles. So I took up the ‘Red Alert’ role because I loved my role and the screenplay, and not just because I wanted to portray a different image in cinema. I just do films from my heart and I’m very passionate about it. So if I like a film, I will do it.
You didn’t want to change your image with this film?
I don’t want to change my image. I’m very happy that people see me as a glamorous girl or they call me sexy or or beautiful. It doesn’t matter. For me, it is all about people coming into the theatres and watching the film. I have no problem with my existing image.
‘Red Alert’ has fared well in film festivals abroad. But do you think that it will be a successful film in India?
‘Red Alert’ is a very hard hitting film from the start to finish, so I’m not saying that the masses are going to like it. But I’m sure they will understand the fact that it is a film with a story and message, not a just a song and dance film. It’s a very deglam film. It won the ‘Director’s Vision’ award at the Stuttgart Film Festival and other mega film festivals too. Suniel (Shetty) got the ‘Best Actor’ award. So I think if the film was appreciated by the foreign market, may be our select Indian audiences will also like it..
How was it working with Suniel Shetty?
Suniel and I have already worked in ‘123’ and ‘De Dana Dan,’ so we have a great working relationship. He is very easy to work with. But this role was very important for him because the whole film is focussed on him and his character. Besides, it is a character based on a true story. So it was great working with him and a lot of hard work for all of us.
Did you get a chance to meet a real life Naxalite?
No, I haven’t met any real life Naxalite. I don’t know how I would react if I ever met them!
What’s your take on Anant Mahadevan, the director of ‘Red Alert’?
Anant is a very intense director and I like the fact that this was his idea completely. It is a very strong, hard hitting subject which no one has focused upon. I like the fact that he has taken a true story and turned it into a film.