In the footsteps of her dad

In the footsteps of her dad
Highlights

Having featured in 15-odd films as a child artiste prominent of which include ‘Chitram’, ‘Badri’ and ‘Pournami’ – it was a natural progression for Chetana Uttej to debut as a leading lady one day.

Having featured in 15-odd films as a child artiste prominent of which include ‘Chitram’, ‘Badri’ and ‘Pournami’ – it was a natural progression for Chetana Uttej to debut as a leading lady one day.

It indeed happened as her maiden film, ‘Pichiga Nachav’, is scheduled to hit the screens next Friday. “The circumstances at home too influenced me a lot as every conversation at the dinner table or drawing room centred on films,” Chetana informs excitedly.

While many industry personalities don’t encourage their daughters to pursue a career in showbiz, Uttej, Chetana claims, never thought on those lines. “It was during my graduation that I told him about my acting aspirations and he had no issues with it.

He never believed in gender discrimination but told me, ‘I don’t know how talented you are but you need to work hard.’ Later I learned dance, concentrated on my physique and did theatre too. Only after I did a photo shoot, he was convinced that I have it in me to get into the industry,” she recalls fondly.

As the father and daughter duo started looking out for scripts, director Sashibhusan approached them with the draft of ‘Pichiga Nachav’. “Impressed by my portfolio, Sashi approached me. I liked my character and the script.

I felt it was a normal love story but the screenplay was interestingly designed, prompting me to sign it,” Chetana, a Mass Communication graduate from St Francis College for Women, Hyderabad reveals, adding, “The film talks about following one’s heart.”

She adds that she enters the scene 20 minutes into the film. “I play Ananya, an intermediate student and the story revolves around her. She is like a rowdy- just like the way I am in real life but is sensitive. She is madly in love with the hero and reveals it to him at a crucial point of the film.”

As far as her plans are concerned, Chetana wants to associate with off-beat cinema. “I know we rarely make such films but I want to do off-beat cinema. More than glamorous roles, I want to play real characters. Even if I get a film like ‘Uyyala Jampala’, I’d jump at it. I’m also open to do films in Tamil and Malayalam.”

Uttej comes from Ram Gopal Varma’s school of filmmaking and is considered to be close to the maverick personality. Did she manage to meet Varma? “No, I didn’t but I was told that he went through my pictures,” she says, adding, “Puri Jagannadh garu is my well-wisher and whenever I meet him, he addresses me as a ‘heroine.’”

With Uttej planning to wield the megaphone this year, will we get to see her in his film? “No, he is very particular about his cast. If he feels that a character fits me, he’d offer it to me, else I don’t see a chance,” she signs off with a smile.

By Nagaraj Goud

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