Exclusive : Gnaneswari Kandregula Interview

Gnaneswari Kandregula is just not another pretty face. She has a lot of talent and she needs just one right film to go places. She is a familiar name in the cinema circle, more so in OTT because of her role as a scribe in her recent AhA outing..Senapathi catapulted her to fame. The actor is lapping up all the attention and in a small chat with Y.Sunita Chowdhary of Klapboardpost.com, she talks of her interest for meaty roles and is very sure that she’s here to stay. Though Gnaneswari hails from Vizag, she has currently made Hyderabad her home. Ask her how acting happened to her, she shares, “It happened to me accidentally. I finished my studies (B.tech in computers) and wanted to pursue masters in business administration. I always dreamt of being in IITs and IIMs and so while preparing for MBA, one of my professors suggested that if I had work experience, an MBA study will be more purposeful and so I got into an MNC. In college, I was recruited but that is not something I saw myself in. I wanted to be an entrepreneur.”

While in B.tech, she set up a restaurant in Vizag. Call it luck or strong will, Gnaneswari always did what she wanted to. Be it dance, cooking or for that matter anything, she would give her 100 percent. Always positive, her forte is belief in self and she says that is the only option she has. The best part about her is that she loves what she does which is why the work gets easier and she accomplishes any task. She quips, “I hope people aso start liking what I do. The restaurant was doing good and I became very well known in my college and the city. Also I was just 19 doing this with support from my father. My sister, an advocate, also chipped in her bit. Around this time, one of my friends wanted me to do a short film and I just couldn’t say no. I did it for him, we shot that for six hours and people really loved it. It reached many people.” Gnaneswari acknowledges her mother’s help in being fearless. She would push her to sing and dance in social gatherings because of which she never was shy. She had no stage fear in school and would gleefully stand in front of any numbers and talk. Nevertheless, the actor says, “I always thought I was an extrovert, I recently found that I am an introvert. Extrovert is something I am showing the world, otherwise I like my space and very much like to be myself. I started getting calls after the short film came out. It was very new, the camera, acting. I got a message from a director, he saw my profile on FB and I didn’t believe in them initially. I thought it was a prank call and sounded sarcastic. It was for Dear Comrade. I met director Bharath Kamma and he was impressed. I told him acting was never my thing. There was this wait period while the selection was on. Then Arjun Reddy released and the cast changed and the entire dynamics changed. They now wanted someone who is already known, popular. After 6 months, I contacted them and said I am interested but the director was very sweet. He said the producers are looking for someone from Bollywood and if there is a change, they’d let me know”.

She adds, “I appeared for the CAT exam and the result was not encouraging, I felt short of very few marks. I had another one long year to give the exam again and meanwhile many were asking me to act in a web series. I thought I’ll try and in the remaining months I will use it for studies. The web series was to wrap up in 20 days and it went on for 3 months. I worked in a reality show too and it fetched me name, fame. I was also a part of a demo film and the director wanted to make the demo film as a feature film. There were a couple of romantic scenes which I thought could never pull off. Later I said yes after a long wait and it was released. Right now it is on Amazon Prime and then I got into Senapathi.”

After Mr and Miss, Gnaneswari did Maya-lo which was in post production when Senapati was offered to her. The actor is honest and plain speaking. She says she wasn’t very happy to note that she didn’t have a significant role to play but nevertheless agrees that it is sometimes more important to be a part of a successful project. About OTT platforms, she says, “To me, it is totally new and for someone who hasn’t watched films in childhood..this was a blessing. During the pandemic, the OTT came out with amazing cinema, world cinema. There is no hero or heroine and we can’t bluff the audience about box office numbers. OTT has standards, it has quality, script and acting. It is a big thing and is opening gates for a lot of aspiring people and I still feel bad for those who look down upon OTT. No one imagined a pandemic like this would turn things upside down. It gives a better viewing experience. A big screen is always a big screen. Nothing can beat it. Enjoying a film with a crowd is different but chilling with your family and getting to forward something that doesn’t fit your interest works for many.” She waxes eloquent on its director Pavan Sadineni. “Everyone is suddenly talking about Senapathi. Pavan’s confidence is great. The executive producer randomly called and said it would be great if I send a video. The director called me to the office and told me about the original Tamil film. He made many changes and gave a brief overview of the characters. The magic started when we started shooting. It is already a hit film in Tamil, but once it started, the director’s confidence in the making was great. He made sure the audience got engaged. He had initially told me to watch the Tamil film and briefed me, said that in the original – the heroine hasn’t much to play, here we increased the journey with the actor. In the second half, there are only two scenes. To be honest, the story doesn’t ask for my presence.”

Gnaneswari has always been choosing characters where she had something to say but like stated above, the character had nothing much to do with the story. She took some time to think and finally agreed. She says, “Sometimes it is okay to be a part of a good film. When I turn back I’m happy that I’m part of one of the blockbusters of AhA, people have appreciated the film and to whatever extent I did they liked it. Pavan is the coolest, new age director with whom I want to work with again. He is a chilled person, he never gets angry and edts the shoot by evening. That quick he wants his work to be. He is so confident about his work, he shows his project to as many people as possible. I once asked if he is scared of being copied? He said he’s confident of his making and screenplay.

About her next releases, she says, “My next is the release of Maya -lo. It refers to the title character. There is another web series three C’s wherein every person’s name starts with C. It is a Sony Liv’s original. I have signed Vikram K Kumar’s Amazon web series alongside Naga Chaitanya. This was to go to sets in January but due to Covid is being pushed to February.” Other than cinema, Gnaneswari wants to study, any kind of study, at least wants to enroll in an acting school. She has an urge to go back to school or college. All her childhood she hated exams, it made no point to her. “After my exams, I understood the importance and learnt the trick to study. I’m occupied with projects now,” she signs off.

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