You’ve seen her play the demure Preethi Shetty in 2017’s Telugu blockbuster Arjun Reddy and now, you get to see her in an all new avatar. Actress Shalini Pandey, has crooned her first single in collaboration with Bengaluru-based Lagori. A Telugu song titled, Naa Pranamay, the video has garnered more than 700k views on the band’s YouTube channel. In an exclusive tete-e-tete with us, Lagori’s lead singer Tejas Shankar and Shalini got candid about the video directed by Karm Chawla and more..
How did the collaboration between you guys happen?
Tejas: We were thinking of doing our next Lagori sessions with an actress and by then, Shalini’s film had become a huge hit. She was a good friend of ours, so we thought of working with her she was our first choice. So, we decided to compose our own song and sing it together.
Shalini: One day, Vinyl (Lagori’s drummer) called me and told me about the project. Honestly, singing is not my job —just something I’ve been doing since my theatre days. I used to be part of non-profit Hindi theatre and we’d sing and dance on stage. Also, my mother was a professor in singing during college days, so she influenced me. During the Lagori shoot in Bengaluru, I did actually get to go out and meet people. The next time, I visit the city, I want to explore it. I like the city ‘cos of these guys they’re really nice people.
How comfortable are you with Telugu now?
Shalini: I’m very comfortable with the language. I still don’t understand a lot of things, but I can form sentences. I’m very shy to speak though! My team is also Telugu, so I don’t feel alien and I’m comfortable listening to it.
Tejas: As artistes, it’s part of our job to sing in different languages. This is my first song in Telugu I don’t know the language at all.
What’s happening next on the music front?
Shalini: My directors ask me if I want to sing in my upcoming films. I tell them I’ll do only if it’s a necessity as it doesn’t make sense to put in an extra song just for me. I’d love to sing for myself, it’s nice to hum to your own scene!
Tejas: Shalini will have her own rockstar movie.
Shalini: Actually, I’d love to play a rockstar. I don’t think people in India are used to the idea of a female rockstar. But I think I will only have to write and direct such a film ‘cos finding a producer will be difficult! (laughs)
Tejas: We’re working on our second album and are releasing a single from the album soon. Every song in the album will be released as a single. We also have our next Lagori sessions with singer Alexis D’Souza. We also have a special project coming up which is going to be a big surprise for the Kannada audience.
Shalini, has the massive success of Arjun Reddy sunk in finally? What kind of roles do you want to play?
No, it hasn’t that’s why shifted to Mumbai. It’s very overwhelming and nice. People don’t call me Shalini, they call me Preethi! I try not to take stardom seriously, I mean it gives me happiness, but it doesn’t get to my head. I did get offers, but I wasn’t too happy with the scripts. The story needs to make sense to me and it shouldn’t be one where I just appear in one song and then disappear. I’ve signed Kalyan Ram’s next in Telugu. I’m doing two films in Tamil 100 Percent Kadhal and Gorilla.
As for my dream roles, firstly a lot of things need to be changed. Being in a film should make sense for a girl. There are very few roles like Preethi, otherwise the actress is just a mere love interest. Any role that has substance will be a dream role for me! I’m open to any language – even Chinese is fine as long as I get to portray a role that is
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