Shalini Pandey on debacle of ‘Jayeshbhai Jordaar’ with Ranveer Singh: ‘I was sad and heartbroken’ – Exclusive – Times of India

Shalini Pandey, who shot to fame with the Telugu hit ‘Arjun Reddy’, made her big Bollywood debut opposite Ranveer Singh in ‘Jayeshbhai Jordaar’. ETimes caught up with the actress for an exclusive interview where she opened up about working with Vijay Deverakonda, the debacle of his Hindi debut ‘Jayeshbhai Jordaar’, the importance of fitness and what fashion means to her. Excerpts…
Your debut film, ‘Arjun Reddy’ was a blockbuster. How was your experience shooting for the film?

I never imagined that my first film would be a blockbuster. It was truly special for me. I was emotional when I was shooting this film. I got to work with some of the nicest people on the set. We all put in a lot of hard work making ‘Arjun Reddy’ with the purest intentions, and that’s why the film became what it became. Everyone was on the same page. It was a surreal experience. All your firsts are always special, so this one is always going to be close to my heart.

How is Vijay Deverakonda as a co-star?
As I mentioned above, firsts are always special, and he was my first co-star. This was my first film, and for Vijay, it was his second or third feature film, so we were both very raw. We came with a lot of energy. We wanted to prove something and make something good. We were together in it like a team. Vijay is a very giving co-actor. He is a very good human being as well. He made my job easy, and we have become really good friends. Sandeep Reddy Vanga, Vijay, and I used to hang out a day before the shoot and discuss scenes. Our bond was very beautiful, and that’s what translated on screen.

Your Bollywood debut, ‘Jayeshbhai Jordaar’ sadly went unnoticed. Did you have more expectations from the film?

I was sad and I was heartbroken. It took me a while to get over it. I realised that you don’t have control over anything. You just need to do your work. We put in a lot of work, and like every other project, this was also very special to me. You just have to move on and keep doing good work.

You will soon be seen in Junaid Khan’s Maharaja. Can you tell us something about it?

Yes, Maharaja will be my second Hindi film, and I am quite excited about it. We have yet to start shooting. We are still planning when to start it. I am looking forward to it, as my character is really interesting and I have a whole different look.

How much is fitness important in today’s time, especially for an actor?

Fitness is very important to me, as an actor and even otherwise. I started swimming right from my school days. There was this club where I used to swim, play badminton and play volleyball. I was a very active kid who was extremely into sports. I have actually learnt from my mom that eating well is very important. I was not into junk food even when I was a kid. I was someone who used to eat all her greens. Now that I am an actor, it is all the more important to eat well as it is a very stressful job. You need to take care of your mind and body. It is just the way I live, it is my lifestyle.

What is fashion for you – comfort or following trends?

I am a very moody person. Fashion for me just comes and goes. There are some days when I am dressed glamorously, and there are also days when I feel like doing nothing, just sitting in my pajamas all day, with no makeup and messy hair. I am an actor, and fashion is important. But I am not someone who will follow trends strictly. Fashion for me is comfort and experimentation both.

Have you always been a movie buff since childhood?

My father was a movie buff. He used to watch all the movies. I was actually not allowed to watch movies so much because my parents wanted me to become an engineer. But I used to watch them whenever I could. I used to watch movies irrespective of languages. I basically enjoyed the storytelling.

Is there anybody in the industry you look up to?

There are many people who have inspired me over the years. I love Shah Rukh Khan. His personality, his acting, and the charmer that he is are extremely inspiring. As I used to watch movies with my dad, his favourite actors and actresses used to become my favourites too. I remember that I was and still am a huge fan of Guru Dutt. I loved his movies. I have read so much about him. I am just fascinated by him. I was quite young when I used to watch movies. I grew up watching the movies of Kajol and Madhuri Dixit, and since then I have wanted to be a part of their cinema.

‘The Elephant Whisperers’ and ‘Naatu Naatu’ won at the 95th Academy Awards. What are your reactions and thoughts on the Indian film industry making waves on the global platform?

I am extremely proud of them for bringing home two Oscars. There is just pride, joy and lots of love that I feel right now. It is amazing that our film industry is making waves on the global stage. Better days are coming, and this is a great time for Indian cinema and Indian actors. I am overjoyed.

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