She talks about her latest Tamil track, ‘Yaazha’, and why she takes more risks in cinema now

Shruti Haasan was barely six when she first stepped into a recording studio.

The occasion was momentous: she was to croon a few lines for composer Ilaiyaraaja in Thevar Magan. “I knew it was important because my father (Kamal Haasan) was nervous that I get it right,” she recalls, over phone from Mumbai. “I just remember going to this really cool place and having a new experience. It’s only later that I realised the value of it, and what it meant to my life and music.”

The memory of that occasion might be hazy but the experience prodded her on to take up a career in the arts. Her latest musical outing is the ‘Yaazha Yaazha’ track for upcoming Tamil film Laabam, in which she co-stars with Vijay Sethupathi.

She credits composer D Imman for roping her in to sing the track, a melody which, she says, utilises her vocals in a unique manner.

“When [Imman] called me, I asked, ‘Do you think people would expect me to sing this?’. He said ‘No, that’s why you ought to sing it’.”

Her varied musical influences during childhood contributes a lot to the musician she is today. “My mom had impeccable taste in music. My dad is a wonderful singer himself; when we hang out we sing together. He introduced me to The Who and The Beatles which changed my concept of how one can write a song,” she says.

Shruti started out as a singer-musician, but slowly branched out to acting as well. “It took me many years to get as comfortable with acting. But now, I cannot imagine removing that from my life because I express a different part of my artistic self through cinema.”

A few years ago, Shruti Haasan was eyeing a lot of big-ticket projects in Tamil; she was seen in Suriya’s 7aum Arivu and Vijay-starrer Puli.

With the recent influx of OTT platforms, Shruti has been in the thick of things; she was seen in Amazon Prime’s Tamil anthology Putham Pudhu Kaalai in 2020, and more recently in Netflix’s Telugu anthology Pitha Kathalu. “The industry is very different from what it was a decade ago. I have become more courageous now,” she remarks.

Also part of the new Shruti Haasan we are seeing is her playing a mother in recent Telugu hit Krack, starring Ravi Teja. “A lot of people questioned me for that. It was a risk I was willing to take, and it really paid off. These were not risks that I would have taken before.”

This year will see more of the risk taker in Shruti. Laabam, which has been in the making for a long time, will revolve around farmers — a hot topic currently. “People will connect with the storyline, especially with the situation in the country (farmers’ protest),” she says, adding, “I feel that it is important to make statements through cinema.”

Her other biggie, Pawan Kalyan-starrer Telugu film Vakeel Saab, strives to do that. It is a remake of acclaimed Hindi film Pink. “Making such films is important. And then, if you have someone like Pawan Kalyan who can influence the masses, it’s great. Anybody in a position of influence using it to provoke thought is powerful,” says Shruti, who is also part of Prabhas-starrer Salaar and has an Amazon Prime web-series lined up.

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