Chennai: Southern film actress Anushka Shetty was so moved by the emotional story of warrior queen Rudhramadevi that she agreed to be part of the eponymous Telugu project that's based on the life of the latter.
‘Rudhramadevi’, which is directed by Gunasekar, releases in cinemas on Friday.
"What really drew me to the project was the emotional turmoil Rudhramadevi went through as a woman. It was so intense. She still ruled with compassion, cared for her people and kingdom more than her own life," Anushka said.
Set against the backdrop of Kakatiya dynasty, the film narrates the rise of the ferocious warrior queen Rudhramadevi.
With limited reference material available on Rudhramadevi and the period in which she ruled, Anushka had to faithfully follow the vision of her director in order to play her part.
"This is Gunasekar's story, so I chose to see it from his point view. I trusted his vision and blindly followed his lead. My character was developed based on research, including discussions with several historians," she said.
"Even though there was very limited information available, what Gunasekar had gathered to write the story, was very impressive," said Anushka, who had to undergo rigorous training program in preparation for her role.
Nearly two months were spent on training.
"I had to learn sword fighting, horse riding and was also required to ride an elephant. We have a lot of scenes on an elephant in the film and through the course of the shoot; I developed a wonderful bond with an elephant called Lakshmi. It was so much fun shooting," she said.
Talking about the making of the film, which is high on visual effects (VFX), Anushka said a lot of effort has gone in to recreating the Kakatiya dynasty.
"We had to rely a lot on VFX. Gunasekar and art director Thota Tharani spent months in Warangal studying the remains of Kakatiya dynasty. Hundreds of sketches were made and that were late recreated with the help of sets and VFX," said the 33-year old actress, who has no time for marriage.
"I'm busy for the next four years. I wish someone can find me a guy. I want to settle down but not soon," she said.
Anushka will next be seen with Suriya in the third part of the ‘Singam’ franchise.
"It always feels nice to be associated with a team you share a great bond with. When we worked for the first time, we never expected the film to be become such a popular franchise, which has now become a brand. So, reuniting with the same team feels special," she said.
She's also excited about Tamil-Telugu bilingual ‘Size Zero’, in which she plays an obese woman.
"I'm really proud of this project. I was so excited when I heard the script; I immediately grabbed the opportunity without even realising that I was required to gain about 20 kg," she said.
In the film, she's paired with Arya, and over the last few months they've been linked together.
Anushka brushed aside the rumour with a laugh.
"It's not just Arya. I'm linked with every actor I've worked with so far. I've stopped taking such rumours seriously," she signed off.