“I am enjoying in a magical garden where the trees are like 100-years-old and the stand is so ethereal,” texts actor Amala Akkineni as we reach out to her post the launch of the ZEE5 Original web series High Priestess, her first foray into the digital platform. The picturesque beachside town Setubal in Portugal is where Amala has parked herself at the moment, what with her husband Nagarjuna shooting there.
Meanwhile, family and friends back home have been given the task to watch High Priestess. “My schoolmates binge watched and loved it. Friends are watching an episode at a time to savour it. Since I am in Portugal, I am getting my mom to watch it in Hindi today and my dad and step mom will be watching in Hindi as well,” says Amala, sounding happy.
Even as Amala enjoys her vacay, we got you edited excerpts from the second and the last part of our interview with her. Read on:
Q. What’s your most memorable moment from the show?
A. You’ll have to watch the show and let me know! However, one really memorable thing about the series and shooting in Chennai though is that a dear friend had lost her loved one a month before the shoot and had asked me to visit her. Due to the shoot, I could not promise anything. Then I discovered the shoot location was right next door to her house. Had I stayed at a hotel, I would have had to drive an hour to the location every day. So, I stayed with her and we had the most memorable time – having our morning coffee together with meaningful conversations, having dinner together, sharing how our day had passed. Thank you to my dear friend Padma, for taking such good care of me. The world is a better place thanks to friendship.
Q. You joined Twitter on April 6. Will we see you more on social media now?
A. Yes, I am discovering these new platforms and finding a new voice and presence. I intend to be around and have a positive influence.
Q. How was the experience of working for a web series? How is it different from doing a film?
A. Working for a web series is no different than working for a film, and much more comfortable than working for television. The work is as serious and as strenuous as one can imagine. However, the detailing in scenes and the screen time allocation is much more. Web series’ require a much higher quality of making if they are to capture an audience which has a wide variety of entertainment to choose from. Plus, the creative content needs to hold interest, have purpose and engaging characters.
Q. What is the character of Swathy Reddy like?
A. Swathy Reddy is a psychic and a tarot card reader. She is a strong, single parent, a professional independent woman in every way.
Q. How did your bonding with your friend and director Pushpa help you with the preparation for your character?
A. Immensely. The comfort to discuss, argue, push and pull with your team is so very important to get the best. When you have the comfort zone, it resolves the tension quickly and you don’t carry stress home or into the next day. You also hold the respect and concern you have in friendship and that was her primary concern – she really took good care of me and so did the producer.
Q. How did your family react to you doing a series on an OTT platform?
A. I have been doing interesting projects on and off. I played a role in Kabir Khan’s upcoming series The Forgotten Army. My family was happy for me. We are all excited about this new platform.
Q. Which is the one show/ movie that you binge watch with family?
A. I think it is Game of Thrones. But we rarely binge. Nag (husband Nagarjuna) and I are early risers and we have very hectic and demanding days. So, it’s always one or maximum two episodes. There is always tomorrow is what we believe! And life has much in store, so go live it!
Q. What do you want your viewers and fans to take away from High Priestess?
A. They can expect an interesting and gripping story. They may feel more confident to face fear and trauma. They will have tears and laughter through the journey.
Watch High Priestess and more such original series’ only on ZEE5.