Over the years, stories in Telugu cinema have inevitably revolved around male characters. In such a hugely male-dominated industry, Anushka Shetty has made a mark for herself with her convincing portrayal of diverse characters. Be that of a bubbly girl, an independent woman, a mythical figure or even a complex one, Anushka has regaled audiences with her powerful performances. As the gorgeous and versatile Anushka celebrates her birthday on November 7, we look back at some of her landmark performances.
One of the early highlights of Anushka’s career, Vikramarkudu was a commercial blockbuster. It established her credentials as a glamour queen. She looked ravishing as Neeraja. Anushka evoked mass hysteria when she daintily grooved to ‘Jum Jum Maaya’. Having made all the right moves in Vikramarkudu, she became a ‘mass queen'.
This was a landmark movie not only for Anushka but also for the Telugu film industry. A horror movie with a woman protagonist was unheard of in Telugu cinema. Arundhati was more than a horror film; it was a fantasy period drama that was dark and intense. Anushka excelled in the dual role of a princess and her re-incarnation three generations later. The movie dispelled the notion that Anushka could only essay the part of the glamorous lass.
Vedam was a path-breaking movie. This film belonged to the hyperlink cinema genre; something which was not explored before in Telugu cinema. Anushka essays the role of a prostitute desperate to start her own ‘enterprise’ in the flesh trade. She injects her character with the right dose of sensuousness and ruthless ambition. A heady mix of oomph and intensity!
After Arundhati, Anushka once again essayed the role of a princess. This time, she played the titular character in the magnum opus, Rudhramadevi. She was magnificent in this fictional account of the 13th-century prominent ruler from the Kakatiya dynasty. Anushka looked smashing hot in the song sequences and tough-as-nails in the war ones. Yet again, she proved that she could carry a movie on her slender shoulders.
There is something about Anushka and period dramas! Yet again, she comes up with a magnificent performance in a historical drama. Anushka manages to hold her own despite the movie having an ensemble cast. As Devasena, Anushka advances from playing a beautiful young princess to an imprisoned queen and later to a distraught mother. She plays each phase of the character’s life with equal elan. After Baahubali’s mammoth success, Anushka’s presence in a Telugu period drama is almost mandatory!
Trust Anushka to come up trumps while essaying a character with complex hues. In this horror fantasy, she plays an accused government officer who later gets possessed by a demonic spirit. One of her finest performances, Bhaagamathie is an Anushka show all the way. She depicts helplessness and invincibility with equal conviction. Anushka’s screen presence and dialogue delivery add to the intrigue of the proceedings. As the possessed woman, her performance is bound to give you goosebumps. Another masterclass from the amazing Anushka!