Shruti raps in Tamil for new film

Actress Shruti Haasan (centre) was here for the relaunch of Indian jewellery shop Ishtara.
Actress Shruti Haasan (centre) was here for the relaunch of Indian jewellery shop Ishtara.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Shruti Haasan, who acts in Tamil, Hindi and Telugu films, raps in a song from her film Vedalam

In the upcoming Tamil film Vedalam (Phantom), actress and singer Shruti Haasan breaks out of her comfort zone and raps on the song Don't You Mess With Me.

The 29-year-old tells Life that she does not listen to rap or hip-hop, and gravitates towards singing ballads and rock songs.

"But music director Anirudh Ravichander, who's a dear friend of mine, convinced me to try it out, so hopefully people like it," she says.

She was in Singapore for the relaunch of home-grown jewellery brand Indian Jewellers as Ishtara.

The film, in which she plays the love interest of 44-year-old Ajith Kumar, is set for an as yet unconfirmed release date next month, timed to coincide with Deepavali.

While the film's trailer has not been released, all five songs from the movie have been released as videos.

A day after it was released by Sony Music India last Thursday, the video for Don't You Mess With Me, in which Haasan warns a male suitor not to play with her feelings, was trending on Twitter in India.

However, the song has drawn mixed reviews from critics and fans, garnering only about 150,000 views on YouTube.

During the jewellery store opening, Haasan, who has a distinctively gravelly voice and modelesque features, treated fans to two lines from the song when prompted, drawing screams from the crowd of about 200.

This is not the first time the actress has lent her singing voice to films she starred in. She is a frequent collaborator in the studio as well as on the film set, last singing in the Tamil fantasy film Puli (Tiger), in which she also had a supporting role.

Haasan, who is single, is the daughter of South Indian superstar Kamal Haasan and North Indian actress Sarika Thakur, and made her feature film debut in a minor role, playing the daughter of Vallabhbhai Patel in Hey Ram (2000), which her father directed and starred in.

Her first major role was in the Hindi film Luck (2009) at the age of 23, playing a supporting role alongside Sanjay Dutt and Imran Khan.

She then made her Telugu debut in the film Anaganaga O Dheerudu (2011), for which she won the Filmfare award for the best female debut performance.

She has since straddled all three Indian film industries - namely Tamil, Hindi and Telugu - but she considers her success in the Telugu industry the most gratifying.

"For me, Telugu is a big achievement because I grew up speaking Hindi and Tamil. To be a part of that industry is exciting," she says.

Even though she carries a famous family name, Haasan says she does not feel extra pressure to perform or deliver box-office hits.

"I think life gives you enough pressure to perform," she says, adding that her father has been "really encouraging" of her career.

"The family name of Haasan makes me very proud. I want to take the name forward. "

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2015, with the headline 'Shruti raps in Tamil for new film'. Print Edition | Subscribe