Anu Emmanuel has done four films in two years. She is in no hurry and is relishing every moment of her journey. She’s worked with powerstar Pawan Kalyan and now she’s awaiting the release of Naa Peru Surya — Naa Illu India starring Allu Arjun. Both are mega heroes and the actress is all praise for them. “It’s an honour to work with Pawan Kalyan and Allu Arjun so early on in my career. Arjun is someone who inspires you a lot with his passion for cinema. There are a lot of things that you can learn from him. He is someone who always wants to give his best. If you see his makeover in the film like his haircut, eyebrow cut and body language — all were his ideas.”

Recalling an incident on the sets of Naa Peru…, she adds, “We were doing an important scene in the film and then, Arjun said even if you have a small appearance in a sequence.. you should try to register yourself. For example…if you have to open the door and sit on the sofa….you should take time, say the dialogue and perform. If you do that…you can make an impact. Initially, I didn’t understand his words but when I started practising that, it has enhanced my performance. Working with such stars would be an impetus for me to do more good work.”

She plays a college goer in the film that touches upon many aspects including patriotism, drama, emotions, love and also has a social message. “I play Varsha, a fine arts student. My role didn’t require any preparation as she looks simple, cool and is not complicated at all. Her scenes with Surya add more weight to her character,” says Anu, who finds a few similarities of her with the role she enacts in the film.

Anu has to perform some high octane dance movements for Naa Peru… alongside Allu Arjun, who is considered one of the best dancers in Tollywood. Sharing her experience, she explains, “Dancing with Allu Arjun was the biggest challenge. You have to be really good to match up to his energy and his flexibility is amazing. Until now, I haven’t got an opportunity to exhibit my dancing talent in any of films. I was actually nervous to shoot for the mass number Iraga…iraga…But, our choreographer Prem Rakshit didn’t give me complex movements. I feel standing next to Allu Arjun was itself nervous on the dance floor.”

The actress’s last outing Agnyaathavaasi failed miserably at the box office. Expressing her disappointment over the debacle of the film, Anu said that she expected the film to do well as it has a great combination of Pawan Kalyan and Trivikram Srinivas but then it happens. “I was disheartened that Agnyaathavaasi didn’t do well. I had high expectations on the film owing to the names involved in it. Things like this happen. One day… you have a hit and the other day…you have a flop. The game changes every Friday. Just because Trivikram has had many hits, doesn’t mean he has a flop. One must understand that nobody is perfect.”

Anu’s performance in the Pawan Kalyan-starrer has almost been universally panned by mainstream media but the actress didn’t find it below-the-belt. “It’s a director’s call and I don’t have any control over that. When I watched the film, I never felt like that. It’s a commercial film and it’s like that. There was me and Keerthy (Suresh) in the film and I remember people saying similar things to her too. I don’t take these things to my heart. When I sign a film, I really wish it to do well. If the film doesn’t do well, then, you don’t do well. No matter how well you perform, if the film doesn’t work at the box-office, it doesn’t matter to anyone. But, I’m optimistic that a day will come for me too.”

Ask her what was her criteria for choosing her films and she says, “I choose my projects based on the script, (star) combination and my impact on the film. I haven’t been in the industry for so long. So, I took up films which will work for me at this phase. Once I make a mark in the industry, I will start working with newcomers and little-known names. For now, I’m looking for something that has a tick mark on everything. Having worked with big stars has been a bonus at the moment.”

Anu has confessed to making several mistakes earlier in her career, but she thinks they have all been part of the maturation process. “Five years from now, the mistakes I have made are going to make me the person I’m then. If you don’t go through failures, you will never understand success. I don’t mind having failures. Even if a film of mine fails tomorrow, I know that I will bounce back and will have a good day. As a human being, it’s true that a failure upsets and affects you. As for Naa Peru Surya, I have a strong instinct that it will be a blockbuster.”

For someone raised in the US (Chicago), it is not easy to step in a relatively new industry and win some recognition. Ask her the challenges she encountered on her journey and Anu shares, “I came to Hyderabad for Oxygen in 2016. I never left Hyderabad since then. This city has become my home now. I fell in love with this city and the people. Like any other non-Telugu speaking actress, the challenges were common with language, picking up my dialogues, etc. Until now, I didn’t have any problem in the industry and I would say Telugu cinema is the best.”