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Exclusive: Alaya F On Her First Solo Lead ‘U-Turn’, Challenges After The Pandemic, Her Love For Dance & More

During an exclusive interview with Zee English Digital, Alaya F shared her excitement about upcoming thriller 'U-Turn', the challenges she faced after her debut in 2020 and how she overcame the fear of dance.

Exclusive: Alaya F On Her First Solo Lead ‘U-Turn’, Challenges After The Pandemic, Her Love For Dance & More Photo Courtesy : Instagram

New Delhi: After a memorable debut in 2020, Alaya F stepped into the industry as one of the most promising debutants of her time. However, her career was hit by the uncalled for Covid-19 pandemic leading to a 2-year 11-month break which she aptly calls is ‘every debut actor’s nightmare’. Cut to 2023, she is here again at the movies with back-to-back releases and now is all set to entertain us with her first solo lead ‘U-Turn’.  

Directed by Arif Khan, ‘U-Turn’ traces the journey of a journalist Radhika played by Alaya F who is investigating the deaths of people on an under-construction flyover. What follows is a series of police investigations, spooky incidents and murders in which Radhika becomes a prime suspect. How she unravels the mystery behind the deaths with police officer Arjun Bakshi (Priyanshu Painyuli) forms the crux of the story. During an exclusive interview with Zee English Digital, Alaya F talked about her excitement of playing the solo lead in ‘U-Turn’, the novelty in film’s script and how she overcame her fear of dancing.  

Q- ‘U-Turn’ is your first film as a solo lead, so how excited or nervous are you about it? 

Alaya F – I am honestly very excited about it and I am looking forward to everyone seeing it on April 28. It is a very tight film and serves its purpose as a thriller so I think it will really connect with the audiences. These days, content is the king and although it is a solo lead, I feel that the script is also another lead with me. 

Q - ‘U-Turn’ is a remake of the Tamil of the same name with a phenomenal actor like Samantha Ruth Prabhu in the lead. So when films are remade, there’s always a comparison between the two. How do you deal and keep up with that pressure? 

Alaya F– Our film is an adaptation, not a remake so a lot of it is very different than the Tamil film in terms of the twists and turns, the ending and has all the unexpected elements of a thriller. No matter which version anyone has seen or not, it is still going to be very fresh for them. Even if you have seen any version, you are in for a big surprise. For the comparisons, I just try and do my best. If it works then it works, if it doesn’t then you learn and grow. 

Q - Since its a supernatural thriller, so have you ever faced any spooky incident, or do you believe in ghosts? 

Alaya F- Yes I do believe in ghosts and I have had very spooky incidents in my life. When I was living in New York, my apartment was haunted as we could hear footsteps from the floor above but then I realised it wasn’t coming from there.  But I had to spend another six months in that apartment after I got to know about it due to the lease agreement so I was stuck with a ghost for another six months. Even during the shooting of the film, we faced a few spooky incidents. At the climax of the film, we were shooting at an abandoned medical college and lots of creepy things would happen to the crew. So, yes I am a total believer. 

Q- Your debut film Jawaani Jaaneman released in 2020 and right after that there was 2 year pause on everything due to Covid. And we can say that, now is the time when audiences are seeing more of you. So did you feel any pressure of performance or expectations while facing the camera or doing films after a long gap? 

Alaya F – I had 2-year 11-month long gap between my first and second film which is every debut actor’s nightmare. The fear to perform is always there and it keeps you a little scared. In fact, I have this fear that what if one day I wake up and forget how to act. But after the first few scenes I settle in, since I love my work so much. So after that, the fear doesn’t last long. 

Watch the video interview here

Q - You are also passionate about dancing. So does that help you improve acting? 

Alaya F- I am actually terrified of dancing. That’s why you will find me dancing. I thought I could never be a Hindi film actor because I just couldn’t dance. Then my dance teacher taught me the ultimate basic fundamentals of dancing like stretching an arm out. I have this one phrase in life that ‘If I could learn how to dance, then I can do anything’. Acting comes a lot more naturally to me than dance. So dancing has taught me a lot of discipline in life so it is very special to me. 

Q- You have been appreciated for your acting skills in your previous films. So critical appraisal or commercial success, what is more important to you? 

Alaya F – I'd like both. But I don’t think you can have sustainable commercial success without critical acclaim. You can have momentary commercial success but in the long term you need critical acclaim with commercial success to sustain in the industry. 

Q- Any actors you would really want to work with in the industry right now? 

Alaya F (in an excited tone)- Two people with whom I really want to work with are Ranveer Singh and Varun Dhawan. I love their energy and how they are all out all the time. So I would love to work with them. 

Starring Alaya F, Priyanshu Painyuli, Aashim Gulati, Rajesh Sharma in prominent roles, ‘U-Turn’ will release on Zee5 on April 28th 2023. It has been produced by Ektaa Kapoor and Shobha Kapoor under Balaji Telefilms.