Celebrated South Indian actress Anushka Shetty has donated her talents to TeachAIDS once again, voicing the female doctor in the upcoming Tamil language version of the animated software. She will be starring across from Shruti Haasan, reprising the role she played as the female doctor in the Telugu language version. Shetty’s tremendous cross-cultural appeal and credibility among youth across multiple Indian markets makes her a model communicator for issues of human health.
Shetty began her acting career in Telugu cinema in 2005 with the film Super alongside another TeachAIDS cultural icon, Nagarjuna. She entered Tamil cinema the following year with the film Rendu. Since then, her career has flourished. In 2009, she played the title character in the blockbuster hit Arundhati, for which she won several accolades including the Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Telugu, the Nandi Special Jury Award, and the CineMAA Award for Best Actress (Jury). She has gone on to win Best Actress awards for her roles in films such as Vettaikaaran, Vedham, Deiva Thirumagal, and Dhamarukam.
One of her most recent successes is Singam II, a sequel to the 2010 film Singam, where she returns to her role across from Suriya, another TeachAIDS icon. Both films have been huge box office success, making Shetty a mainstay in the Tamil film industry. She is currently working on two epic bilingual films, Rudhramadevi and Baahubali, which are being filmed concurrently in both Telugu and Tamil. Shetty has become a beloved public figure, recognized with the Kalaimamani Award from the Tamil Nadu state government. With her fame and success, Shetty also endorses a number of well-known brands in India, including Head and Shoulders, MBS Jewelers, and Colgate. Her successes bring trust and respect to her role as a doctor in the TeachAIDS animations.
Shetty has been a key player with TeachAIDS since 2009. Her Telugu language version of the TeachAIDS animated software was launched in Andhra Pradesh (event pictures), with the state government distributing 25,000 copies into schools, NGOs, and counseling centers. It has also been shown on TV multiple times in commemoration of World AIDS Day (December 1st). Similar to the Andhra Pradesh state government, the Tamil Nadu state government has made an equally commendable commitment to distribute the Tamil language version of the TeachAIDS materials to multiple sectors across its state of 72 million people.
At the launch event in Andhra Pradesh, Shetty gave a moving speech about why she chose to be involved with TeachAIDS. She shared about how she first learned about HIV and AIDS in college, during which time the subject was very taboo as no one spoke openly about sex or sexually transmitted infections. She initially feared touching or sharing meals with HIV-positive individuals because of the limited knowledge she had about how HIV was transmitted. Shetty reflected on the ignorance surrounding HIV and AIDS at the time, saying, “There is no one to blame. All we can do is move forward,” and that “We should have a mass education system where 60 year olds and 2 year olds learn together.” In hopes of curbing ignorance and promoting greater tolerance levels, Shetty has joined the TeachAIDS team. “The TeachAIDS animations are extremely effective in educating people of all ages about HIV, as they are both entertaining and accessible. I have witnessed young people watching the animations and they love them! They are a perfect balance between science and entertainment.”
In India, language matters. With the development of each new language version, this critical information will reach many more millions. TeachAIDS is delighted to have Anushka Shetty’s unwavering support. Her tremendous passion combined with her great talents are certain to breathe life into the animated character of the female doctor in the new Tamil language version, just as she did with the Telugu version.
Photo: Actress Anushka Shetty returns to Annapurna Studios in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh to shoot the behind-the-scenes "making of" the TeachAIDS animations.