As it happens with most of the imports into the Telugu Film Industry, she modelled for a few brands and acted in a few commercials before setting foot into the industry. She made her debut with ‘Devdas’ and immediately set the ball rolling with her liberal skin show in the movie. In fact, her skin show combined with the music of the movie are attributed as factors for the good performance of the movie.
Then came what was thought to be as a game-changer for her, Pokiri. In fact, it can be said that she was the person who benefited the least from the movie. While the movie paved the way for the superstardom of Mahesh, it got Puri immense recognition from all quarters. She got a few offers and a glimpse into what would be a common pattern in her career; a massive hit followed by a slew of flop movies.
Khatarnak, Munna and Aata followed Pokiri and they did nothing for her other than pegging her back in the pecking order. In between Khatarnak and Munna, there was Rakhi. She performed creditably in the movie, but a lack of screen time in the second half ensured that it won’t be looked back at as fondly as it should’ve been. It was also the first time she was sharing the starring honours with another actress and Charmee, the other actress, managed to run away with the thunder.
This was followed by what can be called as her best phase; two hits in two years within the span of three movies; an unprecedented achievement, which never happened again. Jalsa remains her best performance till date. Not only because of her performance in the movie, but also because she bucked the prevailing ‘bubbly girl’ trend to perform a ‘bumbling girl’ act. For the first time nobody spoke about her in anatomical metaphors. Though she delivered a dud called Bhale Dongalu after Jalsa, she immediately bounced back with Kick, which was Ravi Teja’s show all the way. She did have screen space in the movie but was blazed away by the author backed role that Ravi Teja had.
Kick in a way marked the end of her good time in Telugu Film Industry. It was followed by colossal failures like Saleem, Rechipo, Shakti and Nenu Naa Rakshasi. Though she had the scope to do a well etched character in Nenu Naa Rakshasi, she wasn’t good enough in pantomime to carry the effect of the role.
Julayi gave her a hit and some breathing space, which she immediately threw away with Devudu Chesina Manushulu and that remains her last Telugu film till date. However Ileana continues to be busy in Bollywood with back to back offers.