After playing the tomboyish daughter of Rajinikanth in Kabali, withing a span of one year, Sai Dhansikha has come a long way. Despite being extremely choosy - she’s only been in 9 films so far - Dhansika now has an impressive line up of 6 films, including her Malayalam debut, thanks to the success of Kabali.
“Kabali has been a game changer for me,” says the actress when speaking to CE. Here’s more from our interview with her:
You’ve been in the industry from 2009, but you’d only done 8 films until Kabali came your way. Since then, within a relatively short time, you’ve got 6 films ready.
Listening to scripts has always been on. Kabali was an unforgettable experience and it’s brought me a lot of opportunities. Compared to my previous years in the industry, more directors are approaching me.
Can you tell us a bit about some of your upcoming films?
Uru is a psychological thriller with a great script. It’s directed by Kaathadi director Kalyan’s assistant Vicky Anand. The film is shot in Kodaikanal and for a particular sequence, we shot at 4 degrees in a full rain effect throughout the night in a pine forest surrounded by wild buffaloes. I’ve been told not to reveal more than this (chuckles).
In Kaathadi, I play a cop. It’s a comedy film and the director S Kalyan is a very jovial person. His approach to comedy is different. Kaathadi is also a road film. The first half is full of fun and frolic, but midway through the tone changes to seriousness and sentiment. I’ve seen the film and it’s come out very well. I’ve also tried my hand at comedy in Vizhithiru, where I play a simple, bubbly girl. I shot with Thambi Ramaiah sir and Vidharth for this one.
Be it Peranmai, Kabali or Kaalakkoothu, you seem to be very comfortable with multi-starrers.
It’s never been a conscious move to opt for or stay away from multi-starrers. Whenever I listen to a script, if I like the character, I’ll go ahead with it. The role is, of course, important but I try not to be too selfiesh (laughs). The script is of utmost importance.
You’ve done three films with Kalaiyarasan. Is it fair to say you have a good rapport with him?
(smiles) That’s the best part. We don’t even talk to each other that much. Only after Kabali did we start talking to each other in a proper manner. Even recently, during Kaalakkoothu, I’ll be in my zone and so will he.
Your role in Kaalakkoothu seems to be completely different from Kabali’s Yogi
Yes, I play a Madurai-based college girl who’s a childhood friend of Kalaiyarasan in the film. Kaalakkoothu is actually based on true incidents that happened in Madurai.
Despite being a leading actress, you opted to play a mother in Enga Amma Rani
Samuthirakani sir recommended the script to me. His assistant Bani has directed it. He also hesitated when approaching me with a mother role. But when I heard script, the climax left me speechless, it was so powerful. I just knew I had to do the film. It’s about a mother living in Malaysia with her two daughters whose husband lives elsewhere. The problems she faces and how she overcomes it is the story.
You seem to be too inclined towards women-centric roles
Yes, right from Peranmai, I was keen on giving importance to women-centric roles. I prefer characters that are strong and independent. Even in Aravaan, I play a character who stands by her decision even though her entire clan is against it. In Paradesi too, I love my character.
What’s the status of your film with Samuthirakani?
The film Kitna is on hold right now. While I was going to start with it, Kabali offer came by and Samuthirakani sir left me to get done with it. I’m definitely doing it as I know it’ll be one of my best films. With a nativity theme, the film will talk about how Tamilians were. The film will be a journey with a lot of variations.
How is your Malayalam debut shaping up?
Solo is a Tamil and Malayalam bilingual and it stars Dulquer Salmaan under Bejoy Nambiar’s direction. It’s just been two days and I will reveal more details on it soon.
When heroines make a transition from short films to feature films....
(Smiles) yes, I’ve done a short film called Sinam. For me if the content is good, I’ll do it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a short film or feature film. For those who’ll see it, it’ll be quite an experience. My role will be that of a rebellious woman. Anand Murthy who worked as an associate for Paradesi has directed this short film. There’s a 11 minutes sequence that’s captured as a single shot and we managed to pull it off in a single take. Sinam is going to be screened in film festivals.
You also seem to be keen on doing action sequences.
Before getting into films, I was into athletics during my school days. Director SP Jananathan sir was impressed with my athletic looks and that’s what got me a role in Peranmai. Despite not having a fight sequence in Aravaan, it helped me to get into the character. In Kabali the action sequences were fun to do.
Your future projects?
I’ve got Vallujada which is a Tamil-Telugu bilingual. The Tamil title is yet to be revealed. Anbariv and Praveen KL who handled the stunts and editing in Kabali are a part of this project too. It’s also a women-centric film that’s about what all a woman is capable of doing.
It’s a huge project and Gautham Menon’s associate Ramana is directing this film which is almost half way through. I’m also doing a Kannada Telugu bilingual titled Udgarsha that’s directed by Sunil Kumar Desai and stars Si 3 villain Thakur Anoop Singh in the lead role. Vizhithiru, Kaathadi, Kaalakoothu and Uru will hit the screens one after the other in the next few months.