This actress made heads turn with her role in Kirik Party, released on December 30 last year. Rashmika Mandanna has since been known as Saanvi to most people in Karnataka. The actress recalls her early days, “I was just starting out and was surprised when recognition came so early in life. This is the best life has given me. I don’t have words to express the happiness, and I just want to bask in it for now.” The actress has a couple of releases to end the year. As Rashmika’s second film Anjaniputra inches closer to its release date, City Express has a long conversation with her about her career, association with Puneeth Rajkumar and director Harsha, Rakshit Shetty and life. Excerpts:
‘With fame comes expectations’
She says that she was completely unprepared for the fame that came her way. “The audience accepted my raw attempt, and I can’t be more thankful for it,” she says. There was no looking back and she began to enjoy her stint in Sandalwood, even while getting a taste of Tollywood with various interesting projects. Is she enjoying the work? “Fame raises expectations, I have to be more responsible with my career. More than enjoying it, I work harder and take time to choose my projects,” she says.
’Sets of Anjaniputra was so much fun’
Basking in the success of her debut, she started work on Anjaniputra, a film directed by A Harsha, in which she was paired opposite one of Sandalwood’s superstar Puneeth Rajkumar. “I still remember the muhurath shot of Anjaniputra, in which I had to drive in. I am still in a trance everytime I recall every shot I wss been a part of. All these memories are fresh in my mind. Every time I see a trailer or a song from Anjaniputra, I recall the shoot. I tell my mom how much fun it was, and how they let me be myself. They are big stars and I behaved like I had been around forever, and not like a newcomer, and they let me be.”
Every cinema has a drastic change and makes me feel that I am living so many lives in one life. Rashmika agrees that there is a “strategy” when it comes to commercial films, whether it is in Kannada, Telugu or Tamil, with fights, songs, hero-meeting-heroine, romance and a happy or sad ending. “But work on each is different, for the memories we carry from the sets. Though every commercial films may seem similar, they re new to me and there is always something to learn. With every cinema, I feel like I am living a new life,” she says.
‘Puneeth might carry out aura of a star, but at heart, he is a regular person’
Working with a star like Puneeth Rajkumar, she says that he behaves like a regular person. “I do not think I can behave like a star, even for a day. It is one thing I learnt from Puneeth sir, he might carry the aura of a star, but in his heart, he is just a regular person. I got a perspective on life after I met him, that stars are no different from us. I am happy to have known him better. I would have believed him to be uptight, if I hadn’t met him,” she says.
Harsha is a committed director
She says that she misses director Harsha, for all the care he used to shower on her. “He used to take care of me like a little child. I troubled him a lot… I admire him for his commitment. He does his work well and gets the work done,” she says.
And the real game begins now...
After a blockbuster hit like Kirik Party, Rashmika waits to see if the audience will accept her in her role in Anjaniputra. “Well the first movie becomes a hit, you don’t know what to make of it. I had come into this industry with no expectations, though deep in my heart I did want my movie do well. I am generally very scared whether the audience would reject me. Everybody accept me as Saanvi in Kirik Party, but what if they see a different Rashmika in Anjaniputra. The real game starts now...,” she says.
Watch Anjaniputra trailer here:
Balancing work and relationship
Rashmika thrives under pressure, especially at work. She says that without working for a day, she feels like she is wasting her time. “I have been told that I am young and should take it easy, but I can’t laze around, watch movies and spend time with friends… I am not that person,” she says. About working life and relationship, she says both run parallely. “Rakshit and I are doing well professionally and I am glad about it,” she says. “I feel like a complete women. Rakshit is always there to help me with work and we love discussing about it, and it keeps us occupied. We feel like we are not wasting our lives.” She says that she would get involved in production work, but “it is too early to handle such big responsibilities”. She adds, “I am still learning and am curious to know more about filmmaking and all its aspects.”