I never imagined I’d be a part of something so grand, says Sharanamma

She portrays the titular role in Jaishankar Aryar’s directorial, 'Shivamma', produced by Rishab Shetty Films which is hitting theatres this week

In a remote village tucked away from the hustle and bustle of city life, a remarkable story unfolds. Sharanamma, a name unknown to many until recently, was discovered by none other than director Jaishankar Aryar in the quaint village of Yarechanchinala, to headline the story. Today, she graces the silver screen under the spotlight as Shivamma, a name and film that is billed to resonate with audiences far and wide, currently gearing up to hit theatres on June 14.

Reflecting on her newfound fame, Sharanamma shares, "Being spotted by Jaishankar was unexpected. I never imagined I'd be a part of something so grand." Shivamma, produced by Rishab Shetty, has made its way around the film festival circuits and has garnered international acclaim. As the release date approaches, the audience is eager to witness the performance of a commoner who is new to acting.

When asked about her relationship with cinema, Sharanamma reminisces, "Cinema brings back memories of actors Rajkumar and Vishnuvardhan, whose movies I have often rewatched on television. Classics like Anna Thangi, Tavarina Thotilu, and Tavarige Ba Thottilu, hold a special place in my heart. Drama shows like Devi Purana, Doddaatta, and Harikathe among others are enjoyed by the people of our village. Those are the shows that ensured our evenings were filled with excitement and laughter."

A still from the film
A still from the film

Recalling her first experience facing the camera for Shivamma, Sharanamma admits, "There were mixed feelings at first, surrounded by so many people and bright lights. But I soon found my rhythm and began to enjoy the process." Shivamma further shares, "The idea of facing the camera wasn't something I readily embraced. I recall hearing about legendary actors and their acting methods. I learnt not to face the camera directly and rather just be natural," she says.

Jaishankar Aryar's directorial revolves around a 46-year-old Shivamma, a mid-day meal cook, who supports her family as the sole provider. Amidst preparing for her daughter's wedding, she manages her household affairs. Beyond her cooking duties, Shivamma sells Nuracle energy drinks, relying on its multilevel marketing model. Living in a poverty-stricken area with a bedridden husband and a troubled son, Nuracle's motto, "I will do it!", inspires her drive to secure her family's future. Despite her limited education and resources, how Shivamma perseveres to care for her family forms the crux of the film.

Sharanamma contrasts the support she received in her village with the indifference she encountered elsewhere, as the film travelled around the world across film festivals. "Though the film journeyed across the globe, it's the warmth and encouragement of my people that I cherish the most," she explains. "Unlike city people who appreciate and thank me for my act, here in the village, there's a lack of understanding and acknowledgement about acting, actors and films. They criticise and gossip, but I remain undeterred," she says.

Looking ahead, Shivamma remains resolute in her determination to seize any opportunities that come her way. "I don't see facing the camera as a mistake," she affirms. "If offers arise, I'll embrace them wholeheartedly. In a life where I earn a meagre 400 rupees from dawn till dusk, stepping into the world of cinema offers a different path—one I'm eager to explore," she signs off.

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The New Indian Express