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Updated: February 16, 2012 21:02 IST

Stepping into the big league

Saraswathy Nagarajan
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IN FINE FETTLE: Rima Kallingal Photo: Thulasi Kakkat
The Hindu IN FINE FETTLE: Rima Kallingal Photo: Thulasi Kakkat

Patience has helped Rima Kallingal get some plum roles in Malayalam cinema. She plays the female lead in ‘Nidra,' which is releasing next week.

Rima Kallingal wears her attitude. She represents a new class of confident actors who believe in candid speak and shun pretensions. They enjoy experimenting on screen and prefer waiting for the right roles to going on a signing spree. Patience and perseverance have helped Rima land some plum roles in 2012.

It helped that Malayalam cinema was going through a creative high in 2011 when several young filmmakers and some veterans infused new life into Mollywood by turning their backs on weary narratives and hackneyed themes that were dominating Malayalam cinema for some time. Youngsters like Rima reaped the benefits of this churning by winning roles that broke the mould of the teary and naïve village belles of the silver screen.

Although Rima made her screen debut as the heroine, Varsha John, in Shyamaprasad's ‘Ritu,' she had to wait for some time before she landed the role of the country girl Shaarathe Ammini in Lal Jose's ‘Neelathamara.' Moreover, unlike several heroines, Rima got lucky and was able to dub for all her characters in Malayalam despite having a distinctive voice.

Interesting characters

Even in the matter of roles, Rima has been fortunate to land some interesting characters to enact. “However, after I did ‘Happy Husbands' and ‘Best of Luck' I got a slew of roles that cast me as the other woman or as a vamp. Not that I have any problem about doing such characters. But I did not want to be slotted into a certain kind of role and so I had to wait for some time before I signed my next film,'' says Rima.

She says that though some of the characters she enacted were not all that significant, she did it for the learning experience of working with veteran directors. “My characters in T.V. Chandran sir's ‘ Shankaranum Mohanum,' Ranjith sir's ‘Indian Rupee,' and Joshiy sir's ‘Sevenes' were not central characters. But I saw it as a good opportunity to work with three of the leading filmmakers in Malayalam,” admits Rima.

She adds that although she had high hopes for ‘City of God' (directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery) and ‘Orkut Oru Ormakootu,' “not many people saw those characters, though they were quite different from the run-of-the-mill roles.”

Forthcoming roles

However she is confident that her characters in two forthcoming movies “cannot go unnoticed.” Rima will soon be seen in the remake of ‘Nidra,' reprising the iconic role of Aswathy played by Shanti Krishna in the original directed by the late auteur Bharathan. The movie has been given a contemporary setting by Bharathan's son, Siddarth, who directs the film and plays the male lead in the film. Rima says she has not seen the earlier version as Siddarth was keen that she interpret the role in her own way and not get influenced by the older version. “This is my take of a modern, educated young woman who happens to be staying in a small town and is caught in circumstances beyond her control,” says Rima, during an interview over the phone while she was travelling from Kottayam after a stint for Aashiq Abu's latest film ‘22 Female Kottayam.'

Rima's enthusiasm about her character in Aashiq's film is obvious when she talks about it. “My character, Tessa Abraham, is a native of Kottayam who goes to Bangalore to study nursing. While there, she meets an agent for a visa and from then on life takes a completely different turn. Fahadh Faasil is the hero of the film. I have a very different look in this movie,” says Rima, with a throaty laugh. For the first time since she stepped into tinsel town, Rima has straightened her curly locks to play Tessa.

And what about the dancer in her who wowed viewers of television when she participated in a reality show for dancers. “The dancer in me is very much alive and kicking, but now I am concentrating on films,” she says.

Keywords: Rima KallingalNidra

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