Rima Kallingal dons a new role, this time on reality television
Rima Kallingal is the picture of poise in a crisp white sari and thick-rimmed glasses. In between shots, she paces up and down the set, surveying the scene. Playing Mahalakshmi, a stern Municipal Secretary in Kamath and Kamath, the shooting of which is progressing in Kochi, she looks every bit the part. However, Rima snaps back to her usual warm self in a jiffy. “It is sort of a serious role. But let us face it. Ultimately the film is a comedy,” she says.
Ever since her first film, Ritu in 2009, Rima’s reel life has taken an interesting course—from the demure Ammini in Neelathamara to the revolutionary role in 22 Female Kottayam. She will soon be seen as the face of a reality show on Mazhavil Manorama. “I’m entering a whole new domain now,” she says. “For me, the Miss Kerala platform proved to be an important milestone,” says the articulate actor, who was the first runner up in the beauty pageant in 2008. “Midukki is along similar lines. But it isn’t only about fashion and glamour. It is for the woman of today. The qualities she needs to possess. The vivaciousness, the street smartness that is essential to survive,” she says. Rima believes it is still a male-dominated world and a show such as this would provide an ideal platform for many of young girls to discover their identity.
As brand ambassador of the show, she would be involved with television for about six months. “But that would be it. I will not do TV again,” says Rima, who chooses her roles carefully. “I do only one movie at a time. I am not that great an actor to do several roles simultaneously,” she says.
Rima insists on dubbing for herself. “Only if the director feels that my voice wouldn’t match the character’s, it is dubbed,” she says, careful to point out that she is not discrediting the huge body of work done by Malayalam cinema’s dubbing artistes. “Except Nidra, I have dubbed for all my films.”
It is not just the actor or the director that defines the success of a film, she believes. “It is about the team and I have been lucky enough to work with the right kind of team that experiments with scripts and the treatment,” she says. Glad not to be typecast, Rima says the only regret perhaps is that her roles have not covered the most important aspect of her personality—her dance. “It is strange that I have not been offered a role which focuses on dance. I do sometimes drop hints to my directors that I am a trained dancer,” Rima says, laughing. Dance is still a vital part of her life and rehearsals are routine. “Oh! How I love the stage,” she sighs. Rima does about five to six shows a year. Rima is trained in martial arts (Kalari) too and wouldn’t mind doing an all-out action flick. “I really do not know about a role like that, for even today, there are very few roles written for the woman.”
Rima ensures she finds time for herself even in the middle of hectic schedules. Travelling is high on the agenda and catching up with old friends, too. But on the social network, she has become quieter. “I guess my bold image on screen has become a disadvantage. People start branding you for the roles you do and that is unfair. I am an artist,” she says.
What is her favourite film? One that she loves watching over and over again? “Kannezhuthi Pottumthottu, she says, without batting an eyelid. A tad too deep? “Oh yes. I am not a candy floss person at all,” she signs off.