S. SHIVA KUMAR
Aindrita Ray is the new kid on the block. This Bengali girl brought up in Bangalore, surprised with her performance in MeravanigeI wouldn’t have chosen any other movie for my debut.
She’s the best thing in an otherwise indifferently made film. “Meravanige” has not done too well but Aindrita Ray is like candy to someone who’s bitten a chilli. Audiences have loved her and producers are pursuing her. You are welcomed to her cosy apartment by her menacing looking but docile bulldog, Zorro. Andrita, clad casually makes you feel comfortable with her disarming smile and cheerful chatter. She has pictures taken with Zorro who poses like a pro. She answers in a sort of rehearsed monotone, like she’s said it before and will do so many times in the future.
Are you new to Bangalore?
My dad is a dentist and mom a child psychologist. I’m studying BDS at Ambedkar Dental College. We are Bengalis and settled in Bangalore for the past 19 years. My dad was in the Air Force but took a premature retirement.
I know Mahesh Babu searched far and wide for a girl who fit the role. How did you get it?
I have done some ad campaigns and he loved the one I did for TVS Scooty. He approached my agent in Mumbai who somehow told him that I wasn’t interested in Kannada films. Mahesh was livid because he thought here’s a girl who lives in Bangalore and doesn’t want to work in Kannada films. He then approached me through an agent in Bangalore. I was initially hesitant because I had scant knowledge about Kannada cinema. Mahesh made me watch “Arasu” and I really liked the film.
Did you hire these coordinators just for your ads or were you looking at cinema too?
Initially it was only for ads but I’ve always loved acting. Agents help because as newcomers we are lost. I would meet the people my agent asked me to. I definitely wanted to act in movies.
What do you mean when you say I always loved acting?
Well even as a kid I was good at imitating. I did a bit of theatre while in school.
Do ads help you get camera friendly?
To a certain extent yes… Were your apprehensions about Kannada cinema because of the language?
Not really. I’ve lived here all my life and love the place and the people. It’s just that I hardly watched any South Indian movies. For that matter I’ve hardly watched any Bengali movies either.
Cinema is a totally different ballgame. You looked lost at the muhurath of “Meravanige”.
I was really lost (laughs). I didn’t know what was happening. It made me realise that it’s serious business.
It’s very important especially for heroines to have supportive parents.
My parents are extremely supportive. My dad wanted me to finish dentistry, join the army and become a Captain and then a Colonel.
But they were thrilled when they first watched me on TV and they still are when I appear on TV.
Are you taking a break right now to write your exams?
No. I’m doing three films in Kannada and one in Telugu. My exams are in December so I’ll probably take a month off.
So is it goodbye to dentistry?
No it’s still on but I like to go with the flow of things.
One of the things that made Mahesh choose you was that you suit Prajwal.
He told me that I suited the character. He told me that he saw a lot of girls but had me fixed in his head. He wanted me for the film no matter what. I’m really lucky to have worked with him. He’s fabulous and fun to work with.
Another good thing is that you have as much screen time as Prajwal does.
That’s true. Hhit or a flop I wouldn’t have chosen any other movie for my debut.
How did you feel when you watched your performance?
I’m my worst critic. I didn’t like myself in a lot of scenes but I’ll definitely improve.
Kannada films like Bengali have a limited audience. Are you ready to spread your wings and fly elsewhere?
Language is no bar. I do agree that the audiences are limited which curtails huge spending, but I like the simplicity here.
You won’t be able to read what’s written about you in Kannada.
(Laughs) There were rumours about me and Prajwal. His mom called and told me about it. I laughed because he’s my first hero so imagine how many people I’ll be linked to in ten years.