Chat Having done several films in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam, actor Bhumika Chawla says she feels a warm connect with South India
Actor Bhumika Chawla firmly believes she has a past-life connect to South India. That’s perhaps the reason why she has found her way into Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam films. “I have a fascination for the South. Give me idlis anytime…” she says.
Bhumika says her entry into Telugu films was through a simple audition for the film Yuvakudu (2000) opposite Sumanth.
“It was a fantastic experience. I remember everyone on the sets. By the time I had finished the shoot, I was overcome with emotion at the thought of having to leaving the team,” she says.
But soon she found herself on the sets of Telugu films again. And, again. In fact, she has done 24 Telugu films so far.
Her first Tamil film was Badri with actor Vijay. “He made me so comfortable on the sets. He is easy-going and a superb dancer.” Her second Tamil film Roja Koottam(2002) with Srikanth and director Sasi was a hit.
She talks fondly of her first director Karunakaran. “I call him my guru. He is a Tamilian who directs Telugu films. So, he would begin explaining in English, speak a few Telugu words and then rattle off in Tamil. But he was so animated that one could understand him completely.”
A behind-the-scene incident Bhumika recalls is when she developed cold feet after the first day on the sets of the Telugu film. She had apparently told her mother she felt like quitting, and running away at midnight. Her mother had assured her running away was never an answer to fear.
Bhumika always wished to act in Malayalam films. She had heard about the good scripts, directors and storylines. She got a chance to act in Bhramaram under director Blessy.
“We had very long working days but I never felt tired. It was such a joy to work with Mohanlal and director Blessy. He is a perfectionist.”
Ironically, Bhumika found it difficult to do a Punjabi film after doing many South Indian films. She has seven films in Bollywood to her credit, a Hindi TV show ( Fursat Mein ), TV serial, Hip Hip Hurray , and music videos. Ask her about her experiences in her films with Salman Khan ( Tere Naam, 2003 ) and she recounts particular incident when she was struggling with her dialogue. The lights were fading on the sets, the team was getting impatient and she felt intimidated. Salman, who was sitting at the far end of the hall asked everybody to give her time. And, in the next 10 minutes of hushed silence, she learnt her lines and gave the shot in one go, says Bhumika, calling Salman helpful and generous.
Bhumika says that in the last decade of shuttling between Bollywood and the South, she has found Bollywood turning professional like the South.
Currently, Bhumika is shooting for the Telugu film April Fool , and has a few offers from Tamil too.
The 34-year-old actor loves travelling, is a voracious reader, and does painting. “I am fond of anything creative and I love adventure.”
At this point in her career she wishes to do films from the experimental, parallel cinema genre and gain that experience too.