Juggling between the arts

Last year Nikhil Manjoo’s Reservation, created ripples not just at BIFFes 2018 but also across the state for its powerful portrayal, narration and acting.

The film also won the National Award. One actor, who stood out in the film was Manasi Sudhir, the lady who plays the protagonist’s plotting and scheming wife. The tall and slender actor’s husky voice made her character even more intriguing.

Juggling between the arts

Now this pretty lady is back in the news for playing the lead in Manjoo’s film Ammana Mane which has Raghavendra Rajkumar in the lead role. Manasi portrays a powerful character in the film.

“I am comfortable playing roles that need me to look natural,” says Manasi, with her face bereft of make-up. In the film and TV industry for years, Manasi who was born and brought up in Udupi, says she was drawn to music, dance and acting.

Juggling between the arts

“My father was into literature, and encouraged me to take to performing arts alongside my studies.”

Soon, she was a trained artiste, giving Carnatic vocal concerts and performing Bharatanatya.

“Films happened by accident. Jayant Kaikini is my father’s friend and I was asked to sing at a programme where he was present in Mangaluru.

He suggested that I act in a film as he felt I had an expressive face and voice.” Manasi now runs a dance school, Nrityaniketana Kodavoor, with her husband, Sudhir Rao Kodavoor, an eminent Bharatnatya and Yakshagana artiste.

She had to give up singing “professionally due to a tiny accident where my vocal chords were damaged,” reveals the actor, who has many umpteen concerts to her credit nationally and internationally. She was also offered a Kannada film with the acclaimed director Sunil Kumar Desai — Ramya Chaitrakala. “It was a small part, which I accepted out of sheer curiosity. Once Desai saw me act, he immediately offered me the role of the second lead in the film.”

Juggling between the arts

The other Kannada films Manasi has worked in are Shankara Punyakoti and Banaadi.

The latter won the State Award as the best children’s film. She has also acted in a Tulu film Kancheelda Bale which won accolades. The actor kept herself busy with television serials, most of them mythological — Mahabharata, Seethe, Guru Raghavendra Vaibhava, apart from dramas such as Preeti Emba Maaye and Anthapura.

Juggling between the arts

Another thing that makes Manasi smile today is her short film — Neralu. Produced by Paramvah Studios, the film has Manasi play the lead.

“This film has been selected as the Winner at the Bangalore International Short Film Festival (BISFF),” she beams.

Now she looks forward to the release of one of the most talked about films — Ammana Mane. “Nikhil offered me this role after we worked in Reservation. I was apprehensive as I am a little worried about my voice, but he felt I would suit the character. I play Raghavendra Rajkumar’s wife.”

“ This is like a dream role for me. I had seen Raganna on TV and films and had never met him in person. Working with him has been a big treat. Initially, I was terrified of sharing the screen with him, but he is so gentle and put me at ease on the very first day.”

Manasi is also full of praise for the director of the film.

Juggling between the arts

“He is clear about what he wants, how he wants to build every character and makes it easy for an artiste to perform on the screen.”

Manasi looks forward to working in “offbeat films as every characters is powerful and there is ample scope as a performer.”

When not acting, the actor is content travelling with her dance troupe and presenting her choreographies across the globe.

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 9:28:53 PM |

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