Interview | Movies

‘Dear Comrade’ actor Rashmika Mandanna on Thalapathy 64: ‘I want to do the Vijay film’

Rashmika Mandanna

Rashmika Mandanna   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

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The ‘Geetha Govindam’ star discusses learning to play cricket for ‘Dear Comrade’, which releasees on July 26, and her rumoured flick with Tamil actor Vijay

She is yet to make her debut in the Tamil film industry. But the buzz around star-in-the-making, Rashmika Mandanna, is already high among movie buffs ever since it was rumoured that she could be paired opposite actor Vijay in a film directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj of Maanagaram fame; currently dubbed Thalapathy 64. However, it will be the Karthi-starrer by Bakkiyaraj Kannan, Sultan, which will mark her debut in Tamil cinema.

In her early twenties, Rashmika, who hails from Kodagu, Karnataka, is currently promoting her upcoming Telugu film, Dear Comrade, where her co-star is Vijay Deverakonda. We caught up with her for a quick poolside chat, when we also asked her the hottest question in the minds of Thalapathy fans. Excerpts from an interview:

Tell us about your role in Dear Comrade.

My character [Lilly] is a State-level cricketer. She is one of these girls who goes through a roller coaster of emotions. She falls in love with Bobby (Deverakonda’s character), and they have their experiences.

But what I felt, personally, worked in this film is that I have not lied on the emotions. There were like 20 days of shoot where I had to genuinely feel sad, and I was only crying. In the trailer, you’d find a scene of me crying. That’s all me. I wasn’t wearing glycerine. I’ve learnt so much doing this film that I know how to be real in my character now.

So, you’ve picked up method acting?

But I’ve always felt like a method actor though I don’t have a background in theatre or never formally trained in acting. [Dear Comrade] felt like the next level. I didn’t know if we could feel emotions of the characters we play on screen. I realise it is clichéd when people say a film is extremely special to them... but this film is to me.

‘Dear Comrade’ actor Rashmika Mandanna on Thalapathy 64: ‘I want to do the Vijay film’

About that scene in the trailer where you’re mocked by the men for asking to be a part of their cricket team... have you faced a similar situation in your profession?

All women are fighting for that sense of respect and attention. Being a female in this society, you’re not taken seriously.

In my profession, people think of me as this child, and they go... ‘Arrey, what will she know? What will she talk about films? She is a heroine. Maybe... she just comes to the set, shoots and goes off’.

But that is not the case with me. I learnt to play a sport which I knew nothing about for five months...

Wait... five months?

Yeah! Like I had to wake up at five o’ clock every morning to go for cricket rehearsals in order to get my core basics right. And I have the bruises to show for it. I didn’t want to let the dupe do the playing while I just stood there.

I’m very particular in the characters I play. I give it my all. I didn’t even know how to hold a cricket bat. I learnt I needed to grip the bat in a V alignment. I know these things now though people were like... ‘Eh, you don’t have to take things so seriously. You will be in the industry for five or six years’.

‘Dear Comrade’ actor Rashmika Mandanna on Thalapathy 64: ‘I want to do the Vijay film’

It is an acceptable line of thought for many...

Not for me. The reason I’m here in the film industry is to stay. I’m not a joke, and I’m not to be taken as one.

Is that what the tattoo on your arm signifies as well? What does it say?

(Laughs)... It says ‘Irreplaceable’. I got it done when I was 16... when I thought I’m this one mahaan, and I’m irreplaceable. But I’ve seen so many girls struggle. They come and tell me their stories and it makes me relate to the tattoo. Like... you’re irreplaceable too... to someone out there, be it any girl or anyone.

I could always get it removed. The only reason I keep it is because when people read it and ask me what is irreplaceable, I get to say ‘You are!’

The soundtrack of Dear Comrade is a stand-out feature. Do you have a favourite song?

The entire album is my favourite. But I’m psyched about the ‘Dear Comrade Anthem’ which was released recently. Sadly, the guys have all the fun songs. The girls have all mellow songs.

Rashmika Mandanna in a still from ‘Geetha Govindam’

Rashmika Mandanna in a still from ‘Geetha Govindam’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

You could have asked Bharat Kamma (director) to write one for you too...

I can’t go up to him and be like... ‘Give me, give me’... when he has something else in his mind. But I did tell him if he shot another film with me... no hero, just me... we will kill it! He has told me we will.

There have been some unnecessary comments made about your intimate scenes with Deverakonda in the film. Your take?

Look, it is quite disturbing. The thing is it takes the attention away. At the end of the day, it is a kiss. It is a beautiful emotion. All of us have kissed in our lives.

But somewhere society is accepting of these hurtful, disgusting trolls than with us showing pure emotion on screen. I think someone needs to stand up and put a stop to it because it is only going to get worse.

What type of career challenge do you want to achieve in the next few years?

I think carrying a film on my own would be it. Doing a female-centric film, for which I’ll have to learn a new skill and then I’ll be the one to carry the film on my shoulders. It is quite hard but I want to do it. It is one kick!

Finally, the one question Vijay fans want to see you answer. Are you part of Thalapathy 64?

I want to know about it too! I want to do the film. Look, it is not like I got an offer. There were discussions happening but later nobody got back to me only.

So, do I want to do the film? Of course, yes, because I grew up watching the man’s work. I’d love to be a part of his film.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 1:46:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/rashmika-mandanna-opens-up-on-dear-comrade/article28668518.ece

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