Siri Ravikumar is a trained singer. She is also a reality show host, stage actor, former radio jockey, and sports anchor. Now, she has taken baby steps into the Kannada film industry with projects such as Sakutumba Sametha and the web series Kyaabre. “Except for music, everything that I have done till now happened without a plan,” she says.
The rookie actor is awaiting the release of Swathi Mutthina Male Haniye, directed by Raj B Shetty. Even here, an unexpected development helped Siri be a part of the movie.
In the film, Raj was supposed to act opposite actor-politician Ramya (Divya Spandana in Tamil). The film is Ramya’s maiden production venture under the banner Apple Box Studio, and the makers intended to release it directly on a streaming platform. Once that plan didn’t bear fruit, Ramya chose to opt out of the project as the film’s heroine, opening the door for Siri.
Raj’s regular collaborators, Praveen Shriyan and Midhun Mukundan, are the cinematographer and music composer of the project respectively. In the film, that will hit screens on November 24, Siri essays the role of a counsellor called Prerana at a palliative care facility.
“In a hospice care facility, telling people how much time they have left is such a tough job. I visited this place called Karunashraya, a hospice care centre in Bengaluru, to speak to the counsellors. I sat in on one of the sessions where the counsellor broke the dreaded news to a woman. She was in complete denial. After the session, I had a lump in my throat, and I broke down,” says Siri.
Raj B Shetty plays Aniketh, a man suffering gastrointestinal cancer, and Prerana develops a liking for Aniketh while he is at the palliative care facility. “Not every relationship needs to be defined. The film isn’t a conventional love story. What Prerana feels for Aniketh is affection. The relationship helps her transform and beat her loneliness,” she says.
The actor’s first noted work in her budding career was Sakutumba Sametha (2021), a charming film on arranged marriage, and Siri continues to get praise for her role. “It was a very relatable character. My character, Shraddha, wasn’t sure about herself. She wasn’t sure about the guy whom she was about to marry. So anybody would understand her feeling of not being ready when her parents insisted on the marriage.”
Siri was also recently seen on stage when she performed in Prakash Belawadi’s Parva, an eight-hour English play based on SL Bhyrappa’s celebrated novel. “I was returning to theatre after four years for Parva, a retelling of the epic Mahabharata. I played the role of Draupadi. It was an exhausting experience, but there was a lot to take away from the play.”
Getting the pulse of intense characters takes a while, points out Siri. “My job is to focus on the character. But it’s not right to get carried away by it when I am not acting. I should be wary of getting lost in the intensity of my characters.”
Soon, she will be part of Bachelor Party and AbraCaDabra, two upcoming films from actor-director Rakshit Shetty’s production house Paramvah Studios. Even as she is upbeat about her career, Siri talks about how every step in her journey has happened by chance.
“I set out to become a singer, as I am trained in Carnatic and Hindustani music. I was doing backstage work for Prakash Belawadi’s plays, and he gave me a chance to perform for a production. Later, he suggested that I act in Harikatha Prasanga, a film by Ananya Kasaravalli (daughter of Girish Kasaravalli). In between, I was interning at a radio station, and they roped me in as a show producer. One thing led to another, and I am happy where I am now!” she signs off.