Riding the success wave

CAREER-CONSCIOUS Gopika is busy in all South Indian language films

CAREER-CONSCIOUS Gopika is busy in all South Indian language films  

Gopika's career is on the upswing and she is bent on shaping it the right way, she tells VIJAY GEORGE in a tete a tete

Bouquets and brickbats, Gopika has accepted them both ungrudgingly, with a warm smile. She has grown to understand that it is all part of the pursuit that she is into. With two of her Malayalam films to hit the movie halls soon, she has reason enough to be excited. "I never imagined being where I am now. Films were never part of my scheme of things. Now that I am into it, I am careful in shaping my career the right way. It has been going alright all along and I hope it will be the same from now on too," says Gopika with a smile.

Though she made her entry into films in Tulasidas' `Pranayamanithooval', it was that trendy flick `Autograph' that made her a hot property down South. She played a Malayali belle in it. It was the Miss.Thrissur beauty pageant that paved the way to films.

"Almost immediately after this I got the offer from Tulasidas. But the film was not much of a success and nothing happened for quite some time. Cheran, who was on the look out for a Malayali girl for his Tamil film rang me up. Though I had started acting in my first film without much preparation, things were different in `Autograph'. I was asked to study playing the veena and after completing one schedule, I had to put on weight. Soon, I started taking things more seriously," reveals Gopika, who was then planning to join for hotel management as it could help her realise he dream of becoming an airhostess.

Before the release of `Autograph', she acted in Jayaraj's `4 the People'. Though she did not have much of a role in it, the song `Lajjavathiye... ' was shot with her and Bharath in the sequence. "I felt that the song was nothing to rave about when I heard it first. But soon, I started liking it and the song, as the whole world knows, went on to become a rage."

She was paired opposite Srikanth in `Kana Kandein', quite recently. And she has completed `Thottijaya' with Silambarasan as the hero and `Ponniyin Selvan' where she plays the heroine to Ravi Krishna. Does the girl, who speaks Malayalam with a trademark Thrissur accent, look convincing as a Tamilian? "Frankly, I don't know. I am told by many that with the right costumes, I can carry off both the roles of a Malayali and a Tamilian girl, with equal ease."

After `Vesham' and `Fingerprint', two of her Malayalam films in the pipeline are `Chanthu Pottu', in which she has been cast opposite Dileep and the eagerly awaited `Nerariyan CBI'.

In between all this, she has been part of some controversies, like the comments made by Tulasidas, after the director felt she was not acknowledging his role in introducing her into moviedom. "He is said to have made those remarks after I did not mention his name during a thanks giving speech at an awards function," says Gopika. "It was not at all intentional. Things were happening at a fast pace and I barely had the time to mumble something. Anyway, I believe that he has no misconceptions, as he has been very friendly whenever I talked to him over the phone."

In fact, it was Tulasidas who had changed her name from Girly Anto to Gopika. "I was asked to choose between Gopika and Supriya and I went for the former." But she is quick to add that most of her relatives still call her Girly.

However, Gopika is not the heroine in Tulasidas' new film. Was she offered the role? "I was. But I was already committed to some other projects," she says. Gopika also lost out on Cheran's new film due to date hassles.

Films are all about glamour and fame. Gopika has learned to handle them both confidently. She is quite clear as to the extent that glamour can be stretched; never ready to go beyond the lines she has drawn. And she has also learnt how to ignore gossips and unwanted controversies. Even as she says all this, her parents, listening to every word their daughter utters, nod in approval. They know that their `little Girly' is a surely a rising star.

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