I was destined to play Priya, the soul of Johnny Johnny: Rachita Ram
The actor says she had great fun on sets of this film, her first attempt at comedy
Rachita Ram sounds delighted to have worked in Johnny Johnny Yes Papa, and she has many reasons to be so. This is her first attempt at comedy, and has her dubbing in Kannada for the first time. She plays the female lead opposite Duniya Vijay in this Preetham Gubbi-directorial, a sequel to his Johnny Mera Naam.
As she awaits the film’s release, the actor speaks to us about Johnny Johnny Yes Papa. "This is the first time I am part of a comedy and I loved the making of it," she says. "There was so much laughter on the sets, I will miss the fun atmosphere and the whole team."
She believes that she was destined to work on this film. "I had almost let go of this project, due to date clashes and minor misunderstandings. But, I was called again for it and I ensured that I didn’t miss the opportunity this time around," she says.
Rachita’s small-screen show, Comedy Talkies, helped her improve her comic timing. "As a judge on the show, I used to observe the actors, their timing, sense of humour and quick wit… I took a cue from these contestants," she says.
Ramya had played Padmavathi in the first edition. "Ramya created a stir with her dance for Oorigela Padmavathi. Initially, Preetham had planned a remix version of this song, because it had become so popular. But, after much thought, he thought it was better to create a whole new track because I was in the picture and that’s how Hosa Padmavathi was conceived. I started my shoot for Johnny Johnny with that song," says Rachita.
It was challenging to step into Ramya’s shoes, she says. "I like Ramya’s style but I wanted to bring my own style into this song. Of course, there are bound to be comparisons, but it's something I don’t like to give ear to. Ramya has already proved her mettle and now it is my turn. Preetham wanted to try something special and, thankfully, the song has been trending."
Rachita also dubbed for her role, another first for the actor. "Lending my voice to my character has, I feel, made me a complete actor. It is one memory I’ll take back home with me," she says. "Other directors have asked me to dub as well, but I was always hesitant. I was asked why I step away from it, even though I am a Kannadiga and am fluent in the language. But this time, both Preetham and Vijay pushed me into the dubbing studio. They gave me confidence and I finished it in three days."
She is proud to have gone through with it. "It was difficult but dubbing should be on every actor’s list. This is my tenth film, and my first time dubbing for myself. Incidentally, I heard even Ramya started dubbing with Johnny Mera Naam,” she says.
The young actor says that the lead pair is a study in contrast, and interesting for it. "It was the case with Ramya and Viji too. He looks like chocolate and the heroine, milky white. When I was offered this project, I wondered if this will work. But, trust me, it does. The film has the right mix of mass and class, and it will be a sure-shot hit," she says.
Rachita says that she has learnt the art of juggling projects, and is glad for the experience. "With time, the film industry has learnt that I am a responsible artiste. The elements that matter in a project to me, are the character, script, team, hero, co-artistes and production house… these must work well. Touch wood, till date, most of the films have worked out well for me, and Johnny Johnny is one of these," she says.
This is Rachita and Preetham Gubbi’s second project, after Dil Rangeela. And, according to her, he is Sandalwood’s Yash Chopra. "Preetham falls in love with his film and ensures that others do too. Every frame is colourful. Even if there is anger or silence in a sequence, he manages to infuse romance into it. He is also one of the coolest and calmest directors I have come across. It was mandatory that we all play cricket on the sets during lunch for an hour, before we take the next shot," she says.
The actor is especially grateful to cinematographer Karunkar for showing her flatteringly on the big screen.
With Vijay, there was an easy camaraderie, with the senior actor even addressing her as 'bro'. "He never thought of me as a typical girl, after he started working with me. Initially he used to call me 'maga' and later switched to 'bro'," she laughs.
She plays an NRI girl, whose only aim is to live abroad after marrying someone who is settled there. "The film has limited number of characters and as Priya, I pursue my dreams with Johnny’s help. Priya is Johnny Johnny’s soul," says Rachita, who personally has little interest in moving to a different country.
"Home is where our heart is. I can’t think of settling abroad, leaving behind my parents and loved ones. I don’t want to be in a land, where you are not loved and respected. You should stay where you have an identity, among our people," she says.