Rashmika Mandanna: With every film, I feel like I am living a new life
With the second film Anjaniputra nearing its release date, CE has a long conversation with the Kirik Party actor about her career and life
She made heads turn with her role in Kirik Party, released on December 30 last year. Rashmika Mandanna has since been known as Saanvi to most people in Karnataka. The actor recalls her early days, “I was just starting out and was surprised when recognition came so early in life. This is the best life has given me. I don’t have words to express the happiness, and I just want to bask in it for now.” Rashmika has a couple of releases to end the year. As her second film Anjaniputra inches closer to its release date, CE has a long conversation with the actor about her career, association with Puneeth Rajkumar and director Harsha, Rakshit Shetty and life.
‘With fame comes expectations’
Rashmika says that she was completely unprepared for the fame that came her way. “The audience accepted my raw attempt, and I extremely thankful for it,” she says. There was no looking back and she began to enjoy her stint in the Kannada industry, even while getting a taste of the Telugu industry with various interesting projects. Is she enjoying the work? “Fame raises expectations, I have to be more responsible with my career. More than enjoying it, I work harder and take time to choose my projects,” she says.
‘Sets of Anjaniputra were so much fun’
Basking in the success of her debut, she started work on Anjaniputra, a film directed by A Harsha, in which she is paired opposite Kannada superstar Puneeth Rajkumar. “I still remember the first shot of Anjaniputra, in which I had to drive in. I am still in a trance whenever I recall any shot I was a part of.” All the memories from the filming are fresh in her mind. “Every time I see a trailer or a song from Anjaniputra, I recall the shoot. I tell my mom how much fun it was, and how they let me be myself. They are big stars, but I behaved like I had been around them forever, and not like a newcomer, and they let me be.”
Every film is a drastic change and makes me feel like I am living so many lives in one life.
Rashmika agrees that there is a “strategy” when it comes to commercial films, whether it is in Kannada, Telugu or Tamil, with fights, songs, hero-meeting-heroine, romance and a happy or sad ending. “But the work that goes into each is different, as are the memories we carry from the sets. Though every commercial films may seem similar, they are new to me and there is always something to learn. With every film, I feel like I am living a new life.”
‘Puneeth might carry the aura of a star, but at heart, he is a regular person’
Though a star, Puneeth Rajkumar, she says, behaves like a regular person. “I do not think I can behave like a star, even for a day. It is one thing I learnt from Puneeth sir. He might have the aura of a star, but in his heart, he is just a regular person. After I met him, I've come to realise that stars are no different from us. I am happy to have known him better. I would have believed him to be uptight, if I hadn’t met him.”
Harsha is a committed director
She says that she misses director Harsha, for all the care he used to shower on her. “He used to take care of me like a little child. I troubled him a lot… I admire him for his commitment. He does his work well and gets the work done.”
And the real game begins now...
After a blockbuster hit like Kirik Party, Rashmika waits to see if the audience will accept her in her role in Anjaniputra. “My first film became a hit, and you didn’t know what to make of it. I had come into this industry with no expectations, though deep in my heart I did want my film do well. I am generally very scared that the audience might reject me. Everybody accepted me as Saanvi in Kirik Party, but what if they see a different Rashmika in Anjaniputra. The real game starts now...,” she says.
Balancing work and relationship
Rashmika thrives under pressure, especially at work. She says that if she doesn't work for even a day, she feels like she is wasting her time. “I have been told that I am young and should take it easy, but I can’t laze around, watching films and spending time with friends… I am not that person,” she says.
About work life and relationships, she says both run parallely. “Rakshit and I are doing well professionally and I am glad about it,” she says. “I feel like a complete women. Rakshit is always there to help me with work and we love discussing our work. It keeps us occupied. We feel like we are not wasting our lives.” She says that she will eventually get involved in production work, but “it is too early to handle such big responsibilities”. She adds, “I am still learning and am curious to know more about filmmaking and all its aspects.”