Harshika Poonacha: There were times I regretted taking up wrong projects
In a freewheeling conversation with CE, the actor, who awaits the release of Chitte, looks back at her decade-long career and gives us the low-down on her choice of films
As the release of Chitte draws close, actor Harshika Poonacha’s anxiety is on the rise. And naturally so. But, as she awaits the reaction from fans and the fraternity, the actor has been hopping from bus stands to Metro and railway stations, and has even been frequenting malls. During interactions with the public, she has been posing like a chitte (butterfly) and even challenging her fans to do so.
Ahead of the release of the film, directed by ML Prasanna and starring Yashas Surya and Harshika in lead roles, the actor, who started her career at the age of 15, tells CE how her early days, when she played the role of a sister to top stars, gave her the confidence that one day, she will play lead roles opposite them.
How different is Chitte from your other films?
So far, my roles have mostly been those of school girls or college-goers. Otherwise, it’s been love stories with a happily-ever-after ending. In Chitte I play the role of a married woman who is bubbly. What we’re trying to say is, ‘Who said a married woman cannot be bubbly?’ And this is the first time that I’m going to be scaring viewers. It’s something to watch out for. (laughs). Playing the kind of role like I do in Chitte was a totally new experience. The challenging bit was bringing out the horror element.
Having grown up watching actors like late Soundarya ma’am in Apthamitra, helped me pull off the role. Of course, that’s not to say that I’m anywhere close. But she has been my inspiration to play a role like this.
You made your debut at the same time as many others. Would you call yourself the dark horse?
I entered the industry at the age of 15, and this is my 10th year in the cinema industry. I remember how many people were making their debut at the same time I was. It was a year when there was a wave of fresh faces. Having said that, nobody has stuck on this long. I have seen heroines who have done two-three films and then disappeared.
During these 10 years, I have not taken a break. This journey has given me my identity. I’m known by my real name than just that as a film’s heroine. I have come to a stage where people whistle when I enter and cheer for me. At the end of the day, this is what every actor looks for, and I feel content. I wouldn’t have been happy if I was sitting in a cubicle as an engineer.
Do you regret taking up some films in the early stages of your career?
There was a time when I regretted taking up wrong projects in the early stages of my career. But now I have decided to live my life without regrets. Tell me any hero or heroine who has not done the wrong films in his/her career. Every actor has gone through it or will go through it. Those so-called wrong projects have been a learning for me. Those films that kept me busy, and ultimately helped me pick the right films. I have done close to 23 projects. I am happy to have a solid number.
You started out playing supporting roles. Did that help or hurt your career in any way?
I started off playing the role of a sister to top stars, but now I’m confident that I will get to star opposite them. I was young and most filmmakers considered me for the sister kind of roles. I’m at an advantage compared to many other heroines who make their debut at 25. I, on the other hand, already have ten years experience on my side.