I can never judge my own performance objectively: Bhavana
The actor talks about her upcoming release 99, the Kannada remake of the Tamil film, 96
On the sets of 99, director Preetham Gubbi and actor Ganesh would often address Bhavana as a ‘legend’. They did so since she had 78 films to her credit already. “I didn’t even realise that this was my 79th movie until someone announced it at a function,” she says.
Bhavana, who started her career as a teen, has added value to various films through her meaningful roles. During her initial stages in the Malayalam film industry, she recalls that it was her father who used to take charge of her acting career and helped her make the right film choices. “However, at some point I felt I was getting stereotyped, and that is when I ventured into Tamil, Telugu and Kannada. In Kannada, I have been fortunate to bag wonderful projects, starting from Jackie, and followed by Vishnuvardhana and Romeo. I actually didn’t know much about the Kannada industry before working here. So I hadn’t really expected my journey to pan out the way it has,” she says, adding that it was a call from director Suri that changed things for her. “I decided to take the plunge and debut with a film that had Puneeth Rajkumar in it. And now, before I’ve even know it, I’ve completed 99.”
The actor admits that she was initially hesitant to take up a remake, especially that of a Tamil film like 96, which starred high-profile actors like Vijay Sethupathi and Trisha. “But later, I was convinced that I was destined to be a part of this project. I watched the original as an audience only after I had signed 99. However, when I started being Janaki, I forgot the original film and brought in my own interpretation of the character. I have tried to create my own version of Jaanu,” says Bhavana.
Her lengthy dialogues in Kananda kept Bhavana on her toes when working on 99. “I have to talk a lot in the film, and it was like going back to school. I had to write those dialogues in English and memorise them,” says the actor, who surprises us by mentioning that she still gets nervous ahead of a film’s release. “Even after all these years, I don’t have the courage to watch my own performance. I don’t know when I will get over this feeling. I always look at myself thinking ‘I am looking fat’ or ‘Oh God, what’s happened to my face? I look so fake in this expression.’ I keep judging myself rather than watching the scene,” she says, adding that she always relies on the feedback from the director and the audience, since she finds it difficult to judge her own performance objectively.
In spite of her long journey as an actor, Bhavana confesses that she feels that she has not done enough. “That sense of satisfaction is lacking. Even though I have done different kinds of characters, including bubbly and bold ones, I was never considered a glamorous heroine. I was focusing on being an ‘actor’ doing meaty roles. I am proud to have gotten some of the best roles, but I still yearn for more,” she says.
Working with the Golden Star for the second time
It’s the second time that Bhavana worked with Ganesh after Romeo. How different was it we ask? “In Romeo, he was very quiet and would just say ‘hi and ‘hello. Only if I had said something wrong in Kannada, he would correct me. However, while shooting for this film, I saw a different side to Ganesh. I never knew he could be so much fun. Being a very talkative person, I generally get along well with my co-stars. I quickly got comfortable on the sets of 99 because Preetham was a good friend of Ganesh. In addition, I also know Ganesh’s wife, Shilpa, and they know my husband, Naveen. All of this probably led to a happy atmosphere on the sets,” she says.