Rashmika Mandanna: 2019 has been very kind to me
The actor talks about her journey across the South Indian film industries in the past year
Rashmika Mandanna is going places, literally. She doesn’t know the numbers exactly, but figures she must have taken around 20 flights during the last 7-8 weeks. She’s working across languages now, and has her hands full, as she’s working on at least four projects at once: two Telugu films, a Tamil film, and a Kannada film. She just finished a shooting leg at Mysuru, for Pogaru, which co-stars Dhruva Sarja. The Kirik Party actor acknowledges how hectic life has become, but adds she can’t complain. I try to prod her about the characters she’s playing in her films, starting with Pogaru. “I play a lecturer in the film, and that’s really as much as I can let out,” she says.
She’s heading to Hyderabad now for the song shoot of her Telugu film, Sarileru Neekevvaru, opposite Mahesh Babu. I point out that she had danced quite a bit in the 2017 film, Anjani Putra, with Puneeth Rajkumar, for the song, Chanda Chanda. “Yes, and I think this will be bigger in terms of effort and scale. It will be, for lack of a better phrase, ‘a full-fledged commercial dance’,” she says, and expresses some nervousness over matching up to Mahesh Babu. “I really don’t know how much I can match his dancing ability, but let’s see. From my end, I’m remaining focussed on the rehearsals.”
Another Telugu film, Bheeshma, starring Nithiin, will take her to Rome next. The film also features Kannada actor Anant Nag, who’s making his comeback to Telugu cinema. “I met him earlier in the schedule and shot with him for three days. This is, in fact, the first time I’m shooting with the actor, and I feel humbled to be working with such a talented actor,” she says.
Among her plans is also the Tamil film, Sultan, with Karthi, by Remo director, Bakkiyaraj Kannan. It’s too early to discuss the film, but she notes that all these four films she is part of have her play some strong characters. With these films nearing the final leg of shooting, she says she’s looking forward to the big Telugu film with Allu Arjun that is set to go on floors in January 2020. It’s a frenetic time that leaves her no time to take stock of things, but if she were to reflect on it briefly, what would she say? “I think the year has been very kind. It has kept me super-busy, which is usually a sign of a year gone well.”
It’s a year that also almost saw her make her Bollywood debut. There had been reports of her being part of the Hindi remake of Nani film, Jersey. “I had done a remake once, and my fans don’t like it when I do remakes. At the end of the day, I’m doing films for viewers, and when they ask me not to do a project that has already been done, I have to agree with them,” she says. “It doesn’t matter how big a film is. My fans’ expectations is important to me.” The upcoming year will see her have as many as five releases. “I hope to give my fans good stories, and a whole lot of entertainment.”