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'Sri Bharatha Baahubali helped me test my acting skills'

...says debutante Sarah Harish about the time she spent as a newcomer on the sets of director Manju Mandavya’s Sri Bharatha Baahubali, in which she plays an NRI

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Published: 10th January 2020

Model Sarah Harish is turning actor with Sri Bharatha Baahubali. She started her modelling career at the age of 17, and became a popular face on billboard and TV advertisements, and it has taken her almost nine years to make it to the big screen. “Initially, I was not thinking about acting. Even though I was approached with various subjects, I didn’t consider it until Sri Bharatha Baahubali happened,” says the newcomer from Coorg. “Director Manju Mandavya spotted me in a commercial and offered this subject,” she adds.

While shooting for Sri Bharatha Baahubali, Sarah realised that acting for a TV commercial and facing the camera for a movie character are completely different things. “Not much of acting is required when you are doing a TV commercial, which is not the case in cinema. Sri Bharatha Baahubali helped me test my acting skills,” she says.

So does she consider Sri Bharatha Baahubali as the perfect launchpad? Sarah reveals that it took her a little time to get convinced. “I was very new to this world of glamour. But the story and the way the director narrated the character to me, made me say ‘yes’. I realised that I have scope for performance, and the role is as important as the lead characters, played by Manju Mandavya and Chikkanna,” says Sarah, who plays an NRI in the film. “I was also happy to have got the freedom to choose my costumes. On the whole, everything about Sri Bharatha Baahubali was in my favour,” she adds.

Sarah admits that handling the 8-hour shifts was a challenge. But the feeling changed after she completed the film. “I was clueless when I started, and to top it, I was the only female in the whole team. I didn’t know what to expect and how to go about it. However, once I started, the scenario changed, and I got comfortable. This film helped me developed patience, and I got to learn a lot. It wouldn’t have happened without the help of director Manju Mandavya and Chikkanna,” explains Sarah.

Recalling her first schedule with Chikkanna, she says, “My first few shots made me nervous, and I was hesitant to go for retakes, thinking I will be wasting Chikkanna’s time. But they told me to relax, and it helped me get into the character.”

Ask Sarah about what she misses about the film sets, and pat comes to the reply, “Food.” She adds, “I would wait to eat ragi mudde every day during the 45-day shooting schedule stretched over eight months. Being a first-timer, I was given a lot of importance on the sets, which I loved, and miss now.”  

Working with Chikkanna was one of the best things about the film, Sarah says. “His sense of humour is too good, and it can lighten the atmosphere in any set-up. The best about being with Chikkanna is seeing him act. He is a one-take actor, and that’s something I should be learning from him,” she adds, also mentioning director-actor Manju Mandavya, who dons many hats in the film. “He is a multi-talented person, and I wonder how he manages to do so much, and still keeps himself calm. Even when there is a lot of chaos, he still handled it with so much patience,” she says.

Sarah is now waiting to watch her film, which is set for release on January 17. “There are bumper gifts on offer, and those who watch the film in the first two weeks will get an opportunity to win a car, gold, and gift hampers. I too want to be in the audience and get lucky,” she laughs.

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