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Ritu Varma: Being in the film industry isn’t easy at all- Cinema express

Ritu Varma: Being in the film industry isn’t easy at all

The actor, who made her Tamil debut recently with the long-delayed Kannum Kannum Kollaiyadithal co-starring Dulquer Salmaan, talks to us about the film, her career and more

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Published: 02nd March 2020

After a long wait, Kannum Kannum Kollaiyadithal has opened to unanimously positive reviews, and the Pellichoopulu girl, Ritu Varma, who is making her Tamil debut as lead, is on cloud nine. “When the trailer came out, people thought it would be a usual romcom. But I think our film has surprised everybody.” In KKK (spoiler alert), Ritu is revealed to be a con woman. The actor recalls how difficult it was to stay silent about her character. “I didn't want to answer those questions because I didn't want to give away anything. So I ended up giving boring answers. Now that the secret is out, I feel lighter.” Her character has also won a lot of love. She agrees and recalls that when she caught a show in Chennai, she teared up at the audience’s love for the film and her role. “It was an emotional moment. I was so happy to see people enjoy our film so much. Also, I haven’t had a release in a while.”

Ritu might be a Telugu girl, but you would never know that given the actor’s near-perfect lip-sync in KKK. “A few years back, when I started getting several Tamil film offers, I took a crash course in the language for 25-30 days. I can speak basic sentences, and understand the dialogues.” Getting the script in advance helped her too. “I knew the importance of my role and wanted to be fully prepared. I knew I would be working with someone like Dulquer, so I didn’t want to waste time.” She also tried dubbing for herself in the film. “I dubbed for the entire film actually, but in the end, Desingh felt that my Tamil pronunciation had a mild Telugu accent to it. So, we went with a dubbing artiste, and she did an amazing job. A lot of people thought it was my voice.” The actor who dubs for herself in Telugu hopes to do the same in Tamil soon. “I feel that when I dub for myself, the performance looks more authentic.” 

She credits Desingh’s detailed prep and instructions for helping her play Meera. “I don't know what my ‘acting process’ is, but I need to be in sync with the director. I ask a lot of questions, including about the tiniest details, like my body language. “Desingh had everything sketched out for the four of us. This helped a lot, especially in my case, as my character exhibits contrasting behavior. Even my make-up was different for both 'versions' of my character. I also tried changing my hair colour to make this difference evident,” she says.

Ritu became a household name in the Telugu industry after the massive success of Tharun Bhascker’s romcom, Pellichoopulu. One would expect such success to result in a signing spree, but Ritu’s case was different. “I didn't get the kind of scripts I was looking for in Telugu. So I decided to wait,” she says with an air of nonchalance. “ It wasn't my dream to become an actor, and the way I look at films is probably different. Maybe that's why I am a bit choosy.” What was she looking for? Strong women characters? “Not really,” she says, “I can't quite articulate what I look for in my scripts or characters. It is an instinctive decision when I hear someone narrate.” She knows though that she won’t do films that don’t give her much to do. “I perform better when I am challenged. If I don't have much to contribute, it is demotivating. My best comes out when I know my character matters.”

Ritu signed both KKK and Gautham Menon’s Dhruva Natchathiram, but her Kollywood arrival has been fraught with delays in releases. “I knew both films would take me to the next level and open many doors. In KKK, I had a kickass character, and with Dhruva Natchathiram, it was the scale. It is a Gautham Menon film and it stars Vikram. The delays are unfortunate. Dealing with it wasn't easy. But hey, being in the film industry itself is not easy either. To be an actor, you need to have a lot of patience, especially if you want to do the right kind of films.”

The talented actor also has an impressive line-up of films, including Tuck Jagadish with Nani, a Tamil-Telugu bilingual with Sharwanand produced by Dream Warriors, Ashok Selvan’s Telugu debut, another Telugu film with Naga Shaurya, and of course, Dhruva Natchathiram. “I am in a good phase right now. I believe I have a couple of good films lined up, and hopefully, I will have more releases in 2020. I'll try to make up for the absence.”  

Jessie, once again

One of the major highlights of KKK was Gautham Menon and Ritu Varma doing a parody of a scene from Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya. “This wasn't part of the original script. The idea came up when we were discussing scenes. And we thought it seemed like a fun idea. I was anxious because I was used to Gautham sir directing me. And here, I was sitting in front of him and performing a spin-off of a scene from his film! But I was surprised by how easy, casual and spontaneous he was. Several things in that scene were impromptu. It was a lot of fun and we laughed a lot.”

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