Sharmiela Mandre: I do films out of passion, not for the money
The actor-turned-producer talks about juggling her acting and production responsibilities for her upcoming film Dasara, and her plans to foray into the web series space
It will be a busy birthday for Sharmiela Mandre. The actor, who has also taken up the responsibility as the producer for her debut production venture, Dasara, which she also stars in, will be spending her special day engaged with the post-production work of the film. “Since 2020 went in the lockdown mode, and none of us worked for most of this year, I am kind of looking forward to making up for the lost time,” she says.
The team of Dasara has been releasing promotional posters of the film capitalising on the festival time. They have unveiled Sharmiela's own look today.
The film, written and directed by Arvind Sastry, also stars Sathish Ninasam and Rukmini Vijayakumar in the lead roles.
Sharmiela, who plays an investigative journalist named Anika in the film, tells us about her homework for the role. "Of late, I have been following the works of many investigative journalists and this has helped me understand the depth of my character more. Anika is outspoken and modern, in contrast with Rukmani's Devi, who is silent and traditional.”
She clarifies that she hasn't taken on the biggest role in the film, just because she's the producer. “That's a general assumption since I am bankrolling the film. But that is not the case. My focus in this project is more on the film’s content, and I am happy to see the way it is shaping up,” says Sharmiela.
The film’s first schedule was shot entirely in London, and the plan was to resume the shooting in March. However, this got pushed because of the lockdown. Sharmiela then met with the accident, due to which shooting had to be stalled for another 2-3 months. “We started planning for the shoot in June, but we weren't able to get permission. People were scared and the actors themselves were not ready to venture out. Now that things have eased up a little, we have resumed shooting,” says Sharmiela, adding that she is making sure to abide by the safety protocols. “We have a big checklist, and I am making sure that it is followed to the ‘T’. I don’t want anyone in my set to get infected.”
Looking at Sharmiela’s filmography, one can sense that she is very picky about her projects. Apart from Dasara, the only other film on her platter is Yogaraj Bhat’s Gaalipata 2. She says it is a conscious decision.“I do films out of passion and not for the money.”
Hailing from a family of producers and distributors, it was natural for her to venture into production. “I started my production house two years ago. My initial plan was to make a Kannada film. But I felt that it needed some incubation time and so, proceeded with two consecutive Tamil films. Evanukku Engeyo Matcham Irukku got released in 2018. But Sandakkari, starring Shriya Saran and Vimal, is still waiting for a release because of the pandemic."
She reveals that she also has plans to enter the web series space. “Since Kannada doesn’t have much web content, I am working on producing them too,” she reveals.