Dimple Hayathi: VVS will change my image among Tamil audiences
Dimple Hayathi, whose Veeramae Vaaigai Soodum is set to release on Friday, is convinced that the film will establish her as an actor in Tamil cinema
A sense of nervousness and excitement is palpable in the voice of Dimple Hayathi as we catch up for a telephone conversation two days before the release of her film, Veeramae Vaagai Soodum (VVS), which marks her debut as a female lead in Tamil cinema. The actor called this film a dream come true at the film’s press meet, and adding on, she says something strikingly similar to Henry Hill from Goodfellas. "Ever since I remember, I wanted to be an actor."
Dimple’s fascination with acting isn’t necessarily inspired by her fondness for any particular actor; she attributes it to every film she watched as a child. In retrospect, this curiosity did lead to confusion and chaos, she shares. “Even in school, I would frequently recite lines from films, leaving people around me worried. They wouldn’t get why I was talking to myself. My grandfather, after a point, was convinced I was possessed by a ghost and took me to a dargah. You see, I liked imagining myself as film characters. I would mouth dialogues and mimic expressions, day and night. I think I learned a lot doing this.
Her dream saw fruition in 2017, when she landed a role in a Telugu film titled Gulf at the age of 16. It’s an experience she remembers vividly. “The first scene required me to kiss my co-star and I was rather nervous. The scene took more than 20 takes and the director, having understood the situation, called it a day. We shot the scene only the following day.” Five years and a couple of roles later, Dimple believes she has come far as a performer.
Relatively a newcomer, the actor has had her share of setbacks, with the stalling of a major film she was supposed to play the female lead in, being the biggest of them all. “It came as a crushing disappointment. My mental health took a severe beating,” shares Dimple. But the dance number ‘Jarra Jarra’ in the Telugu film, Gaddalakonda Ganesh, came as a blessing in disguise. “I was set to play the female lead in the film (a role which Mirnalini Ravi eventually played), but in a turn of events, I got offered the song. I had my reservations about appearing in a dance number so early in my career, and everyone told me that my career would be doomed. Thankfully, it worked out.” When the viral dance number became her visiting card, it did become a challenge to break that image, Dimple admits, adding that her role in VVS will further assist her in that regard. “I play a conventional girl-next-door character in this film—one who respects her family and stands by the protagonist. As ‘Jarra Jarra’ is also popular among Tamil audiences, I believe their perspective towards me will change after this film.”
In addition to being her first major Tamil release, VVS is a special project for another reason, one attached to her childhood once again. She would come down to Chennai from Hyderabad during her summer breaks, and leaving the city after the holiday would always be “heartbreaking”. When Veerame Vaagai Soodum came her way, she took an immense liking for the script, but what excited her the most was the prospect of watching herself on the big screen of a theatre she would often visit with her extended family during her holidays. “Sathyam Cinemas was the go-to theatre for nearly 20 of us, who would regularly visit to watch films of every language. They are all excited to see me on the silver screen now,” an elated Dimple shares.
VVS is believed to be the first major Tamil release following the Omicron-caused disruptions in release plans this month. Dimple’s next, the Ravi Teja-starrer Khiladi—set to release next week—will be her first big Telugu release of the year. It’s a character that sits in stark contrast to her role in VVS, she tells. “For the first time in my life, with Khiladi, I got to do what I was hoping to do as an actor. It was a profoundly satisfying experience. It’s a crucial character that has equal scope for dancing and acting. Working with an actor like Ravi Teja has been a learning experience. I remember shivering during the test shoot, but his energy through the rest of the shoot was infectious and inspiring."
Dimple is self-aware and admits that she is yet to arrive at a point in her career where she can share a checklist before accepting scripts. “I’m taking baby steps right now and so, I can’t be too picky about scripts. I want to try everything that comes my way. If I’m offered an out-and-out commercial film and an artsy film with abundant scope for performance, I will somehow try and make sure I do both, even if it means working overtime,” Dimple says, laughing.