Ritu Varma interview: I am proud of being known across the South
... says Ritu Varma as she discusses Modern Love Chennai and her ideas of love
In 2022, Ritu Varma entered the Modern Love world through the Hyderabad edition, as Renuka, a goofy animator. During that time, the actor mentioned in quite a few interviews that she was happy to get to play a wacky, quirky character close to her real self. A year later, now, Ritu Varma is back in the Modern Love universe, this time for the Chennai edition. And again, she plays a peculiar, comical character, even if in a different story.
Ritu Varma doesn't see this 'repetition' as a concern and is happy and proud about getting such an opportunity. "I am proud to be known across the South," she says, and talks about how both her Modern Love roles were offered to her back to back. "I go with my gut while choosing scripts. I loved what Krishnakumar Ramakumar narrated and saw much scope for my character. I was not concerned about any redundancy as both stories are entirely different," she explains.
In Modern Love Chennai, Ritu Varma plays a cinema-smitten protagonist in Krishnakumar's debut, Kadhal Enbadhu Kannula Heart Irukkara Emoji. Her character, Mallika, is a hopeless romantic who draws her inspiration from Tamil cinema. The story cruises through Mallika's teenage years to adulthood as she tries to find the man of her dreams.
Ritu reveals she is very much like Mallika. "My idea too, of the perfect man, comes from the films I have watched, be it those directed by Mani Ratnam or Yash Raj." Yet, despite the similarities she shared with the character, she had challenges to overcome. "As the story focuses on different stages of Mallika's life, I had to transform from a schoolgirl to a grown-up," she says.
References often help an actor get into the skin of a character a lot easier. Although Ritu Varma had no real references to play Mallika, she says the idea was for her to remain 'innocent'. "The task was made easier by director Krishnakumar, who knew exactly what he wanted from Me. He is a quirky man, and that helped too in designing my character." Furthermore, it helped that he was not above taking suggestions from women like Ritu, in telling this story. "The entire episode is a collaborative effort. The director, and our writer Reshma Ghattala, took inputs from everyone and implemented them as well."
Incidentally, her recent roles, including Subadhra (Nitham Oru Vaanam), Renuka (Modern Love Hyderabad), and Mallika are all extroverted, hyperactive characters. "In fact, I was shooting for all these projects at around the same period. I chose these roles as they were unlike any I had done before, and I wanted the audience to see me in a different colour."
Having completed filming for Mark Antony, Ritu is also currently working on an announced Telugu film in which she plays an 'out-of-the-box' role. When asked about her dream role, she reveals, "I want to be a part of a full-fledged action film, maybe a project in which I play a RAW agent. I am an athletic person and would love to do stunts and martial arts for a film." A small pause and she adds, "I believe that my real potential has not been tapped into yet."