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Meet Kannada cinema's actress of substance

Last updated on: July 2, 2012 12:30 IST

Meet Kannada cinema's actress of substance

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Srikanth Srinivasa in Bangalore

Kannada actress Bhavana is the recipient of two State awards and her name figures in the Guinness Book of Records for being involved in a Kannada film that had only her in the cast. 

She is considered to be a director's actor and a performer both in the parallel and mainstream commercial cinema although she is seen very little in commercial films. 

Bhavana played the title role in the recently released Bhageerathi with aplomb. Prof Baragur's offbeat film is based on a popular folklore ballad called Kerege Haara.

In this interview with Srikanth Srinivasa, Bhavana talks about the film, her role and how she prepared for it.

How did you relate to your role in Bhageerathi?

Bhageerathi is not just a 100-year-old story or a neglected piece of folklore that doesn't belong to today's generation. 

It does belong to today's generation and as long as women live in this world. 

When Baragur sir offered me the role, I was really thrilled with the character. It is a movie that is about us (women). 

It is about a woman who transforms from a sister and a daughter to a wife who sacrifices for the community. A woman who helplessly undergoes a lot of emotions that she cannot voice. Bhageerathi symbolises purity.



Image: Bhavana in Bhageerathi


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'I was not completely confident with the Kollegal dialect'

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What kind of preparation went into this role?

When the director told me that it is about Kerege Haara, I was bold enough to ask him about the film's setting and the dialect that will be spoken.

I was not completely confident with the Kollegal dialect as I grew up in Shimoga and Davangere. At the same time I was ashamed. Being a Kannadiga, I cannot say that it is difficult to adapt to another Kannada dialect. 

I found it difficult initially, so I asked for some time as I wanted to sound really authentic. 

After reading the script, I began to feel comfortable and the director began to give me inputs. 

When we went to Channapatna where the film was shot, the kids actually spoke in the dialect, which made it a lot easier for me.


Image: A scene from Bhageerathi


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'I made it a point to oil my hair every day during the shoot'

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How did you manage the hairstyle and costumes?

I made it a point to oil my hair every day during the shoot. I wore a handloom cotton sari.

We chose natural dye colours and wore the sari differently-- it was a nine-yard sari that had to be tucked in differently. If you observe carefully, the pleats are tucked outside and are visible. 

I wore certain ornaments like the leg bangle that is worn even today. I could not have dressed fashionably because of the absence of the husband and the disturbance my character undergoes regarding her sacrifice to save the lake. She removes all the jewellery but retains some to show her marital status. 

Image: A scene from Bhageerathi

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'People who know me have given me some meaty roles'

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Are you deliberately choosing to do these kinds of films especially after P Sheshadri's Vimukti?

No. I do expect some amount of professionalism when it comes to the kind of roles that come my way. It is not about the size of the role. It is also about the approach that is made which decides my inclination to do a particular film. 

People who know me have given me some meaty roles. But, people who don't know me think that I am a difficult person to handle.  I am not at all arrogant. 

The character that I am offered should have potential. I expect some discipline and professionalism from people. 

I will ask questions before accepting any roles. I do have my ethics and my set of values. 

I want to do films that are released and are watched by audiences. I look forward to my growth as an artiste.


Image: Bhavana in Bhageerathi


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'I don't regret taking a break'

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Do you think it was a good decision to take a long sabbatical at a time when you were doing well?

I am surprised that even kids recognised me wherever I went. I am thrilled and overwhelmed that people still recognise after so many years and after being away.

I don't regret taking a break. I wanted to do something else and I was training myself for it but it didn't work out. 

Personally, I have become more confident and I have evolved as a person. I understood my own limitations as a person and what I am capable of. 

I was doing well according to others but I felt there was more scope for me to get more challenging, demanding and exciting roles that weren't coming my way. 

I am lucky to be getting some good roles and to be associated with the people with whom I work.


Image: Bhavana in Bhageerathi

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