'Mango Dolly is a tribute to Helen'
We last saw south siren Rambha in the big multi-starrer flop Jaani Dushman. Seven years later, she hopes Quick Gun Murugun will be a successful comeback film to Bollywood.
Her role Mango Dolly is already creating raves, and Rambha is enjoying the attention.
She talks to Patcy N about Quick Gun Murugun, and playing a sensuous, voluptuous bar dancer.
Will you call Quick Gun Murugun your comeback film in Bollywood?
Yes. I am doing a Hindi film after five years. My last film was Jaani Dushman (2002). I have never planned my career or even my life. In fact, I had never thought of entering films. I was a simple girl down south.
But one day, at the age of 12, I got a film offer -- Sargam (1992) -- from Malayalam director Hariharan. He won the National Award for it later, and I bagged the Kerala state award. Even after that, I never planned my career. Things just happened.
My first Hindi film was Jallaad (1995). It was a remake of a south film, in which I had played the same character. After that, I got nice films like Judwaa, Bandhan, Gharwali Baharwali, Kyo Kii... Main Jhuth Nahin Bolta... I got a chance to work with good actors like Ajay Devgan, Salman Khan, Govinda and Anil Kapoor.
But after Kyo Kii... Main Jhuth Nahin Bolta, there was a phase when the heroines had to become size zero. I knew I would never become size zero - I'm size happy! There was too much of glamour and I started getting offers for item numbers and some B-grade movies - roles of prostitutes which I thought I would never fit into.
So I decided to stay at home and enjoy my time with my family. Obviously, I could not take that break as I was doing films down south. It took me five to eight years to become a good name. It's easy to get fame but difficult to maintain it.
Image: Rambha in Quick Gun Murugun
'Quick Gun Murugun is the Indian superhero'
Then what made you sign Quick Gun Murugun, where you play a bar dancer?
My character has two shades in the film. In the night, she has blonde hair and is a bar dancer. She works with Rice Plate Reddy, the bad guy. Rice Plate Reddy promises to make Mango Dolly a Miss Universe winner but then cheats her and makes her a singer-bar dancer instead.
When she meets Murugun, she falls in love with his innocence and kindness -- he keeps saving women and cows.
In the day, her hair goes back to the normal colour, and she becomes a normal girl.
When Shashank Ghosh [director] narrated the script to me, he said Mango Dolly had to be sensuous, voluptuous and very extroverted. I told him I didn't fit in that category. I'm very shy character in real life. So Shashank told me it's a Betty Boa kind of a character, where she is sensuous and voluptuous but at the same time, her face and behaviour is innocent. He wanted a girl who has done films in most languages.
I trusted Shashank and went for costume and wig trials for three-four days. They made me very comfortable on the sets. After the film got over, I really missed the Mango Dolly look. Now when they call me Mango Dolly, I feel very happy.
Is Quick Gun Murugun's style a copy of Rajnikanth's?
It's not only Rajni sir's style. It is also the style of the late MGR, who wore orange pants and green shirts. He used the words like 'Rascala' and 'Mindi it'. So the character is from him. Later, Rajni sir's cigarette lighting style was incorporated. We are not trying to tease anyone in the film. Most of the superheroes are from Hollywood -- Spiderman, Superman, Batman... Quick Gun Murugun is the Indian superhero.
'I am used to wearing short skirts and dresses'
Were you nervous to face people on the set when you first wore these skimpy outfits?
Not really. I am used to wearing short skirts and dresses. When I wore the wig, I was really nervous and uncomfortable for the first two days.
But later, I got into the character, and I had no problems. Now, I am completely in love with this role and wig.
Is your look inspired from Helen?
Yes. In those days, Helenji and Asha Parekhji had the opportunity to wear these kinds of wigs. I think my look is a tribute to them.
How did the choreographer convince you to dance like that? It looks very hot and sexy.
Rekha Chinni Prakashji has done the choreography. We have worked together in past as well. To convince me, she would tell me stories of older heroines. Then she would ask me to do a leg movements. Some of the spets were very awkward. If I told her that, she would reassure me, and show the video clip.
She told me that if I did not like any step, it would be removed. Even if I was not comfortable with a certain step, they would not ask me to do it. When I saw the rushes, I thought they were looking good.
'They named me Mango Dolly but have given me all shades of pinks'
Why the name Mango Dolly?
I don't know. They named me Mango Dolly but have given me all shades of pinks. So I am finding it difficult to relate to the colour and name.
How was it working with Rajendra Prasad, who played Quick Gun Murugun?
I have worked with Prasadji in many movies down south. He has played my lover, brother and many more characters before. So we've been quite comfortable. When I saw him in Murugun's costumes for the first time, I burst out laughing. He was looking so funny. He is just as funny off the screen.
Was shooting it in four languages -- Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and English -- difficult?
We would shoot a scene in one language, then shoot it in another. Initially, it was boring and tedious. But then we got used to it.
'I am really surprised by the reaction we got for the film'
Any regrets in your long career?
Maybe one or two. It happens for everyone. But even if the film was wrong, my role was decent. I don't want to name the films.
What are your expectations from Quick Gun Murugun?
I am really surprised by the reaction we got for the film. When we went to Delhi to promote the film, people were actually saying the dialogues. That's very rare for me -- that too before the release.
There are rumours that you're hosting a televised swayamwar, like Rakhi Sawant did. Is that true?
No, it's not. I don't know who spread the rumour. I've left this decision to my parents. They will decide which guy I will marry.