Meet the new faces in Kannada films
The Kannada film industry seems to be finally taking note of the audiences' displeasure with actresses from outside the industry being preferred to Kannada girls. The latter part of this year will see five Kannada girls show what they are capable of in big banner films. While we will have to wait a little longer to see if they can make it as big as local lasses Ramya, Rakshita and Radhika Pandit, the choice of films gives us high hopes.
Here's a rundown on the young starlets and their upcoming projects
This Chickmagalur lass has not one but two big films in her kitty. Even before the release of her debut film Saarathi, with Darshan, she has managed to bag Paramathma, a Yograj Bhat film, playing opposite Puneet Rajkumar. Deepa was offered the Sudeep starrer Kempegowda too, but had to let it go because she was shooting for Saarathi.
In Saarathi she plays a tomboy and in Paramathma she's a level-headed and responsible girl. "My role in Saarathi is a complete contrast to the introvert I am. In fact it's a character like the one veteran actress Manjula was popular for."
While busy with Saarathi, Deepa heard that Yograj Bhat was looking for someone to caste opposite Puneet. She wasted no time in sending in her pictures. Impressed with the stills, Bhat asked her to audition. "After seeing Manasaare, I wanted to act in a Bhat-directed film. So when I got the call, I was excited and nervous at the same time. This nervousness led me to give a bad audition. Sensing my panic, they asked me to come back the next day. I came back a calmer person and gave my best shot. And thus came my way this meaty role," she recalls.
Working with experienced heroes is an advantage. "Darshan is very patient and has been a great help with dialogue rendition. In fact there were many instances when I panicked and the shoot got stalled. But he was understanding and helped me get over my inhibitions. Puneet also makes his co-stars feel comfortable. He has no airs despite being a superstar and I wish to be like him," Deepa says.
The actress has studied architecture and also has done a course in jewellery designing and hopes to put her fashion sense to good use in her films.
Image: Deepa Sanidhi
What could be a dream for many is the reality for Soundarya. Her tryst with the arc lights starts alongside actor-director Upendra.
The actress was rumoured to be making her debut opposite Puneet Rajkumar in Lagori, which was eventually shelved. Not one to sit around waiting, Soundarya decided to try her luck in the Telugu industry but that didn't work out either and then came the offer to act in Godfather opposite Uppi. "I play a very chirpy role in the film," she says.
Soundarya said she never thought she would be an actress even though her mother is the actress Jayamala. "I wanted to be a veterinarian when I was in school. In college, most of my friends were into modelling so I thought I would give showbiz a try. I told my mom I wanted formal training in acting. I went to Mumbai and learnt a lot about cinema. And here I am," she says.
Apart from a dream debut, it is her mother's experience and contacts that have proved advantageous for the actress. "Mom has an old fashioned approach while choosing a film for me, but I'm not complaining because I know that's the safest way. She is also there to give me acting tips.
In fact when she is on the sets I'm scared because I feel she is keeping a close watch on my acting abilities. I feel the urge to give my 300 percent with her around. Getting an opportunity to work with Upendra at the beginning of my career has only helped me further."
Soundarya has had many offers for films, but "I am taking it easy as I am doing my BA through correspondence simultaneously. I'm looking to do quality roles and a few whacky ones, like the one where my mom got to drive an auto," she says.
Having a filmy connection has ensured she gets a cushiony start, and now it remains to be seen what she makes of it.
Samyukta too comes with an enviable pedigree, but she is determined to prove that there's more to her than the names Prakash Belawadi (theatre director and father), Sudha Belawadi (actress and mother) and Bhargavi Narayan (actress and grandmother).
After playing a small role in Aa Dinagalu, Samyukta will now be seen in a lead role in Lifu Eshtene, a youthful entertainer, co-starring Diganth and Sindhu Loknath. Samyukta plays the girl-next-door. "Diganth plays the role of a guy who keeps falling in love with every second girl he meets and I am the girl who comes along and dins sense into him."
Samyukta, a student of mass communication, took her time deciding on a film career. She has been involved with theatre groups, including that of B Jayshree, and is a trained Kathak dancer. With these attributes, it was not long before films beckoned.
"I was offered a role (which was later deleted from the final script) in Yograj Bhat's Pancharangi but I wanted to complete my studies. Director Pavan, who was assisting Bhat then, later approached me for Lifu Ishtene.
"I am a great fan of action films and it would be fun to do a film like Kempegowda if it had a female performing all the stunts."
Image: Samyukta Belawadi
From sticking paper cutouts of actors in her notebooks to acting as a lead in a Yograj Bhat production, Sindhu Loknath was in no doubt that acting was her final goal.
Her first Kannada venture Parichaya may not have got her a stable berth in the industry, but she hopes to establish herself through her second film, Lifu Ishtene.
Sindhu, who plays Nandini, a simple and sensible girl in the film, was spotted by director Pavan when she auditioned for Pancharangi.Even as she looks forward to the release of the film, Sindhu is busy with Telugu and Tamil projects. She already has a release in Tamil --Vaada Pooda Naan Bargal --- and is now preparing for the romantic film Muppoludum Un Kartanaigal, which also stars Atharva. Her Telugu film Mr Lavangam is ready for release and in Kannada she is acting in the Nagathihalli production, Nan Lifealli.
Having acted in films made in all these different languages, Sindhu is well qualified to point out the differences. "Telugu films are more about glamour and opulence. Tamil filmmakers lay more stress on the script and Kannada films are a combination of both."
Image: Sindhu Loknath
The cinematic journey of this travel and tourism student from Coorg seems to be on track following her chirpy performance in Pancharangi. Though her debut film was Neen Yare, it was with Pancharangi that she shot to fame. Despite being a bundle of talent, though, Ramya is mostly being offered roles as the second lead or in multi-starrers.
The actress has Tamil and Telugu films to her credit as well. She is currently basking in the success of her Tulu film Oriyrdori Asal. "The film is based on a 25-year-old play. It's completed 75 days in Mangalore and has been in the running for two weeks in Bangalore."
In Kannada, she has acted in the Puneet starrer Paramathma, Anarkali, and has the multi-starrer Panchamrutha to look forward to. "In Anarkali, I play a painter's wife. Kitty is my hero. My character in Panchamrutha has negative shades; I play this rather self-centered woman."
Ramya says she enjoys all her roles. "Each of my performances has enriched me as an actor, but I must say that it was my role in Pancharangi that gave a new dimension to my acting skills. My character had comic shades and it was great fun essaying the role. In fact, it has made me curious enough to give full-fledged comedy a shot some time."
Image: Ramya Barne