Rashmika Mandanna, who gained nationwide fame with Allu Arjun starrer Pushpa: The Rise is all set to enter the Hindi film industry with Vikas Bahl’s Goodbye, also starring Amitabh Bachchan and Neena Gupta.
In this interview with indianexpress.com, Rashmika opens up about how she is navigating through different film industries (Kannada, Tamil and Telugu), and her upcoming Hindi movie Animal with Ranbir Kapoor, who she says is one of the best co-stars she’s ever worked with.
Talking about her journey in the Indian film industry, Rashmika Mandanna said, “I feel absolutely gratefully. Genuinely grateful because I’ve realised how hard it is to make it in the film industry. To do a film which is good enough to reach people’s hearts is a journey in itself. I’m grateful to have received such films and people I’ve worked with so far have been amazing and so supportive. Here I’m promoting my first Hindi film and it is huge. Once you become an actor, you want to do different roles and different language films. I’ve been given these opportunities and I’m going to make the best use of it.”
Rashmika also touched upon the cultural shift that she’s constantly felt in her journey as an actor.
“The cultural shift has been happening forever because I’m from Coorg. From me to come to Bangalore from Coorg was a journey in itself. Then from Bangalore to Hyderabad, to Chennai and now Mumbai, so I’ve already seen a cultural shift happening and I’m grateful. I know there’s a lot more to do but today I’m happy that I’m here,” the 26-year-old actor added.
While Rashmika Mandanna has made a space for herself in the south Indian film industry, she’s now keen to explore Bollywood. However, this wasn’t a planned move.
Rashmika said, “Before the lockdown, I felt I wasn’t ready for Bollywood. But during Covid I was like, ‘You know what, let’s just try. Let’s see what this journey is going to be like in Bollywood.’ This is when I listened to Goodbye and I loved the script.”
Why did she think she was “not ready for Bollywood”? She explained, “For me, becoming an actor itself was a huge deal because I never thought I could be one. Making a Kannada debut was my first wall broken and then coming to Hyderabad where I didn’t even know the language and then picking up the language and doing a Telugu film was sort of another barrier that was broken down. So, then I realised how languages were never my barrier. It never stopped me from doing anything and that’s when I started doing Tamil films, and now Hindi films. Everything is a step for me. I can’t do everything together. So, I’ve slowly taken my own time to make these moves and finally I feel like I’m ready to be the nation’s child.”
Rashmika Mandanna recently introduced her family to her fans and followers on her social media. Being the eldest child, the actor shared how her parents were skeptical about her acting career because she “can’t say no”.
“They were skeptical, oh my god! So, I have a sister who is sixteen years younger to me. So now when I see my parents give so much freedom to her, I’m like, ‘Hey, now this is not fair.’ They used to be protective of me because I’m this person who can’t say no and my parents have been the first people to see that. So, anything they said, I’d always agree with them and be nice. So, they’d say, ‘How will you survive out there in the world?’ But I was sure I’d figure it out when I go through something like that. They were very concerned. Even today, when I tell my mother about my hectic days and how I’m tired, she simply tells me, ‘Why are you doing so much work? Who’s telling you to do all this? Nothing doing, enough of acting. Just come home!’ And I tell her how it has all just started and to give me some time,” she said.
About playing a role that’s in stark contrast to herself, Rashmika says it is her job as an actor and she better do it, but she also wants to make sure that people know her true self at the end of the day.
She said, “At the end of the day, I’m an actor, I’m here to entertain my people. I want people to watch my films because they want to be entertained. I know this is the description of my job and I stick to that. I mean if there’s someone who’s saying, ‘You’ve come and inspired us. That you’ve pushed us to be a better version of ourselves,’ then that’s very special for me. I don’t pretend to be a motivational speaker. I’m just a simple girl, an actor, doing these characters and I’m loving it because this is what I want to do. This is what I’m here for. I’m this person who’s always trying to be as positive as I can be. I know that a lot of people out there are dealing with so much stress in their lives. I want to be this person who’s making them smile. So, that’s my personality.”
“Tara, my character in Goodbye, is way different than me. I’m not that person who talks back to parents. I have a very respectful relationship with them and I believe in all the traditions. I wake up and do all my pujas and aarti. I have God’s photo as my display picture. I’m that person. Tara is always talking back to her parents, questioning logic. She’s that kind of a person. So, I feel like I hope I’ve done a good job, but that’s not me,” Rashmika added.
While the audience is already showering love on Rashmika Mandanna for Goodbye, she also has Sandeep Vanga Reddy’s Animal with Ranbir Kapoor in her kitty. The actor is currently shooting for the film.
Sharing how she’s loving shooting with Ranbir as both of them are director’s actors, Rashmika said, “When you work with them, you realise how they’re so in sync. Because I believe that Ranbir is a director’s actor and so am I. Our captain is Sandeep sir and he’s perfect. But at the same time Sandeep sir is so open with his actors that he tells us, ‘You figure it out.’ He asks us, ‘Do you have some instance that I can put in this montage or in the scene, or if there’s any eye-shift or look or anything?’ He comes and asks us after the scene if we’re ok, if we found the scene ok. Then I go to RK and ask him if he feels I did well, if my emotion was alright, and RK is the same, so we’re all like working together as a team. All on the same page, and it is beautiful. I enjoy a team like that. We’re all working together and it is crazy.”
After working with Vikas Bahl in Queen, Kangana Ranaut further established herself in the film industry. Does Rashmika believe Goodbye will take her career to greater heights? The actor said, “Queen was very different. It was a female centric film. Goodbye is a family drama. I’m just part of a beautiful family in the film. My first takeaway from the movie will be the father, mother, brothers. And honestly, as an actor, I’m ok with it. That’s what I want out of this film. I want it to work as a film. I want this family to work, not just me to work. I would happy if tomorrow people come to me and say that they loved my performance. But I want people to feel connected to the film, see their family in this.”