Rashmika plays a state level cricket player in 'Dear Comrade', her upcoming release with Vijay Deverakonda.

I can now hit a four with my bat Rashmika Mandanna opens up on Dear Comrade
Flix Interview Wednesday, July 24, 2019 - 16:02

At 23, you’d think she’s just another pretty face who struck gold in films through her looks. But Rashmika Mandanna has experienced things that even a lot of seasoned women actors haven’t - overnight success, dramatic trolling and despicable misogyny.

Despite that, she’s managed to get where she has and is now one of south India’s most sought-after artistes who’s on a signing spree in Kannada, Tamil and Telugu.

Ahead of the release of one of her biggest films, the multilingual Dear Comrade, TNM caught up with Rashmika in the midst of a shoot.

The giggles that were evident when she was a newcomer have now been replaced with an assured sense of maturity, which is noticeable as she converses with us.

“After we shot Dear Comrade, we realised we should do it in all regional languages, that’s why we haven’t done the Hindi dubbing. This is my biggest release - I’m excited, but also nervous,” she smiles.

The role of Lily was physically challenging for her as she had to train hard to bat like a state-level cricketer.

“I had to train for about four months. Lily’s a professional cricketer – I can’t just pretend to be one. I had to know the techniques before the film started. I’d train from 5 am for two hours and then from 8 to 10 pm. For a girl who didn’t even know how to hold a bat, I can now manage to hit a four and protect my wickets! The journey of Lily is something a lot of girls can relate to. Whether they admit it or not, many girls face what Lily has faced from society,” she says.

In Dear Comrade, Rashmika has been paired with Telugu heartthrob Vijay Deverakonda. Working with him is something she’s used to , thanks to the duo’s previous film Geetha Govindam, which went on to become a blockbuster. How has their friendship grown since then?

“Nothing has changed. I was scared when I first shot with him as I’m scared of new people. But then, Vijay is a very chill fellow and I found it easy to work with him. Shooting for this film was easier as I knew his frequency, his vibe and it was easy to match up to it –  I didn’t even have to try as we’ve been friends for quite a long time now. Our characters rub off on each other and the best part about our friendship is that I don’t have to try hard to understand the guy,” says the actor, who was also quite a prankster on the sets while her amiable team managed to take all of it without lashing out at her.

“This team is awesome. I’d pour water on them and nobody would get annoyed even when holding the camera in the middle of a shot. They can’t get angry because I’m the heroine,” she laughs.

As someone who’s shot to immense fame, did she expect to be here when she was shooting for her first film Kirik Party?

“I did not expect it, but then again, I didn’t think of it that way. I don’t expect to go somewhere. It’s very surprising that I’m here, but there’s so much more I have to do. I’m never satisfied -  I always think what next. I need more  - I’m greedy,” she says.

With her passion to grow bigger, how has she found the strength to deal with the trolling and sexism she’s subjected to on social media?

“I don’t know. I don’t have the strength. When someone says something, I do get hurt, but what can you do about it? It’s people’s perspective. If 10 people appreciate my work and one doesn’t, then I can’t think about why that one person doesn’t like it – I have to accept that I can’t be everyone’s cup of tea,” she answers.

Coming to her Kannada audience, the actor reveals that she’s trying her best to do as much as possible for them.

“I always want to do something for them. I do get a lot of support in Karnataka, but there are also people expecting more out of me and I don’t know what else to give. If I do any work in Kannada, I need it to be the best. Till now, I’ve always been doing what people wanted me to, but now, I’ve decided to stop listening to them and do what’s best for me,” she says.

As talk veers towards misogyny in films, we ask her about Arjun Reddy and Kabir Singh and if she’d play a female lead who gets slapped around, and she says, “Kiara’s role in the film was not wrong. She was extremely strong even though she was quiet. Imagine going through a pregnancy and not letting another guy touch you – the strength of her silence is not as loud as the voice of the male lead in the film. Personally, I don’t like women being objectified where you bring them on screen just for the sake of it. I just don’t like being in films where a woman is treated as a toy or an animal. Why aren’t women treated the same when they do the equal work as a man?”

About her film Geetha Govindam where the hero tries to take a selfie with her in the bus without her consent, she says, “Well, I did slap him. I tied him up and threatened to tell my brother about him. And in the entire film I was torturing him about it until I started feeling a soft corner for him. I did take a stand. If someone does something without consent, you have to slap him and tie him up and complain - that’s not accepted!”

As for her other projects, the actor is currently shooting for Pogaru with Dhruva Sarja in Kannada and is also doing Bheeshma, Allu Arjun’s new film in Telugu and a Tamil flick among others.

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