She’s currently one of the most popular new-age actors in the Karnataka film industry and is now foraying into Tollywood and Kollywood too. With Madhagaja having released in December and Avatara Purusha hitting screens in January, actor Ashika Ranganath’s schedule is chock-a-block and she’s kicked about treading new paths. In fact, after doing commercial films that were more focused on the male lead, Ashika’s upcoming film O2 will be a refreshing change, as she will be headlining the medical thriller.
“Earlier, I didn’t have much of a choice when it came to the roles I could play. I had to choose from whatever was coming my way and I’d opt for working with good people who could showcase me well onscreen. But now, the way audiences are looking at films is changing and as actors, we need to update ourselves, too. Although there hasn’t been a drastic change and I don’t have much of a choice even now, I can now pick characters that excite me,” she says.
Ashika plays the role of a doctor in O2, produced by late actor Puneeth Rajkumar’s PRK Production. “There’s great scope for me to perform as an actor in it. I play the protagonist and have two male leads cast opposite me. I’m glad that I’m part of Puneeth Sir’s dream of making the industry grow,” she says.
Ashika’s upcoming release, Avatara Purusha, directed by Simple Suni, is also special for the actor as this will be her second movie with her Raambo 2 co-star, Sharan. “My previous film with Sharan sir, Raambo 2, was a hit. Our pair was well-liked by audiences, so people will be expecting a lot from this film. When I heard that Sharan and Suni were working together, I was excited about the project even before I signed it because they have excellent comic timing. Also, it’s nice to be working with Pushkar Films, which has been churning out good content,” she says.
Ashika also spoke about why she chose to work with director Suni. “I think his nickname Simple Suni comes more from his simple nature than his debut film Simple Aagi Ondh Love Story! As an actor, it’s important for me to work with a director who’s a good person because building a rapport becomes so much easier then. Suni is open to improvisation and he encourages an actor to use her strengths to the fullest,” she shares.
Watch: Teaser of Avatara Purusha
With top south Indian actors like Samantha finally getting to do roles with substance after acting in commercial, male-dominated films for years, does Ashika, too, see herself doing such roles in future? “Even if you are at the top in the industry, not all scripts come to you. It will come your way only if the makers think you will be able to pull off that character. Fortunately, I haven’t been typecast in any role. Despite portraying a glamourous role in Raambo 2, I didn’t receive such offers later. I played a village girl in Madhagaja, while in Raymo (upcoming film), I play a soft-spoken character,” she says.
Ashika is also thrilled about foraying into the Tamil and Telugu film industries. Currently shooting for her Telugu debut, Ashika reveals that the film is being kept under wraps for now. In Tamil, she’s doing a film with actor Atharva, which she’s almost done shooting for. “It was quite a difficult task to shoot for it initially, as I don’t know Tamil. I took some time to prepare and the team helped me with the translations. It’s my first ever non-Kannada film and I play a Kabaddi player in this family drama,” she says.
While her career is going great guns, Ashika will always have one regret – of never being able to fulfil her dream of working with late actor Puneeth Rajkumar. Rashika, who had signed Pawan Kumar’s Dvitva opposite Puneeth, says, “I’d only met him a couple of times at events and every time he spoke to me, he complimented my work. I wanted to meet him and interact with him, but I was busy shooting for my Tamil film, and when I came back, he was busy shooting for James. The fact that I had to see him like that one last time haunts me all the time. But sadly, this is how life is and I’ll always live with the regret of not having had a proper rendezvous with him,” she says.