Love, fame and cinema: Newlyweds actor Rishi and content writer Swathi open up to TNM
He stole the audience’s hearts as Purmy in Operation Alamelamma and kept us intrigued as Inspector Shyam in Kavaludaari. Sandalwood’s rising star Rishi, whose next film Sarvajanikarige Suvarnavakasha is expected to release in December, was also recently in the news for a personal reason – he got married to the love of his life Swathi Parasuraman, a content writer.
The striking couple, who tied the knot in Chennai on November 10, had a star-studded reception in Bengaluru last week.
The duo took time out for TNM to chat about how they met, cinema and more.
Firstly, congratulations! Tell us where the two of you met and Swathi, please tell us a little about yourself.
Swathi: Thank you so much. I was born in Chennai, but brought up in Tokyo, Japan. My dad was working there, so I moved to Tokyo when I was just three months old and lived there till I was 12. We later shifted to Hyderabad as my father wanted to set up his business there.
I’m a writer by profession – I create content for corporates with regards to branding and marketing. But writing wasn’t my original field, I have a Master’s in Biomedical Sciences. However, ever since I was young, I’ve been an avid book lover who always loved to write, so I switched to writing. I also like to write short stories - I have an ambition of writing a novel one day. I will get back to it now that the wedding is done.
Rishi: I was doing a play when I met her. There was a script that I’d written long back which had many elements from Japan. I keep reading a lot of stuff online and I’d scripted things close to my heart. When I found out that she lived there, I wanted to share my work with her. She gave a lot of feedback and that’s how we started talking. This was much before Operation Alamelamma released.
Rishi, how did you manage to balance your relationship on your road to fame?
Rishi: I don’t look at it that way. I used to work in a corporate company before. I’d wake up every day, go through my routine, come back home and be normal with my family and have a peaceful time during the weekend.
It’s pretty much the same now, but here, the recognition is stronger. People validate my work instantly - that’s the only difference. I’ve always believed that having a strong work-life balance is very important, no matter how much you achieve in your professional life. The work I do is pretty stressful, so if I have my loved ones around, it keeps me grounded and much more stable in life. I value my personal space a lot. I’m not someone who puts up much personal information on social media.
It wasn’t a conscious choice to not post about Swathi earlier. I guess I wanted to be identified through my work. But marriage is a crucial part of one’s life and I wanted to share this with everyone. I wanted to tell the world that she’s the one I’m marrying.
Swathi, have things changed for you now that Rishi is a rising star in Kannada cinema?
Swathi: When I met him, he already had plans of going into films, and considering I’m also into theatre, I understood his passion. And since I’m a writer, we share a love for creative stuff. It took me time to get used to his fame. For instance, if we were out for a walk, he’d get recognised. It was a change, but a pleasant one. It’s nice to see him work and I have fun discussing his scripts, character sketches etc. Also, if I do get a good idea for a script, I’d definitely want to collaborate with him.
Rishi, tell us about your next release Sarvajanikarige Suvarnavakasha and the other films you’re doing.
Rish: The muhurtha for a new film happened on Sunday. But right now, I’m awaiting the release of Sarvajanikarige Suvarnavakasha, which will hit the screens in December. It’s a very realistic film and a thriller-cum-drama, mixed with some comedy. It’s an absolute entertainer.
After that, Sakalakala Vallaba, directed by Jacob Verghese is releasing. It’s a mainstream entertainer, but the characterisation is very different from the other one. One is a mellowed down, quiet person, whereas the other one is a porki fellow.
Right now, I’m shooting for Ramana Avatara. Post that, I have a project which is a Shashank-Yograj Bhatt production – it’s being directed by Mohan Singh.
Swathi, do you watch a lot of films? What do you feel about the portrayal of women on screen, especially Kannada cinema?
Swathi: Since I’m a book lover, I was the kind of person who’d have the ‘book vs film’ arguments. I would watch films, but the number has increased now, thanks to Rishi. I’m slowly turning into a film buff. Now, I see movies from his perspective as he always observes technical aspects. I do understand Kannada pretty well now. I don’t need subtitles also. I can speak up to a certain level, but I’m still learning. Rishi is teaching me.
As for the portrayal of women characters, I don’t think I’ve seen enough till now, but of late, there are a lot of interesting movies coming up. I haven’t seen a lot of the big commercial entertainers. I do think that women are coming into prominence now, but maybe not in the big commercial films. I haven’t watched enough to make a judgement, but I do hope they come forward and characters become on par, if not more than that of what the male actors portray.
Rishi, Kavaludaari was well-received and is now being remade too. So far, your films have been received well. Does that add some pressure? Also, will we see you act in other languages?
Rishi: There’s no pressure at all. I can take up a film only if I feel I will have a good time shooting for it. If I’ve had fun on the project making it, I believe it will translate to the screen too. If it’s not working, it’s our responsibility to see how to rectify it.
I don’t get too bothered about other things, I just go out and have fun. As for other languages, since the time Operation Alamelamma released, there have been discussions, but they haven’t worked out. People from outside have taken note of me and asked me to act in other languages. It may happen in the future, but I’m not aggressively pursuing it.