Rashmika Mandanna is stoked to see all the love her recent Telugu release Pushpa: The Rise is receiving from audiences across the country and the actor hopes people also welcome her upcoming Hindi films Mission Majnu and Goodbye.
The actor, who recently completed five years in the film industry, made her acting debut in 2016 with Kannada movie Kirik Party. She followed it up with successful outings in Telugu films Geetha Govindam, Devadas, Dear Comrade, Sulthan (Tamil) and Yajamana (Kannada), among others. Mandanna, 25, is thrilled about her foray in Bollywood with Sidharth Malhotra-led spy-thriller Mission Majnu and Amitabh Bachchan's Goodbye.
"One of my films that was released at the end of 2021 was Pushpa. And I am super grateful that every year I have had a release. I have had hits before COVID-19 and all these years also and I hope in 2022 also this will continue.
"I hope the Hindi films that I am associated with, Mission Majnu and Goodbye, do well. I am super glad that these two films happened. With Pushpa, the year ended on a high note," Mandanna told PTI in an interview.
Set in the 1970s, Mission Manju follows the story of India's most courageous mission in the heart of Pakistan that forever changed the relationship between the two nations. The film is directed by Shantanu Baagchi and produced by Ronnie Screwvala of RSVP, and Amar Butala and Garima Mehta for Guilty By Association Media. Sharib Hashmi and Kumud Mishra also round out the cast of the film.
Helmed by Queen director Vikas Bahl, Goodbye — said to be a father-daughter story — is a Balaji Telefilms and Reliance Entertainment production. It also features Neena Gupta and Pavail Gulati. Both the films are scheduled for release this year.
Recalling how she bagged her first Hindi project Mission Majnu, the actor revealed that the offer came to her during the first lockdown. And two months later, she was cast for another Bollywood movie, Goodbye.
"I got a call for Mission Majnu as they were searching for a fresh face but at the same time someone with experience. They reached (out) to me. It is a film which I wouldn't have done if it wasn't my Hindi film. Mission Majnu is an experiment for me, I hope it works well, she said. Goodbye happened after Mission Majnu was confirmed.
"I got a call from a friend about the film who asked if I would be interested. I read the script and felt I had to be part of it even before I got to know about the actors involved in the film. "It is the story that led me to do the film. And me getting to work with Amitabh Bachchan was icing on the cake. It was an honour to be working with him." The actor said she got "super attached" to the cast and crew of Mission Majnu and Goodbye.
Refelcting on the response to Pushpa which chronicles the red sanders heist in the hills of Andhra, Mandanna said the success of the film shows that the language and culture barriers are disappearing. People are gravitating towards content from different parts of India, she added.
Asked if the response to Pushpa in the Hindi-speaking market will help her in garnering attention for her upcoming Bollywood films, the actor said, People will see a different me in these films. It will help but I don't know how much."
In Sukumar-directed Pushpa, she played a village belle Srivalli, who Mandanna believes brings a breather in the action-packed drama entertainer. Telugu star Allu Arjun plays the title role in the film, which was released theatrically on December 17, 2021. "Srivalli has her own innocence, is very subtle, naughty and yet bold, strong. She brings a breather to the film for it all to be overwhelming. Like the boys are doing all the action and when he comes to Srivalli there is subtle romance, entertainment, she said.
The key reason to board the cast of Pushpa, Mandanna said, was its world and the challenges it threw at her.
"I was able to enter into the new world, the mannerisms, the language, dialect (Rayalaseema), and behaviour... It is different from what I am like as an actor. Besides the opportunity to perform with Allu Arjun and director Sukumar for which I'm truly grateful, Pushpa fascinated me. The actor is now looking forward to beginning work on the film's follow-up Pushpa: The Rule. Produced by Mythri Movie Makers in association with Muttamsetty Media, the second chapter will go on floors in March.