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Ramya rules

She’s on top of the Kannada film industry. Listen to the girl and you’ll know why, says BHUMIKA K.


Ramya is in an enviable spot. She’s 27, crowned the Golden Girl of Kannada filmdom, has over 15 Kannada hits behind her, five new releases over the month, has acted with directors and actors that’s every young star’s dream, and even finds good favour in the rival Tamil film industry.

Her latest film “Mussanje Maatu” with Sudeep as co-star, just opened yesterday. And Ramya is now on a much-needed break.

“Last Sunday was the first day in seven months that I really got to sleep,” says the busy actress. You couldn’t have missed the romantic posters all over town, with Ramya in a cerulean salwar-kameez and glasses! It’s her first Kannada release of the year and comes after a one-year hiatus. She’s nervous.

“I rejected seven films last year and my manager almost quit thinking ‘Madam’s quit!’,” she laughs. She loves the role that debutant director Mahesh has given her in the film. “I don’t like modern arrogant roles. I don’t think I can carry western wear. I’m a very shy person and put my head down and walk,” she proclaims, leaving me with such a contra-image to what I have of her. And she prefers working with debutant directors because they are open to suggestions. “They take much more care and are innovative when it comes to their shots. More experienced directors have to live up to their earlier reputation,” she observes.

Many of her films like “Excuse Me”, “Arasu”, and “Jothe Jotheyali”, have all been with first-time directors. She stormed through the industry with a hat-trick of hits in her kitty — “Akash”, “Gowramma” and “Amrutha Dhaare” in 2005 — and then decided to do an acting course in Mumbai.

And then she did “Julie”, a remake of the Malayalam “Chattakkari” and Hindi “Julie”, where she plays a single unwed mother. “I did Julie because I wanted to. I knew it wouldn’t do well. I know how people like to see me — as a salwar-clad homey girl, the kind that you would take home. But in a song, they want me to be glamorous. I am particular about the character I play.”

It’s tough being on top, she admits, but not before asking me tongue-in-cheek, “Really? Am I?” when I ask her about her fears of being branded Number One. “I did an acting course after I did nine films. The media made me number one. Of course I have my fears and apprehensions…I know that what I am today, I won’t be tomorrow.” Why is the Kannada film industry so flooded with non-Kannada actresses? “Last year the industry made 150 films. I’m the only girl left (competitors Rakshitha and Radhika aren’t acting any more). I feel bad. I’m a Kannadiga and I should be doing all the films, but I can’t do them all!!”

In the Tamil film industry, Ramya goes by the name Divya Spandana. She’s done about four films already and Gautham Menon’s “Vaaranam Aayiram” co-starring Surya, is slated for release. If fans were complaining about only one release last year, now they better watch out for “Bhimoo’s Bang Bang Kids”, “Antu Intu Preeti Bantu”, and “Bombaat”. Ramya defends criticism against the quality of Kannada films, saying “You can’t expect them to spend crores and make a film when there are not enough people watching. Very few make it abroad. Kannada films cater mainly to Kannadigas, unlike Tamil and Hindi, and therefore small budget films are made.”

“Even then, it’s increased from three crore when I started to about six crore now. We don’t spend much, hence we are not technically so good. But criticism has helped and now more directors are willing to take risks and make better films. There are a few good banners that make quality niche films. But most are making movies in a hurry.”

Her latest avatar is as cheering ambassador for Bangalore’s Royal Challengers. What made her do that?

“It’s the Bangalore team! Namma ooru! I’ll do anything. It’s like my home, my school…though I’ve not watched much cricket.

Ya, I’m sort of upset with the performance. We could do much better. I’m sure Mr. Mallya is making changes to get it better.”

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