It seems ironic when actress Karthika claims that movies were not part of her career plan.
After all, her mother Radha and maternal aunt Ambika were acclaimed southern actresses just a couple of decades ago. “I’m a trained Kathak dancer and dancing interests me. Movie offers had been coming to me since I finished class 10 a couple of years ago. People wanted to see actress Radha’s daughter on screen, but we didn’t follow up on the offers,” explains the 17-year-old.
But when an offer to team up with debutant Nag Chaitanya came along, things changed. “Given that Josh was Nag’s launch vehicle, I knew I wouldn’t have much to do in the film.
But I’ve been brought up to believe that it is not quantity but quality that matters. I loved what I did and have no regrets about the film,” says Karthika.
Strangely, the young actress has followed up this unimpressive start with an art house film, Makara Manju. And it’s the quality of the subject that drove her to take it up, she says. “It’s directed by acclaimed art house director Lenin Rajendran, stars noted cinematographer-director Santosh Sivan in the lead and has Madhu Ambat handling the camera. It may be made for film festivals, but this is the best start I could get for a career in Malayalam cinema, and I’m glad it has happened very early in my career,” she asserts.
Makara Manju, Karthika explains, is not a biopic on artist Raja Ravi Varma. “The film deals with only a segment of his life, the timeline being when he was painting ‘Urvashi-Pururavasu’. I play two characters: the artist’s muse for the painting and Urvashi,” elaborates Karthika.
Although Makara Manju is to be dubbed in Hindi and English, isn’t she worried that Ketan Mehta’s Rang Rasiya, also based on Varma’s life, will steal their thunder? “I don’t think Rang Rasiya will affect us in any way. It is a much bigger production and talks about Raja Ravi Varma’s life in detail, while ours is a small, yet beautiful film that will stand out on its own,” she says. Unlike Rang Rasiya’s female lead Nandana Sen, skin show is not Karthika’s plan for the film. Makara Manju will be sensual, but not sexual,” she winds up.(TNN)