Rajisha Vijayan awaits the theatrical release of 'Ramarao On Duty' on July 29. In this interview, the actress talks about acting alongside Ravi Teja, making a Telugu debut, what makes star heroes like Mass Maharaja, Suriya and Karthi special, and more.
I started my film career in Malayalam in 2016. Since then, I have done eleven or twelve Malayalam films and three Tamil films. 'Ramarao On Duty' is my Telugu-language debut.
I got a call from director Sarath Mandava after he saw me in the Tamil movie 'Karnan'. He told me the hero is Ravi Teja. My character's name is Malini. The narration really worked for me. When I am debuting as an actor in a new language, there has to be substance to it and scope for performance. I saw both in Malini and 'Ramarao On Duty'. More than the screen time, what matters is her importance to the story. She is a beautiful and strong woman.
I shot for my portions for 20 days or so. Due to the pandemic, it took so long to complete the film.
My dad worked in the Army as well as the CBI. Most of the time, I grew up watching Hindi-dubbed Telugu movies on Set Max. When I was in school, I watched Ravi Teja's Hindi-dubbed movies and used to think that he is a Bollywood actor (laughs). Everyone knows him in North India. He has had a wide reach since the 2000s. I have always been his fan, he is a superstar and a mass hero.
I had to shoot for a sad and depressing day on the first day of 'Ramarao On Duty' shoot. Suddenly, when Ravi Teja came on set, I found him quite sweet, humble and genuine. He treats equally everyone. He is a fun person to be with. I have one song in the movie out of four. I have scenes with Divyansha Kaushik as well.
Director Sarath is a perfectionist. There is a very strong thread in the film, which talks about a social issue from the 1990s. It's a thought-provoking scene. He had a wonderful team with him.
I am learning Telugu and haven't dubbed for my character in 'Ramarao On Duty'. I have begun dubbing in Tamil. I never learned even Malayalam in school since I grew up in North India. I learned my mother tongue at home only.
I have been associated with three film industries so far. In Tollywood, we have bigger budgets and schedules are more in number. At the end of the day, technically, we are all making cinema. Your acting differs from genre to genre. Your acting meter will be the same in all languages for the same genre. We are all breaking the language barriers in the subtitles era. Bollywood is wondering how South cinema is booming. It's because the OTT culture has given a fillip to the pan-India trend.
In Malayalam movies, script is the most important thing. Unless we lock a bound script, we don't start shooting. Writers have that much importance in Mollywood.
I have been inspired by all my male co-stars. The likes of Suriya ('Jai Bhim') and Ravi Teja have reached this place because of their immense talent and consistency. Speaking of Suriya, he is always in the character. You always have to be down-to-earth if you want to become a star. Karthi, too, is like that. He respects his co-stars.
'Sardar' in Tamil opposite Karthi is gearing up for a release (in October). 'Malayankunju' (starring Fahadh Faasil as the hero) in Malayalam was released today. I have shot four other movies in Malayalam and they are going to be released soon.
When I am acting in a movie, I am thinking in terms of how it looks on the big screen. Every technician makes a film for the big screen. It's very important that the theatrical experience is kept alive. Now that the pandemic is getting over, we are in a comfortable space. And I hope 'Ramarao On Duty' is watched by the audience in theatres.