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‘Commercial films are as important as character-driven films’


Express News Service

Raashii Khanna has had quite a few films ready for release, and yet, not had a single release in the last year and a half, until last month when Tughlaq Durbar had a digital premiere. Her latest outing, the horror-comedy Aranmanai 3 marks her first theatrical release, 20 months after her last, World Famous Lover. In this conversation, she speaks on the reasons that caused this delay, her choice of roles, and her ideologies:

Excerpts from the conversation:

Given the list of films you have lined up in Tamil cinema, is it fair to say that you have steered your career away from Telugu cinema towards Tamil?
I have done quite a few Telugu films and I think it’s only fair that I now dedicate some time to Tamil films also (smiles). The love I received for Imaikkaa Nodigal (2018), my first film, was immense. But no, this doesn’t mean I have moved towards Tamil films. It simply means that I have got some good scripts, and this has happened across Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam.

How important is it that a film’s ideology be aligned with your own?
My last film, Tughlaq Durbar, might have a political backdrop but I don’t think it’s a political film. But yes, if I have to accept a role, the character I play must share my ideologies. There have been films that have been offered to me where the character was at loggerheads with my ideologies, and I have turned them down. While I want my characters to have agency, I guess I cannot expect that in every film. Sometimes, you sign a film because of the director or a co-star. In Tughlaq Durbar, I play a woman who’s rather confused by the protagonist’s treatment of her. There was a lot of importance given to my looks as director Delhi Prasad Deenadayalan wanted me to look different from my previous films. The curly hair you saw, took two hours to prepare every day.

Your latest film, Aranmanai 3, is designed to be a more ‘commercial’ film.
It is a famous franchise, and the next sequel is quite unlike any film I have done so far. For a heroine, doing such a commercial film is as important as doing character-driven films. The songs are important in these films; the track, Ratatapata, has gone viral, for instance. People who haven’t seen me in a Tamil film, have now seen me in this song. 
You are going to make your OTT debut soon.

OTT and theatre films were thought to be two different types of work, but after the pandemic, the lines seem to have blurred. I don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing, but there’s just so much content now. I don’t know which one of my two web-series will come out first—Rudra with Ajay Devgn sir or the other one with Shahid Kapoor. My work on both will be wrapped up by November.

You have also returned to Malayalam cinema with the Andhadhun remake, Bhramam.
I have wanted to do Malayalam films for a while now but couldn’t, due to time restrictions. The craft of the Malayalam film industry is brilliant. During the lockdown, I only watched Malayalam films on OTT platforms. I couldn’t have asked for a better film to be part of than Bhramam, which allowed me to work alongside Prithviraj sir and Ravi K Chandran sir. 

In Tamil, you have Sardar and Thiruchitrambalam lined up.
I will begin work on Karthi’s Sardar this month. As for Thiruchitrambalam, it has been a pleasure to work with Dhanush. Everyone knows he’s a brilliant actor; I have learnt a lot working with him. I also have some important scenes with Nithya Menen, who too is a lovely actor. I can’t wait for you all to watch these films.

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