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INTERVIEW: ‘My character in Ravanasura is a total contrast to me’, says Daksha Nagarkar


Express News Service

Making her debut in the Telugu film industry in 2015 with ‘Hora Hori’, Daksha Nagarkar has done a string of small-yet-significant roles in films like Husharu (2018) and Zombie Reddy (2020), registering her presence with the audiences here.

Ahead of Ravanasura, her biggest feature so far, Daksha talks to CE about her career, acting choices and aspirations — all while being tight-lipped about her role in the film

What made you want to be a part of Ravanasura? 

I was initially approached by the producer of the film. As soon as I heard that this project was directed by Sudheer Varma, I was excited. While narrating the film’s story to me, Sudheer sir explained to me the colour palette of Ravanasura and how the film will be painted in hues of neon. As an artist myself, I was instantly attracted to this world.

Every actor wishes to be a part of a film that has its own visual style, at least once in their career. For me to be a part of such a film, especially so early in my career, feels great. I have seen Keshava (2017), one of Sudheer sir’s earlier films, and I felt very instinctively, that is the kind of films I should be a part of. Of course, I heard that it was Ravi (Teja) sir’s film later and it was just the cherry on top! When you get a film that is both commercially viable and satisfies you as an artist — what more do you want? 

Could you speak a little about your role in the film?

I can’t reveal too much about my role in the film, we really want audiences to walk into the theatre with whatever preconceived notions they have of my role and then totally be surprised. But I will tell you a bit about how I got this exact role.

When Abhishek Nama, the producer first approached me for the film, he actually gave me a choice between a bunch of characters in the film. He felt that I could fit in well in any role that they have offered me. I later heard Srikanth Vissa (screenwriter of Ravanasura) narrate the story, following which I made a decision about the role I eventually ended up playing in the film.

The role I chose has a lot of scope for me to perform, especially considering my character in Ravanasura is a total contrast to me. 

It has been seven-odd years since you made your debut in the Telugu film industry with the Teja directorial ‘Hora Hori’. Could you reflect a bit on your career and how things are then vs now?

I was 15 when I did my first film with Teja sir. He casted me after seeing my photos from a junior pageant. That is how I got my debut film. I am from Delhi, and as a North Indian, you always hear about how open and accepting Telugu audiences are, and how they lift you up. I am very glad to be a part of this industry, it is a very happy space to be in. 

There is a four-year gap between your first and second films. Why did the long break happen?

I was all of 15, when I did my first film and since I come from an academically inclined family, I had to take a break from films to complete my studies, following which I signed my second film. Acting is a physically and mentally taxing profession and I felt strongly that I needed to be stable and strong, which I would not have been as a teenager. So I just took that time off, to grow up and mature a bit. 

How did it feel, to work in the crime genre for the first time? 

I have always been open to tackling new themes and fresh stories in my career. I played the role of a mentally disturbed girl in Hora Hori. Husharu, my second film, had this Dil Chahta Hai (2001), buddy comedy vibe to it. And as you all know, Zombie Reddy was the first zombie film in the Telugu film industry.

Ravanasura is a very different kind of film, you cannot put it in any boxes or categories as such. I want to do all kinds of films, even the ones where a girl is dancing behind trees, but I am choosing whatever catches my interest at the moment. I am very young and I can be moulded into anything a director visualises. 

Could you speak a bit about your experience working with Ravi Teja?

Till my first day on the sets, only till I met him for the first time, I was under this cloud, of working with the ‘great Ravi Teja’, the ‘mass maharaja’ and whatnot. The few seconds after I met him, all those illusions fell apart in the best way. Sir is just like us, he would crack jokes, lightening up the atmosphere on the sets.

He would switch on and off between action and cut effortlessly, he is not one of those serious method actors. In addition to being extremely humble, he is also a very secure and giving actor. When you do a scene with him, he will not hog your space, he will let you have your moment. 

What kind of future do you see for yourself in the industry?

Growing up, I was a huge fan of Madhuri Dixit. Among contemporary actresses, I really like Alia Bhatt. These are the actors known for their versatility, they do all kinds of roles. That is also the kind of career I see myself having, where I do both commercial and author-backed roles. 

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