The kate Kannada matinee idol Dr Rajkumar’s granddaughter will debut on October 8 with the Suraj Gowda directorial.
Much has been said and written about Dhanya Ramkumar, given that she is the first ‘actress’ from the Rajkumar family. Dhanya, who is making her Kannada film debut next week with the Suraj Gowda-directed Ninna Sanihake, is acutely aware of the scrutiny she is under. Despite the butterflies in her belly, as she counts down to the release of the film, she is also quite excited that audiences will finally get to see what she brings to the table. In a quick chat with OTTplay, the debutante spoke to us about all things Ninna Sanihake.
We begin by addressing the elephant in the room - Why is her debut such a big deal? “In three generations of film artistes from the family, I am the first girl. I wouldn’t say it was taboo for the ladies of the family to consider a career in showbiz, but there seemed to be this unspoken rule that it was not for them. It was just something that the women didn’t know they could do. The family has leaned on conservative ways earlier, and it was customary for the women to be married off early. Although everyone was well educated, the film industry was not something they considered getting into. But that’s been changing over the years. My uncle Shivarajkumar’s daughter Niveditha handles the productions under their home banner, while Puneeth Rajkumar’s wife Ashwini does it for their production house. I am the only one to choose a career in front of the camera, which all the elders of the family supported wholeheartedly,” she explains.
Dhanya’s mother is the late Kannada matinee idol Dr Rajkumar’s daughter Poornima, while her father, Ramkumar, is also a veteran actor. Her brother Dheeren is also gearing up for his film debut, but with him, she says, it was understood that he would be in cinema sooner or later, which was not the case with her. “Although I was quite active with extra-curricular activities, like drama, music and dance, throughout my academic life, it was never seen as something that could aid a journey in cinema. Yes, people around me always said that I should be in films and it was at the back of my mind, but I never gave it a serious thought until much later. In fact, I studied mass communication and even worked in public relations for a year, before calling it a day. I just realized that PR was not for me and that my true calling is acting. At this point, I broached the subject of getting into cinema with my mother and she was quite upbeat about it, which gave me the confidence to actively pursue it,” says Dhanya, adding, “The timing was just right. I think that if I had said this when I was straight out of college, my parents would have thought I was looking for an easy way out. But since they saw me as a working professional and that I was not happy in that space made that transition easier.”
In the days that followed, the young actress began speaking to the media about her interest, which was quickly publicized owing to her lineage and caught Suraj’s attention, who was, at the time, on the lookout for a leading lady for his film. “When I set out to get into films, I was determined that it shouldn’t seem that it came to me too easily because of my lineage. Ninna Sanihake made that happen, because it was not a home production. The team liked me after we met and I, of course, loved the script. In fact, the team was very different from what I had seen and heard of from the Kannada film industry; they were completely organized from start to finish, be it the narration, how they planned to shoot it, or even the release strategy. It seemed like the perfect launchpad,” says Dhanya.
What also appealed to the young debutante is that the role gave her ample scope to perform and a lot of screen time. “The fact that I was getting this opportunity in my first film was reason enough for me to take it up,” she quips. But did it never bother her that Suraj was, after all, only a few films old? “Honestly, it never did. I just liked the fact that I was doing a great job in the film and these guys were making me look good in it. The kind of passion the entire team had was quite something and I saw that they were willing to go that extra mile to make the film look classy,” she says.
Dhanya’s character Amrita is a dentist in the film - a spunky modern-day girl who is very vocal about what she feels and thinks and is very relatable. “But she also has a temper and trust issues, as can be seen in the trailer, which, in turn, causes problems between her and Suraj’s character,” she quips. Is Amrita anything like Dhanya? The actress giggles and adds, “I think I am suspicious by nature, much like her, so, doing those scenes were quite easy for me. However, I am not very vocal about my feelings. I prefer to keep things to myself if it is not necessary to let it out. My feelings may or may not be justified and I would not want to burden someone else because of it.”
After two attempts at a release, one in early 2020 and the other in April this year, Ninna Sanihake will be in theatres on October 8. While Dhanya is mighty pleased about the film’s date with audiences, the fact that it will only get a clear one-week window, after which two big Kannada releases might take away quite a few halls, is playing on her mind. “I actually am confident that our film will be successful in the first week and prompt more people to watch it in the following weeks too. Fingers crossed!” she signs off.