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Exclusive! Everyone's making so much OTT content; Kannada should too: Dhanya Balakrishna

The actress is currently in Hyderabad, shooting for the second season of the Telugu web series, Loser.

Prathibha Joy
Sep 09, 2021
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Dhanya Balakrishna

Bengaluru girl Dhanya was nearly 25 films old with projects in Tamil and Telugu when she finally got her Kannada movie break with the Rishi-starrer Sarvajanikarige Suvarnavakaasha. Two years and two completed films later, Dhanya is keenly waiting for them to release and make inroads in Sandalwood.

“I have Nodi Swamy Ivanu Irode Heege, a film directed by Islahuddin NS, in which I am paired with Rishi yet again. This is a black comedy about not giving up on life. My third film is 2020, a fun film in which I am paired with Komal sir. It is a comedy about life in the pandemic and will be an absolute laugh riot,” says the actress, adding that she is also expecting her Tamil film Carbon, in which she is paired with Vidharth, to open in theatres shortly.

Waiting for things to work out is not new to Dhanya. After years of consciously doing supporting roles at the start of her film career, she had stepped back to propel herself to doing lead roles only. “Honestly, I think that’s the toughest thing I have ever done, because people in the industry and audiences tend to associate you with certain kind of roles, like, for instance, the heroine’s friend. How can someone like that suddenly romance a hero then? But I was determined on breaking that image and declined offers for supporting roles even in big films, to the extent of going without work for a year. It was a do-or-die situation – I had come this far, and I was determined to make it work for me,” she says. Slowly, her gamble began paying off, with lead roles, albeit in smaller films. “But these were creatively satisfying characters and great scripts that I have no regrets being a part of them. They helped me grow as an artiste,” she adds.

Films apart, Dhanya has also been actively exploring the OTT space in the past few years. “I don’t know why, but there aren’t too many OTT platforms that are currently investing in Kannada content. Even the films that were planned for theatrical releases, but had to resort to OTT outings eventually because of the pandemic, did not get a lot of money, which is probably why Kannada filmmakers are clamoring for movie halls to reopen at full capacity. In contrast, there is so much work happening in Malayalam, Telugu and Tamil with regard to OTT content. Look at how the Malayalam film industry adapted to the changing dynamics of content consumption. They are riding a wave of great content. Fahadh (Faasil) is even being called the superstar of OTT. Right now, for instance, I am in Hyderabad, where I am shooting for a web series for Zee 5 Telugu. This is the second season of the show Loser. People are exclusively shooting for OTT platforms and that should happen in Kannada too,” says the actress.

Loser, she adds, is a sports drama with three parallel tracks that follow a shooter who is aiming for the Olympics, a badminton player who wants to become a champ and a cricketer. “At some point, they all meet, and figure out how to use each other to get to their goals. It is an out-and-out sports drama and transpires in three different time periods – one is in the 80s, another in the 90s and the third in the early 2000s. The first season came out in 2020 and did well, so the makers were asked to come back for another season,” she signs off.

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