The Mumbai-based actress with Mangalurean roots got her big break in Sandalwood after emerging winner of a national campus pageant.
After Ninnindale, Erica did only one more film in Kannada
Erica Fernandes is a popular name in Hindi showbiz, given her extensive work on TV, whether it is Kasautii Zindagii Kay or Kuch Rang Pyar ke Aise Bhi, among others. But when she made her entry into films and television, her biggest claim to fame was that she had won a campus pageant run by a leading English daily. As the national winner, Erica’s pictures were splashed across all editions across the country, and soon enough, she was doing films in Tamil, Kannada, Hindi and Telugu.
Erica’s Sandalwood debut was a big deal. The film, Ninnindale, paired her with Power Star Puneeth Rajkumar, who had not had a release in a year, so all eyes were on the movie. Directed by Tollywood filmmaker Jayanth C Paranji, the film was the debut venture of Hombale Films and shot primarily in the US. While the fresh pairing of Puneeth and Erica was widely appreciated, the film did not meet expectations.
Around that time, though, it seemed that every actor worth his salt wanted to be paired with Erica. Immediately after Ninnindale, she was announced as the heroine of a film with Challenging Star Darshan, as well as one with Golden Star Ganesh. While the latter, Buguri, took off and released in 2015, Erica’s Darshan film did not materialize, at least for her. AP Arjun’s Mr Airavata was initially announced with Darshan and Erica in the lead, but she was subsequently replaced. The rumour in the industry was that Erica’s petite physique was to blame. Since Darshan had bulked up for his role as a police officer in the film, the makers apparently felt that he would be mismatched with Erica, who had lost more weight since her time in Ninnindale. The role subsequently went to Urvashi Rautela and Erica never returned to Kannada cinema.