Actress Raashi Khanna: Smaller Films, Too, Work These Days Cinema News
Her first film in Tamil is yet to hit the screens, but she already has three biggies in her kitty. Having established herself in Tollywood as a leading heroine, Raashi Khanna is elated to have landed interesting roles in Tamil as well. So far, she has been part of projects which also star the likes of Anurag Kashyap, Nayanthara, Vijay Sethupathi and Siddharth — one of the reasons why the actress hopes to make it big in Kollywood, too. All excited about pairing opposite Vishal and Nithin in her upcoming Tamil and Telugu films respectively, she opens up about her ambitions, singing career, favourite co-stars, and more, in a tête-à-tête with us.
You have three films — Imaikkaa Nodigal, Shaitan Ka Bachcha and Adanga Maru – coming up in Tamil. What are your expectations?
To be honest, none. I’m happy to have played crucial characters in all these films, which I think is the most important thing. Imaikkaa Nodigal has Atharvaa opposite me. Every character in the film is a well-etched one. Be it Nayanthara’s, Anurag’s or Sethupathi’s, who plays a cameo in it. In Adanga Maru, with Jayam Ravi, I play a matured girl, a character which is close to my heart. I play someone who stands shoulder to shoulder with a man. It is not run-of-the-mill kind stuff — I don’t appear as a dumb girl who is there as a glam doll. It is a role which I could relate to my real-life persona. I’m quite excited and confident about the works I have done here.
So, your Kollywood entry seems to be a happening one...
You obviously get to learn a lot from all of them. Though I didn’t share screen space with Nayanthara, I have been hearing a lot about her from the time I entered the industry. Anurag is the most chilled out person I have ever worked with. His thought process is different and he is full of out-of-the-box ideas. He suggested that I should be part of small-budget, non-commercial flicks. Similarly, Siddharth is one of the most amazing actors I have worked with. He is uninhibited, and that’s how an actor should be.
What are the criteria based on which you choose films?
Times have changed, smaller films, too, work these days if the content is strong. So, the script comes first for me. My character and story are of prime importance. I look for character-driven movies, and I’m happy that I’m getting such projects. I want to be part of films that provide space for me to prove my mettle. Those that just need my presence are a complete ‘no’. I don’t want people to categorise me as ‘commercial heroine’. I should be able to fit myself into any kind of film.
So, did you decide that you will only take up roles that are different from the ones you did in Tollywood, when it comes to Tamil films?
Not really. All I looked for was films that have a novelty value in terms of content and characters. I hardly found any difference between Kollywood and Tollywood. Things have changed a lot — you can’t differentiate between industries anymore, saying that Telugu cinema is all about commercial elements and Tamil cinema is content-based. It all depends on the director’s vision and team efforts. In both the industries, I have found people to be very passionate about cinema.
Your Tamil debut was late. Is it because you waited to establish yourself in Telugu?
Honestly speaking, I never planned my career. I have been signing back-to-back Telugu films. Though some Tamil offers came in between, I just waited for the right film to come my way. In fact, I don’t prioritise movies based on languages. I did a Malayalam film, too, last year. What matters is impressive content.
Be it Imaikkaa Nodigal or your Malayalam film, Villain — they had big names. Was it the reason you said ‘yes’ to them?
Both the films had well-woven characters, coupled with other factors. Everything was put together meaningfully. The kind of appreciation I received for Villain was beyond my expectations. I’m content that I could leave a mark despite the huge star cast — there was Mohanlal sir, Vishal and Hansika.
Very few actresses have managed to strike a balance between Tamil and Telugu industries. What are your plans?I am particular about not taking a break from any of the industries. But ultimately, it is not in one’s hands. It depends on the scripts I get from both the industries. That said, yes, I would like to maintain a balance between both.
Will you also dub in Tamil?
Well, I haven’t decided, yet. I had a tutor before we started Imaikaa Nodigal to teach me the basics of the language. People think I can manage Tamil. I might dub for my character.
How do you prepare for your roles?
I need a bound script in hand. I’ m not someone who comes to the set, do something and leave. I want to know what happens in every scene, and not just in those that I appear. Everybody on the set says I ask a lot of questions. I think that’s how you grow as an actor. I try to get involved in the various aspects of filmmaking.
South actresses are quite happy doing films down south, and do not seem keen on doing B’wood films...
It’s true. I’m proud of the assignments that come my way in south films. So, I really don’t see any reason why successful actresses down south should step into Bollywood, except for the comparatively greater visibility factor. Since a long time, south films have been doing better in terms of content. So, I never had a conscious thought of doing Hindi films.
But I will consider it if I’m approached with good offers.
You have also sung in films... sometimes in different languages
I always wanted to be a singer. Hailing from a middle-class family, I had to concentrate more on my studies. I was a geek in school, but used to participate in singing competitions. As I grew up, my priorities changed. Later, people noticed that I have a good voice. That’s how I started singing in films. It was actually a dream come true. One day, I hope to sing in Tamil as well. I would like to take my singing career to next level.
Any dream role? What was that one character that made you feel you should have done it?
Any role that challenges me will be a dream role for me; so, nothing in particular as such. In the recent times, I have been hearing a lot about Mahanati. I heard that Keerthy has given a fantastic performance. I’m so happy for her and others in the film, too.