She took up theatre during graduation just to tick off some attendance requirements. But, it’s funny how something that came into one’s life as an excuse can suddenly turn into a major part of it. Slowly, theatre became a hobby (havyasi) for her, and eventually she started performing plays with Vedike, which involves senior theatre artists. Bhavani Mallela, who is the new face of Gangaa, a popular Kannada tele-serial, quit her corporate job after she was offered the role. A sports enthusiast, adventure traveller with a vision to build her own start-up in finance, speaks to Bengaluru Chronicle about the change in roles and how theatre became such a large part of her, and more.
“I come from a conservative family with no acting background. It was during my commerce graduation at Jain College, I enrolled into theatre classes. To be frank, I took it for the sake of attendance. Eventually, it became a serious hobby and I started pursuing it along with studies. For over a year, I was part of the theatre club called Vedike, which is popular amongst veterans and senior artistes from the theatre fraternity. I even performed in a couple of plays. Till then, it was all about havyasi (for hobby) rangabhoomi. During one such plays at Kalagrama, the Gangaa team saw me, and offered me the grown up role of Gangaa,” says Bhavani.
Bhavani who was already working for a corporate company through campus recruitment took a step into the lights with that. “If not for the team, especially Swapna Krishna Madam who convinced my parents, it wouldn’t have been possible for me to quit my job and take up Gangaa’s role. The episodes with my role replacing the small girl as Gangaa, has just started airing and I couldn’t thank the whole team of Gangaa enough as they had immense faith in me, and most importantly my friends and parents also stood by me on this challenging new path,” she adds.
The serial Gangaa, which is a remake of a Hindi serial with the same title, initially faced criticism for portraying a minor girl getting married and becoming a widow soon. Bhavani, who had been following the earlier teleserial quite closely says according to her personal point of view, children these days are getting influenced on various issues through social media at a very young age. “The main intention of this serial is to give a social message highlighting how such bizarre customs and rituals imposed affect young minds. There is an awareness to impart, and a lesson to be learnt.”
Straight from theatre to serials, the actress went through workshop for a few days to understand the aesthetics of the small screen. “Swapna Krishna madam, who produces and directs the serial, helped me in learning the basic skills to suit the character. I was never this girlish. In fact, I had never worn a saree but I have to wear it for the role, may be throughout my tele-serial journey as well,” she says. A Kabaddi, throwball and kho kho champion in schools, Bhavani has represented Bengaluru and Hubli. She wants to continue studies, taking up a masters, and also start her own company in finance one day. The adventurer signs off saying that she loves riding her bullet whenever time permits, along with long drives and swimming, which are her favourite chill out activities.