Besides acting, Shivani Rajashekar is doing her third year MBBS in Hyderabad while managing her actor–dad Rajashekar’s work. Shivani has no qualms in admitting that managing work and studies is all rather challenging, but neither is she the kind who seems like she’ll back away from a good challenge.
“When I was in my first year of medicine, I was pretty free and was able to sail through it. Then, during my second year, I entered films, and that’s when I got a taste of how challenging my future days would be,” she states simply.
And yet, the youngster managed to somehow find balance in all of it. But then, when in her MBBS third year, Shivani had to endure major crises in the family. She, her mother and sister were down with COVID-19. While they recovered quickly, the infection got her actor-dad rather severely.
“All these issues took a toll on me, not only physically but also mentally,” she recounts. “I was trying to study on the hospital beds, but it was difficult. Eventually, after I recovered, I began focusing on my studies.”
Woebegone but not gone
Just as life began to look up, the actress had to go undergo supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) surgery in December. SVT is an abnormally fast heart rhythm because of improper electrical activity in the upper part of the heart.
“I’ve been suffering from SVT for a long time,” says the www actress. “It’s a scenario where my heart beat raises rapidly, and because of my recent emotional and family stress, my condition relapsed because of which I had to undergo surgery.”
Life has moved on since and the actress, who is currently attending online classes, tells us she is doing fine now. More importantly, Shivani has been shooting for two Tamil films. In the meanwhile, she has also wrapped up shooting for two Telugu films (Who Where Why (www) and an yet-untitled film directed by Mallik Ram).
All said and done, the stress the actress has undergone is undeniable. And Shivani doesn’t shy away from admitting it. “Although it has been a short journey, it has been very challenging and a learning experience,” she adds.
To Shivani, the part about managing her father’s films came naturally after the family took a voluntary decision to manage his works by themselves.
Explaining further, she recollects how she and her sister used to be at her father’s film sets since childhood.
“So our father’s films excite us more than ours do,” she says. “But I think it was during the 2017-film PSV Garuda Vega when our family started handling his work. While my mother Jeevitha looks after the finances, my sister Shivatmika and I take care of his shooting- and production-related aspects.”
Having been on film sets since childhood and having a production house (her uncle’s) have come in handy now, what she claims has been an exciting phase of her journey.
It was probably also when Shivani began realising that cinema is a cumulative creative effort of several people. “For instance, while I am on production, I can see people from different crafts and ideologies come together, believe and help the director accomplish his visions for the film. It takes a lot of effort to bring in all the people together on to the same page,” she says with a smile, adding that she enjoyed working in films.
Learning from the best
In fact, it was after she began looking at the nuance of the whole craft from various perspectives, she tells us, that she began understanding that acting and producing are two faces of a coin.
“Producing is definitely more taxing and daunting because the entire project is happening under our noses; so we need to look at the film in its totality. Acting, on the other hand, is just confined to our own selves,” she elaborates, maintaining that she wants to enjoy the best of both worlds — studies and films.
Even as we share with her our admiration for how hard she has been striving to leave a mark in anything she does, she tells us that it’s her family that inspires her to push herself.
“Family comes first,” she states matter-of-factly. “The encouragement my parents gave me and the sacrifices they’ve made always inspires to give my best in whatever I do. I draw my energies from them.”