When Neelambari became Sivagami

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | ANUPAMA SUBRAMANIAN
Published May 13, 2017, 12:45 am IST
Updated May 13, 2017, 12:45 am IST
Too many iconic roles, too many vivid memories. Ramya Krishnan talks about the latest — Sivagami from the Baahubali series!
Ramya Krishnan as Sivagami in Baahubali
 Ramya Krishnan as Sivagami in Baahubali

Actress Ramya Krishnan has been in the spotlight across the country and for good reason. She is in a state of ecstasy and is yet to come out of Rajamatha Sivagami Devi’s character that she portrayed with panache in the Baahubali series. With the kind of accolades and laurels pouring on her ever since Rajamouli’s magnum opus got released, Ramya’s excitement is understandable and justified. In an exclusive to DC, she gets candid about how she nearly turned down the offer, how dubbing her own voice enhanced her role multiple times, and her forthcoming films among other things.

“Baahubali has given me huge recognition for my work. I have no words to thank the makers and director for the trust they had in me that I would pull off the dynamic character which was the fulcrum of the script,” the actress starts her conversation. We hear that the role of Sivagami was first offered to Sridevi. “May be! When producer Shobu sir approached me for the first time, they said they needed a quite a chunk of my dates. I was busy with my other commitments and turned it down politely. At that time, though I knew it was a big budget film, I didn’t imagine it would be in such a huge scale and was not aware of the two parts either. A week later, once again Shobu called up and requested me to listen to the script and then decide. Somewhere in the middle of the listening session, I was literally floored and didn’t want to let go the opportunity. I gave my nod immediately. Imagine, how it would have been a lifetime regret had I stuck to my earlier decision.” (shrugs)

 

Ramya with Kamal Haasan, Shruti and Akshara Haasan and the Sabash Naidu crewRamya with Kamal Haasan, Shruti and Akshara Haasan and the Sabash Naidu crew

On the references for the role, she says, “Rajamouli sir came with a complete story board, including the looks and accessories for each and every character he had envisaged. His wife, Rama Rajamouli, designed my looks. My body language, voice modulation, etc., were taught by Rajamouli and I simply aped him. Even the first look where I raise the baby from under water, before I die, which received lot of appreciation, was his idea!”

Incidentally, Ramya is the only actress from the film, who has dubbed her own voice in Tamil and Telugu. “Filmmakers did not accept my voice initially till Padayappa happened. Thanks to Rajini sir and KS Ravikumar sir, who persuaded me to try my voice for the dominating role of ‘Neelambari’, despite me telling them that my voice was a reject earlier. And you know how it worked out big time finally! Till then I did not realise that a scene could be elevated with one’s own voice. For Baahubali, writer Vijayendra Prasad garu was very particular that I do the dubbing. ‘Otherwise,’ he said, ‘the character would lose its significance.’ The different tone and dubbing at the top of my voice was a bit tough,” elaborates Ramya.

The pretty lady has next been roped in for a key character in Suriya’s Thaana Serndha Koottam. “It’s a beautiful character with a different shade. It is neither negative nor positive.” About Sabaash Naidu with Kamal Haasan, she says, “Performance-wise, it will be an extraordinary film and everyone knows Kamal’s flair for comedy. Akin to the ‘Maggy’ character that I played in Panchathanthiram with Kamal sir, here I am ‘Naiduma’!” Her other films include two Telugu movies and one Kannada with Puneeth Rajkumar.

The moment you ask about the rumours of her split with her husband and T’town director Krishna Vamsi, Ramya gets upset. “It is the media and press who cook up stories and yet, you want me to clarify things. I know how we live and I feel it is degrading even to clarify something, which I consider impertinent.”

On the possibility of foraying into politics, she quips, “I didn’t expect even in my wildest dreams that a career-changing film like Baahubali would happen to me. Similarly, I don’t know what the future holds. If it comes, well, I will think about it then. But all said and done, one can serve the society even without being in politics.”

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