The year 2017 has started on a bright note for Sai Dhanshika. In the wake of last year’s blockbuster, Kabali, the dusky actress has been showered with awards, accolades and offers among other things.
Performing splendidly alongside Superstar definitely helped raise a few eyebrows among the cinema fraternity. In this exclusive interview, the Paradesi star speaks candidly about her Pongal memories, spiritual underpinnings, future projects, and more..
Pongal means movies!
Whenever I think about the festival, what comes first to my mind instantly — is new Tamil film releases! Apart from festive traditions and celebrations, it’s a time when all the big actors’ movies hit the screens.
My dad used to book tickets for all of us and we would watch at least two films — particularly Rajini sir’s movie — during the holidays!
Childhood Memories of the harvest festival
I grew up in Thanjavur till the age of 10 — those days, it used to be a lot of fun as we would burst crackers during Pongal also! I am a very bold person and excelled in sports right from childhood. My father used to get drums and we would wake up early on Bhogi to play them. All those are cherished memories. I am missing them after we relocated to Chennai.
I’m also fond of decorating the bulls with colour powders, ribbons and garlands. (laughs)
Fond of making sweets
Though I am not much of a sweet-lover, I am a good cook (smiles) and an expert in making paal kuzhakattai for the occasion!
My mother would distribute them to relatives and neighbours. I am a devotee of Sai Baba and on Thursdays, (which is an auspicious day for Baba) if I am free I make kesari or sakkarai pongal at home and offer the dishes to God
Life after Kabali
It has been blissful! People everywhere have started recognising me as ‘Yogi’, my character in Kabali. For the fans, ‘I am Thalaivar’s daughter’ and everyone wants to take pictures with me. It is mesmerising to see the popularity Superstar has all over the world
Film offers have been pouring in, and I cannot ask for more. I wish a sequel to Kabali happens soon!
No qualms about playing a mom to two kids in Rani
My upcoming flick, Rani is a heroine-centric one, set in Malaysia. It’s a powerful role and when my director Bani, a former associate of Samudrakani sir, narrated the script, I was floored!
It’s about a woman whose husband gets lost when he goes out of Malaysia in search of a job — and how she faces life with her two kids forms the rest of the story.
Her Madurai dialect in Kaala Koothu
This movie is based on a real-life incident and I essay a college girl from Madurai. It’s a beautiful character and I have dubbed the Madurai dialect myself. Kalaiyarasan plays the lead opposite m
Attempting Comedy for the first time
I play a two-dimensional role in Meera Kathiravan sir’s Vizhithiru, and I am attempting comedy for the first time. It was very challenging and I think I pulled it off!
Risky stunts in Kaathadi
I had committed to this movie before Kabali. Kalyan of Katha Solla Poren fame will be directing the film. It’s a road trip story, and I am excited about the many high-octane stunts in the film.
A film written for me
Uru is a psychological thriller, and when director Vicky Anand told me that he wrote the script keeping my name in mind — I was speechless.
Most parts of the film were shot in Kodaikanal in freezing four degrees celsius and at night — we had a very tough time. With each shot, I was getting hurt (shrugs). Hats off to all the heroes who tirelessly perform stunt sequences film after film!
Want to circle trees!
Unlike others, I actually want to play the typical heroine running around trees with big heroes in commercial cinema! Hope it happens soon.
Plans to conduct self-defense classes for women
I have undergone self-defense courses and learnt silambam from Pandian master. With the increasing incidents of sexual abuse on women, including the recent Bengaluru incident, I honestly feel all girls and women should equip themselves with these self-defense practices. When parents can send their girls to learn dance and music, why not self-defence courses? I am planning to take classes and impart my knowledge on this art to girls in the future.
Next big break
Sai Dhanshika has got her big break in Tollywood with the bilingual Vaalu Jada, directed by Ramana, a former assistant to Gautham Vasudev Menon and Cheran, who also worked in the Nagarjuna’s Manam.
He says,“After watching Kabali, I was convinced that Dhanshika would be the apt person for my script that touches upon a sensitive issue and carries a social message. She portrays a physical instructor. Naveen Sanjay is the hero, and realistic stunts are integrated part of the script. There’s a universal appeal to the theme, and hence we are planning a bilingual in Tamil and Telugu. The movie will be sent to international festivals with subtitles.”
Superstar and spiritualism
Rajini sir and I vibe well over spiritual conversations. During the breaks, he would explain about the powers of siddhars and mahans and the kind of life they led. He is a good listener as well, and would gladly listen to my experiences on taking to spiritualism! I miss those times.
Costumes: Silk Saree - Sri palam Silk Sarees
Makeup: Prakruthi Ananth
Hair and Saree draping: Seetha