Reflecting the idea of the popular talk show that she presents, Dhanya Varma's persona is all about finding happiness in what she does each day.
Be it working with national media as a journalist or emceeing various shows and television programmes, she takes life easy and prefers to attempt things that excite her and challenge her. The anchor, who says that it is her never-ending wish to associate with creative people and story-telling that has brought her back to television even after taking breaks from her career at its peak point, is enthusiastic to share her experience of working in Pathinettam Padi, the first movie directed by scriptwriter Shanker Ramakrishnan.
“Pathinettam Padi just happened. The director of the movie, Shanker Ramakrishnan, had met me at the screening of my first film Humans of Someone at IFFK. Humans... was directed by Sumeshlal who is a good friend of mine as we have been associating on a professional front for many years now. Thus working for the movie was just like doing a project with a group of friends.
Moreover, it was not a commercial movie either. However, Pathinettam Padi was a unique and new experience for me as I got to be a part of the process that goes into making a commercial movie, which I feel is much more complex. Vinu Janardhanan who is assisting Shanker in the movie was also the producer of my talk show. May be they might have felt that I could fit into the role of a journalist,” says Dhanya. The anchor admits that that the movie has finally given her a chance to closely observe and experience the process of movie making that has always been a fascination for her.
Ask her about the greatest lesson she learned from associating with Pathinettam Padi and pat comes the reply, “Passion and patience are the two characteristics that I feel are mandatory for a person who loves cinema and wants to associate with it in whatsoever way. Unlike other jobs wherein each person has a fixed role, cinema is about everyone associated with it. From the director to the spot boy, everyone has the passion and perseverance to work day and night to make a good movie. Each person might have a suggestion that can make the particular movie an outstanding one.”
Apart from exploring the movie-making process, Dhanya says that one of the biggest challenges that she had to face while shooting for the movie was to memorise the dialogues. “Even when I am anchoring a television programme or emceeing I present things in my own words. Therefore it was a bit challenging task to memorise the dialogues for Pathinettam Padi. I also have a scene with Prithviraj, an actor known for his dialogue delivery,” laughs Dhanya, adding that it is this ability of a creative media to make her a nuanced person that makes her much more responsible towards it.
But, how could a person so much in love with cinema not start acting before? Moreover, working in media would have certainly helped her make her way to cinema? “I would say that there is a right time for everything and one only succeeds in what he/she does if done at the right time. I have no qualms that I couldn’t do movies right from a young age. Though I had cracked the entrance exam to the film institute that I had written without my parents' knowledge, I was not allowed to go there.
They were not comfortable with me acting in movies, but were happy with my television career. Even while working as a journalist, I had some movie offers that came my way, but somehow things didn’t work out. I was even offered a role in director Hariharan’s movie Prem Pujari. And as far as I was concerned, I never felt a need to fight for that as well because I was already very happy and content in what I was doing. As a journalist, I was listening to new stories each day and narrating them to the world, something very similar to what movies do. I am more of an experience-oriented person and like to invest my time in studying and learning new things each day that makes me a better person. I would attribute this to the creative gene I have. I never regret a bad day or get over-excited about a good day. What bothers me is the new lesson that I learn from being in a situation each day.”
On her future plans, Dhanya says that she would like to associate with more movies while taking care of her family and three children. “Taking a break from my job was my decision to be with my family and I never regretted that. My husband Commander Vijay Verma is in the Indian Navy and when he goes out to take care of our fellow citizens, I chose to take care of my family. Therefore, coming back to work and doing something that I like in the career front too has to be my decision. Family willdefinitely remain my priority, but that doesn't mean that I will compromise on my dreams, to pursue which I feel age is never a barrier.”
It must be the confidence with which Dhanya takes decisions and her outlook towards life that makes her a happy person....