You’ve seen her in a plethora of Telugu films playing the role of a supporting character and now even donning the lead role. But not many know that actress Dhanya Balakrishna is a proper Kannadathi. The theatre and film actor, who’s born and brought up in the ooru, is kicked about her debut Kannada film Sarvajanikarige Suvarnavakasha, in which she stars opposite Rishi.
Talking about how the project came along, she shares, “I’ve been a part of a theatre group called Evam in Chennai. Apart from that, I’ve been a part of other theatre groups too. There’s a director called Giriraj who I was doing plays with.
Through him, I got to know about Sarvajanikarige and since the producers are Teluguites, they knew that I was part of Tollywood. They were shocked to know that I’m a Kannadiga! The irony of my life is that I’ve done 20 films in other languages and I’m only making my Kannada debut now.” Having worked with a young team in her KFI debut, Dhanya was glad to be able to pitch her own ideas for the film.
The film Sarvajanikarige is about how the hero manages to pull in money in 24 hours. “When he’s pushed to the corner and pressurised to make money, he brings out his most creative side to get himself out of this problem,” reveals Dhanya.
From being a supporting actress in hit films like Seethamma Vakitlo and Raja Rani to finally playing the lead, Dhanya faced several challenging situations to get where she is today. “This was the biggest step up that I had to do. Initially, when I got into films, I thought this is how one should grow. But I ended up getting stereotyped as people started saying ‘she acts well and has good presence, but she’s already done a small role.’ I then regretted doing supporting roles — I had no one to guide me. But all the films I did character roles in, went onto become blockbusters. Even now, people say I’ve done a good job in Raja Rani. That’s when I realised I might have made an impact with my small roles.”
The jump to playing lead roles was tough as Dhanya had to stop playing character roles for a year, which means she had no work during that period.
“People would think I had stopped acting, but I was preparing for something bigger. Soon, the industry people got to know and then, I slowly started doing leads,” she says.
As for Sandalwood, Dhanya states that she’s being offered projects, but she will do films only with well-established actors or if the script is extremely good. “That’s the pattern I follow in every industry. I dream of working with Puneeth Rajkumar sir and Yash,” smiles Dhanya who’s also doing an experimental fun film called Flip Flop with Rishi, again.
Coming back to her B’luru days, Dhanya divulges that she did her schooling in MES and later went onto study in Mount Carmel College. “My parents still live here. I also live here although I travel a lot for shoots. I do my laundry here, so this is my base!” she quips....