While the small screen has been the favoured rite of passage for actresses to gain an entry into the august halls of Sandalwood, this pretty face has been among the popular few portraying a female-centric role in one of the top ranked Kannada TV soaps that’s more than 1,000 episodes-strong, Puttagowri Maduve, which has been running for around three years.
Its title song too, Idu Puttagowriya Maduve... is the rage amongst die-hard fans. Ranjani Raghavan, who plays the character Puttagowri, started with hopes of being a playback singer, and is today among the most sought-after newcomers, with two promising ventures already in her kitty — Rajahamsa and Subba Subbi. She speaks to Bengaluru Chronicle about her journey from being a trained Carnatic vocalist to playing Subbi on the big screen.
“Essentially, I am a Carnatic singer. In fact, I had never dreamt of being an actor. I was studying B.Com when I went for an audition for a TV serial. It was just ‘time pass’ for me, and I performed a mono act and surprisingly, I was selected. However, the serial never took off but when I started watching plays, I was fascinated with theatre and got involved in the theatre group Roopantara, working in various capacities,” says Ranjani Raghavan.
Her next stop was when she was offered a supporting role as a sister to the protagonist in another TV serial. “While I was shooting for Akashadeepa, I got an offer for Puttagowri Maduve. I had to quit the other serial, and this changed everything for me, as I have been associated with the serial for about three years and it has given me lots of love and recognition. I feel blessed when people meet me and consider me as their own daughter, and relate with Puttagowri’s character so warmly,” she shares.
Despite several film offers, Ranjani says that she rejected most in her initial days. Then, a year ago, she came across the script of Rajahamsa which left her impressed. “It is indeed a unique film that talks about the effects of globalisation on culture. I play the role of a serious girl. The film delves into culture and tradition, which still exists in rural India but is fading in the urban community. It’s like two stories embedded in one film with two separate families with different approaches to life,” the actress explains.
Unlike most actresses who preferred to quit studies and embraced acting as their sole profession, Ranjani continued her studies, attending regular college just like any other student, pursuing an MBA at MVIT College.
“I was in the last semester of graduation when I entered the small screen, but I continued with the MBA. I plan to do further research if time permits in the future. I have always been studious, a first bencher! My parents initially resisted the idea (of acting), but with the kind of love and respect I have earned, they changed their minds,” she shares.
In Subba Subbi, she acts with Anup Govind, the son of KFCC president Sa Ra Govind, in his second venture. She finally plays a fun-loving girl, a complete change from her “emotional and weeping” image in the serial. She still aspires to do playback singing as her Carnatic training is very dear to her.
“While there is not much of a difference in TV and cinema, the small screen has helped me a lot, as I was not treated as a debutante but as a professional. Once the serial ends, the audience will forget but in cinema, it’s different,” says Ranjani. Before “singing” off she reveals that she loves to drive, listens to music on high volume when alone in her room!