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Friday, August 10, 2007

Interview with Mamta Mohandas


Mamta Mohandas. The hottest heroine in town! She is the new sensation in Tollywood. Like Illeana made a lot of buzz with her maiden film, Devadas, Mamta Mohandas is creating stir now even before her first film, Yamadonga, hits the marquee. Though the smashing beauty was replaced in couple of films before Yamadonga happened, she didn't give up and strived hard to get a foothold and already won a name for herself as a singer. She sung hit numbers like 'Rakhi..Rakhi' from Rakhi, '36 ..24..36..' from Jagadam, 'Akaleste Annampeduta..' from Shankardada Zindabad 'O Lammi Tikkareginda..' in Yamadonga and became an household name with them. she is busy with the Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam films. Here are the experts from exclusive chitchat..
How did films happen?

I am Malayalee and brought up in Bahrain. I had finished my schooling there and came down to Banglore for the higher studies. While I was in the last year of my studies Hariharan (Malayalam director) saw me in a party and offered me the film Mayookam but I was not sure of accepting it. My plans were different. After finishing graduation, I wanted to study in UK and then to the middle East. So I took some time to accept the offer. I finished Mayookam my holidays, and it took more than four months to get the film released (November 2005). After that I started doing films from middle of 2006 and completed seven films so far in Malayalam.
Tell us about your entry into Telugu

It just did happen. I didn't plan it. Though I was offered movies earlier in Telugu, I didn't take up them. Then I got offer from M S Raju and Aata was supposed to be my launch pad but it didn't. Then I waited for an exciting movie offer with a great character. That I got from Rajamouli sir's Yamadonga. I was too happy when I heard about the gigantic project and importance of my role in the film. That is why I put my Tamil career on hold. We took 7 months to finish Yamadonga and it was worth it.
Malayalam film industry offers more performance-oriented roles than Telugu. Today Tamil and Telugu films are dominated with Malayalm girls. What do you see the reason for it?

Let us not underestimate Telugu movies. Its true that it is a male dominated industry but heroines are given importance here keeping their limitations in mind. I am talking with my experience in Yamadonga, so I could be wrong. Trust me, Telugu movies are doing very well in Kerala now. Recently Telugu movies are releasing in Kerala too. They are catering to what the audience is expecting from a movie.

Malayalam movies have also got into the realm of making movies that are entirely focused on heroes, where we have little to do. But yes, once in a while good stories are written..and meanwhile we Malayali girls would be busy elsewhere. Ha..ha..(laughs)

You have also become busy as singer? What do you prefer to be known - a singer or an actress?
As a singing actress. I am an actress now and a singer forever.

Are you also mastering the Telugu language? How is the dubbing experience in Telugu as you are new to the language especially the Nellore slang that you performed in Yamadonga?
(Ha..Haa) It was as tough I was trying to make the next-to-impossible possible. Even after recording 6 songs in Telugu now and having completed Yamadonga's dubbing, I must confess that I know very little. I am familiar with words but can not speak yet as its very different from my mother tongue Malayalam. But what one must understand is that there is a world's difference between recording and dubbing.

The Nellore slang has a weird tune and the dialogues of my character go in various modulations. It was quite embarrassing to say some lines because in the dubbing theatre, it would have sounded too funny to my mom, the directors and sound engineers sitting in the console unit. But dubbing has made my understanding of the language better and I thank Rajamouli sir for insisting me to do it. It was a pleasure and a privilege to voice my character. I know all my lines by heart now.
What are your next plans?
Right now Yamadonga is big for me. I want to take it easy and watch both my singing and acting grow at a gradual pace.

How is acting in a socio-fantasy like Yamadonga, particularly as one of the two main heroines while three other heroines share the screen?

It is one of the best characters that a heroine could have asked in her career. It is different and rare. It feels great to be part of such a big movie and I think that is what counts at the end.
Has Tollywood been working well for you?

Both as a singer and an actress, It has been working well for me, I didn't expect it though. Rakhee was something that came after an unpleasant surprise (replacements etc.) but was a great take off for me and everything that followed were pleasant.

With so many young heroines coming and going each year, do you wish to have a long-standing career in the Telugu film industry? What measures do you plan to take in this regard?
I wish to stay in Telugu for a while and wish to do both commercial and performance oriented films. And continue singing of course. Do I need to take more measures?

Do you feel particularly indebted to anyone about it in Telugu?

Yes. Devi Sri Prasad. Because my first recording as a playback singer came at the same time when I was replaced by another heroine for M.S. Raju garu's Aata. No hard feelings, though for that. So when I tasted success with Rakhee and now that I have even won the Filmfare Award for it, I have no regrets. Life is full of surprises, ain't it?
Say more about winning Filmfare Award

It is awesome feeling. Because it was my first song ever. It was a big dream that my first song should be for a movie and with a big music director and it came as a shock when Devi walked in while my photo shoot was happening. Devi and I were strangers to each other and Rakhee's recording happened on the same day.
You are also doing Homam now. Tell us about that...

Homam is directed by J D Chakravarthy. JD's direction is completely contrast to Yamadonga for me. He is from the RGV School and I have had a tint of an experience of RGV School after doing my last film in Malayalam titled Big B. It was directed by Amal Neerad who was cameraman for RGV's James and Shiva 2006. The kind of acting is very different and very natural or maybe underplay. JD can be difficult to understand sometimes but he is relaxed and cool and will spend a lot of time to get what he wants. I am glad I am doing a character that is way different from what I did in Yamadonga.

Jagapathi Babu is a very commendable hero. Great to work with him in Homam and is very accommodating and friendly.

Apart from Telugu, now you are busy doing all the South Indian language films. How do you manage all these languages?

First I was busy with Malayalam films and took a break after my film Madhuchandralekha released and went to Bahrain. When I came back, I was immediately offered Tamil film 'Sivapathikaaram' with Vishal, which I felt a safe bet and accepted it. then I was supposed to do the films like Aata, Don and also Okkadunnadu. I was first offered Okkadunnadu but I mulled over it I do not know about anything in Telugu field.

So they waited for some time and went ahead with another heroine. And I finally accepted the Yamadonga which I am glad I did. For the current film in Kannada opposite Suddep titled as Gooli, I liked the narration of the director for the film and accepted it. Only acting which matters not the language.

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