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Interview with Bhairavi (Namitha) by Jeevi

: 16th September 2002 Venue: Suresh Guest House, Hyderabad
She entered the industry silently as Namitha and stole the hearts of youth with her presence in Sontham. Though box-office success was not her sontham with Sontham, it did wonders to her career. She is now ready to strike again, trying her luck with a new name Bhairavi in the role of a Marwadi girl role opposite Victory Venkatesh in Gemini.

When I met her at the audio function of Gemini and told her that I was coming from, she immediately responded by asking me if I was Jeevi. Then she added that she visits daily. As much an appreciation she had for the site, she also had a small complaint that her pictures in the latest Gemini gallery were not among her best ones in the movie. When we asked for an appointment to interview her, she asked us to visit her the next day at Suresh Guest House where she was put up. Here are the excerpts from the interview that lasted for about 30 minutes....

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Tell us about your background?

I belong to Surat, Gujarat. I come from a Gujarati family. My father is into textiles business. I come from a very orthodox family where girls get married at the age of 19.

I used to be very camera friendly right from my child hood. I used to fix up camera and ask my mom to shoot my photographs. I was very ambitious and I wanted to be in the limelight sometime. I was 4 years old when I started doing my stage acting. I won the Miss Surat title at the age of 15. After 3 years, I took part in the Miss India contest in 2001. I stood number four. I also won the title of Sony Viewer's Choice of India. On academics aspect, I am currently doing my 3rd year BA English Literature in a college in Surat. I was in Bombay for about 8-9 months where I did a few TV commercials like Himani cream, Himani herbal soap, Nile herbal shampoo, Manikchand Ghutka, Arun Ice cream etc. I wanted to enter Bollywood as a heroine. It was very difficult and moreover I was new to Bombay. When I was about to return back to Surat thinking that I could not make it into films, a friendof mine told me that a South Indian producer was looking for a heroine in a Telugu film. I attended the audition and I was selected for Sontham. Once I started working for Sontham, I became confident of myself. I also opined that Telugu film industry is safer and secure compared to Bollywood.

During the making of Sontham, I got an offer to act in Gemini. I was excited about it and decided that this could be a turning point for my career. I have lot of offers now and I am looking for a good script.

Is it true that you signed a contract with JD Arts for three films?

Yes. I signed an exclusive contract with JD Arts for three films. But as you mentioned in news, they never stopped me from doing other films. The producers of JD Arts are very cooperative and kind to me. Whenever I get exciting offers, I ask those people to call up JD Arts office and request them. I do not want to breach the contract.

How is it working with a top star like Venkatesh?

As I said in yesterday's audio release function, he is a wonderful actor. He knows how to comfort his co-artists. I was very nervous in the beginning. As a kid, I saw Venky's Anari and I liked it a lot. It is one of my all time favorite films. After watching 'Anari' I told my grand mother that my husband should be like the hero in that film. When she came to know that I was co-starring Venkatesh in a film, she reminded me of my chat with her after watching 'Anari' film. I learnt a great deal from Venkatesh. I take my own time to learn things and he never loses his temper.

Tell us about your character in Gemini?

In Gemini, my character belongs to a Hindi Marwadi family settled in Vijayawada. In our family, nobody knows Telugu and I am the only one who knows both Hindi and Telugu. I am playing the role of a fun-loving bubbly girl. At the same time, she is serious when it comes to work.

Did you face any problem with Telugu language?

My experience on stage helped me utter complex dialogues without any difficulty. I generally read the entire dialogue and understand the meaning of each word. Only then I can express my emotions on the screen. In the initial days of doing Sontham, I was scared because I used to observe the lips of people when they speak Telugu. I used to find it hard to speak Telugu as it involves excessive twisting of the tongue. I used to sit in front of mirror and practice Telugu dialogues. But now I have learnt to get used to it.

There was a rumor about you lodging a complaint against Srinu Vytla [director of Sontham] for his misbehavior with you. Would you mind clarifying what exactly happened?

Whatever happened happened for good. Even if I get a chance to work with him in future, I know how to handle the situation. I used to be very frank and straightforward earlier. Now I am learning the art of diplomacy.

Does that mean that something did go wrong?

Let bygones be bygones. I don't want to be known as a fighter. I believe in forgiving and forgetting.

Were you in Surat when the deadly disease plague spread throughout the city?

Yes! But I don't remember much of it, as I was a small kid at that time. For a month, all the windows of our house were closed. My mom used to burn the 'neem patta' (neem leaf). We did not step out from home for a month. Nobody visited Surat during that period. The entire city was quite 'shmashaan' (burial ground). The images shown on the TV were terrible where they showed dying people. But as a kid I was happy, as I did not have to attend school for a month. We were about 13-14 kids in our house and we had gala time having fun. But other memories were bad.

I do not understand why Gujarat suffered so many disasters at regular intervals.

Tell us about your future films

I am getting offers from Telugu, Tamil and Kannada producers but I have not confirmed any of them.

Tell us how you came to know about

My friend used to surf He called me one day to inform me that the photographs and details of Sontham film were being posted on the site. As I did not have an access to a computer in Hyderabad, I hired a laptop for a month during postproduction stage of Sontham to surf There were instances when I surfed the site even during late hours at night, when I could not catch up with my sleep.

Tell us about the real Namitha - not the one we see on the screen!

Till a year back, I was a tomboy. Now I see myself as a serious woman. Being the only girl among 25 cousins who were all guys, I used be like a boy. I used to wear jeans and say 'Hey boy! Whats up!!'. I used to have a long hair but used to hide it, as I didn't like it. I grew it just to please my dad, as he likes me having long hair. People used to call me 'Tiger'. I was the only girl in our neighborhood playing cricket. While playing cricket, I used to dive, fall down and get injured. I never used to take care of my diet, skin or beauty. After coming to film industry, it appears very strange to me to do so much of skin care and diet control. After coming here, I started wearing skirts to feel and believe that I am a grown up woman. I take care that my newfound actress status does not affect the real Namitha inside me. I still want to go out to Barista [a coffee chain] and have coffee with my friends.

Tell us about your food habits

I do not drink lots of water. I know that drinking water frequently helps. I love junk food like pizzas and burgers. I was shocked when I came to Hyderabad and realized that there is no Mc Donald's in Hyd. Then somebody told me that there is Pizza Hut. I love sweets. I have a sweet tooth. When I was in my tomboyish days, I used to eat 8 chapatis for lunch followed by 3-4 Rasgollas and gulabjamoons. I am a freak out when it comes to food. I am a pure vegetarian.

You changed your name from Namitha to Bhairavi. What is the reason behind it?

I have other names as well like Nandini. My mother believes in a family astrologer. When he suggested change of my name, I ignored it, as I believed in my ability too much. Things started going against me as I lost Miss India crown by 0.02 marks. Then I started thinking that my name might be unlucky for my career. In my personal life, I like everybody calling me Namitha. But on career front, I want to be addressed as Bhairavi. I opted for Bhairavi as it's the name of Goddess Kalimata and one of the seven ragas.

Do you want to say anything to the fellow visitors of is very good and it gives enough information about everything. Keep visiting and keep watching my movies as well. Have fun. Life is short. Do not miss any opportunity that you think you should not miss. Live and let live!

Interviewed by Jeevi
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