Kamalinee Mukherjee is back in Hyderabad after a gap of almost 6 weeks. Idlebrain.com caught up with her in an exclusive interview where she speaks about her Seeta role, career, poetry, filmmaking aspirations and theater. Here are the excerpts -
How different is Seeta (Godavari) compared to Roopa (Anand)?
I have heard very good things about the film and about me in particular. People have forgotten Roopa character (Anand film) and have started enjoying Seeta character (Godavari film). I came back to my original weight. My looks are different. I worked really hard on my Telugu language. Roopa had a very few dialogues in Anand where as Seeta is very talkative and spontaneous. I enjoyed dancing in Godavari. Seeta is very close to my real life character. I did not have to work hard to do that role. I have the habit of biting nails in real life too. I always mind talk. The person who is sitting in front me knows what I have in my mind because my face expresses it. There are only two differences between my real life character and Seeta character. I stopped writing dairy a couple of years back because my little sister reads it all the time. She started blackmailing me about it. I very scared of my father unlike Seeta.
I had an observation. You resemble the Chutki character in DDLJ in the scenes where you wear spectacles. Is it intentional?
No. We used specs because the character is very lively, young and bubbly and Seeta needs some kind of gravity. She wore specs during serious situations. Specs helped us a establishing the serious mood of Seeta character. But now I feel that the get-up has lot of similarity to Chutki character. But it was not deliberate.
I heard that you got an offer to play heroine in Sri Ramadasu and you opted for Godavari over Sri Ramadasu. Is it true?
Yes. I got an offer to play the character played by Sneha. I was supposed to give bulk dates for that film. I could not do Sri Ramadasu because I already committed Godavari project and Godavari film’s shooting depends entirely on unpredictable weather conditions. When it came to making a choice it was really difficult because Sri Ramadasu was a big thing. I preferred Godavari because it is very close to my heart. The day Sekhar told me about Godavari film for the first time, I wanted to be in it. I am very thankful and grateful to God because I preyed for heroine role in Godavari film and I got it. At that time, I was offered roles in few more big projects. I could not commit myself.
Any regrets of not doing Sri Ramadasu film?
I regret for not getting to work with lot of good people. But I have no regrets about doing Godavari. All other opportunities will come back for me. But Godavari is like a lifetime chance. Godavari was something which I wanted to be a part of.
What were the difficulties you faced while working for Godavari?
I did not have any practical difficulties at personal level. But for the team, they had problems with uncertain weather.
What are your favorite scenes in Godavari?
1. I love my scenes with my family. Because for the first time I have a family (cinematically). I had always been an orphan in my last four films. It feels good to have lot of interactive things with family on the screen.
2. The scene with Ammamma on the boat is great.
3. The scene in which I collect pebbles in a song.
How different are your co-stars Sumanth and Raja?
They are very different. Raja was my first co-star. I was more conscious about lot of parameters. We never really got to the point where we become friends even though we spent a lot of time together in sets.
With Sumanth is it different. Both of us have similar way of looking at films. We got along really well. It was very easy for us to get into friendship mode. Apart from that Raja is very good in Anand and Sumanth is very good in Godavari. I had very good on-screen chemistry with both.
Till date Sumanth is my favorite co-star. What I like about him the most is that he is a gentleman. It is very rare these days to meet a gentleman who knows the finer nuances between a woman and a man. He speaks very softly and has no airs.
Are you expecting another Nandi for your work in Godavari?
When Nandi came to me for Anand, I really did not know the impact it had on my life. The way everybody looks at me changed. The best award or reward that in enjoy today is the appreciation of the audiences. If I get Nandi again, I will be very happy. But if I don’t get it, I will still be very happy.
What did you do in these 5 weeks after the release of Godavari?
I was home. My grandfather passed away. I have been catching up with my family a lot. I am spending time with my little sister who grows rapidly every year. I am writing something that is very close to my heart.
What is it?
I have been writing poetry and stuff like that since my childhood. Now I am working on a story and in fifteen years from now I will make a Bengali film based on that story.
Why do you need fifteen years to make a film?
Meantime, I will get married and have children. When kids grow up and when I have time to spare sometime for filmmaking, then I will direct this film. That film deals with something I observed all my life.
Tell us about your poems?
I wrote three poems (Thoughts, Confusion and Solitude) for a website called poetry.com before signing Anand film. When Anand came to me, they have selected my poem for International Poetry Contest. I was one of the 150 people all over the world who was invited to Washington for a seminar which was presided by Dalai Lama. Again I had to make a choice between Anand and Washington visit. I think Sekhar Kammula is very lucky because I made lot of choices in his favor.
Tell us about your Tamil film?
This film has Kamal Hassan, Jyothika and me playing the lead roles. This film is shot by Gowtam Menon. I did a small role in that film. I played the role of Kamal’s wife that comes in the flashback episode. I have a beautiful song in that film. This film will be dubbed in Telugu as ‘Magadheera’. Most of the film is shot abroad. The part that is shot in India is related to me. Harris Jayaraj composed music and my song in that film is gorgeous.
Meenakshi film flopped at box office. What went wrong?
When script came to me, I liked it. I loved Meenakshi’s character. I envisaged the film to be completely different. During the making of the film, I realized that the dimensions are changing from what I had wanted it to be. I don’t regret doing Meenakshi film because it was a very big learning experience. I was on the learning curve. Now I am more clear about what I am doing. Right now I am more aware of the film industry. Not many people watched Meenakshi film, which beats the very purpose of making it. Rajiv Kanakala is a very good actor.
What are your future projects?
After Anand I made a mistake of committing Meenakshi. I don’t want to repeat it after Godavari. I will accept a project that would maintain my status quo. I have got lucrative offers from big banners in Telugu. But they did not possess the exact ratio I want. For an outsider it might appear a big loss if I let it go, but for me it would difficult to give my best if I don’t feel convinced about. However small or big my roles are I must love what I am doing.
Don’t you want to act in Bengali films?
I am really looking forward to act in a good Bengali cinema. I am waiting! Let’s see!!
How is the scene in Bengali film industry?
On an average, a regular commercial Bengali film is not really recommended. But there are different categories of Bengali directors who take their cinema very seriously. They come out with really good stuff. These directors are called arty directors. If I do a Bengali film, I will make sure that it is an arty film.
Tell us about your experience in the world of theater?
I was acting in plays since my childhood. I did school plays, amateur plays, college plays and professional production. I love being on the stage. In my school plays, I always did the role of a boy.
Did you have any embarrassing moment in theater?
The last play I did was directed by Kishore Bhimani. He did a spoof on all Shakespeare’s plays with duration of two and half hours. He cast five people – four guys and me. I had to play each and every heroine of all Shakespeare’s plays – Juliet, Ofelia, Cleopatra, Lady Macbeth, the wicked witch etc. It was really good for me. There was one sequence where I play Cleopatra. Director Kishore Bhimani decided to play Mark Anthony himself. I was changing my dress from Ofelia to Cleopatra in costumes room. I was to given a clue from the backstage. I was about to get into Cleopatra’s costumes. When I got a clue, I charged from my costume room to behind the stage and then I realized that I was standing there with basically nothing. I was around 19-20 years old when it happened. It was one of the most embarrassing moments.
Do you want to say anything to the visitors of idlebrain.com?
IB is one site I visit all the time to check out everything about Telugu films. In Mumbai and Kolkota I don’t have access to all Telugu TV channels. The only thing that updates me about Telugu cinema is IB. My mom logs into idlebrain everyday. I want all IB visitors to go and watch Godavari. You will enter into a different world for two and half hours while watching Godavari. Godavari is like a journey that everybody should take. It’s worth it!
Click here to read Kamalinee interview taken during the making of Anand
Sriya Reddy (Heroine)
Muruga Doss (Director)
Uday Kiran (Hero)
T Gopichand (Hero)
Kalyan Ram Nandamuri (Hero)
Siva Kumar (Director)
Rasool Ellore (Cinematographer & Director)
SS Rajamouli (Director)
Sameer Reddy (Cinematographer)
Marthand K Venkatesh
Sayaji Shinde (Villain)