The lure of the big screen has the power of a tsunami. But, a very few heroines have succeeded in the field, when they are on a low-profile or in their second innings. There was a time when a small chunk of the industry found a Soundarya in her. But, by the time the talk could turn solid, her stars were clouded and she slipped into a professional coma. Juxtaposed against her promising past, Sindhu Menon, who romped back to Telugu silver screen with the recent Krishnavamsi film Chandamama, makes her stand clear – I am not here to play the heroine alone. I die for roles which make me unforgettable. Akin to her daring contention, she is not the heroine in VN Aditya’s underproduction movie – Rainbow. But, she claims that her role has much more significance for the audiences. “Of all my roles in all of my films in South Indian languages, this particular one in Rainbow makes me proud.” The actress goes into a grand revelation of her starry-life, its ups and downs. She is no longer that not-much-glamorous Mahalakshmi of Badrachalam (2001), but gives you a fresh and alluring look, with the agility of an athlete, worth to measure in horsepower. Idlebrain’s exclusive interview with her:
How and when did you commence your journey into glamour world?
I am a Malayali, but was brought up in Bangalore. Even as a school girl, I used to be studies-conscious. My entry into film industry is an accident when I faced the camera as a hyperactive child artiste in the film Rashmi. That time I was in UKG. Again it was in Kannada film – Prema Prema Prema – that I made my debut as heroine when I was 13 years old. I am lucky to get associated with famed Bharatiraja. I touched Tollywood through Srihari’s movie Bhadrachalam. You don’t believe that time I was just 15 years and in X class. So far I have done about 25 films combined in Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu. I am already into Kollywood, which details I can’t reveal now.
Your experience with VN Aditya’s Rainbow?
It’s amazing. I was enjoying the success of Krishnavamsi’s Chandamama. I was confident that it would get me good offers. At the right moment, I got a call from Hyderabad to join VN Aditya’s Rainbow team. He is the sort of a filmmaker whom I have never seen in anger. Rainbow is a sensitive and cute subject. It is also poetic. The entire team cooperated with me; let it be in expressions, dances and what not. I loved the music of the film. Like a rainbow, the tunes are pleasing. They prompt us to listen to them again and again.
What do you say about VN Aditya’s work style?
VN Aditya is a good human being and makes things very comfortable for one and all on the sets. He doesn’t involve into anything other than his work. Patience seems to be his forte. He is very sensitive too. Generally, directors lose their cool when an artiste eats the film with repeated takes. Many times, I took several takes for some scenes. But, there is not a trace of irritation on Aditya’s face.
What is your portrayal in the film?
My role will be a big surprise to the audiences. It is handled so carefully. The director gave me absolute freedom to exhibit feelings natural to that characterization. He placed two roles before me, asked me to choose the best out of it. I chose this one, which will never be deciphered from the audience mind. I inspire, I demand sympathy, I love and love to be loved. You can see all the seven colors of the rainbow in my role.
During your seven-year stint with Tollywood, you were seen mostly in the roles of village lass. Why such a singular taste?
It’s not my taste. The characters so demanded. Of one thing, I am sure. The audience will not care to differentiate between modernity and rusticity, if they feel amply entertained. There is a big gap in my career here, only to get resurrected with Chandamama. I love stay in Telugu field, because you have a lot of opportunities here. It’s scope so large just as Bollywood.
I prefer to give importance to roles which would make me enduring in the hearts of the audiences. I don’t like to do characters, which they audience see and forget. Irrespective of my shortcomings in all my films, the Telugu people remember me very well. From Badrachalam to Chandamama. Take my role in Rainbow. I executed the same – 100 percent from the point of view of the audiences, holding back nothing for me. My role in Chandamama is a big hit.
Thirdly, I never concentrated much on film industry. I still shuttle myself between studies and entertainment. I never really considered acting as a full-fledged profession. It’s only now that I am taking it seriously.
You were supposed to be the heroine in RP Patnaik’s Andamaina Manasulo. What happened later?
It’s just like that. The script work got extended and I too was busy with my exams. So I was off the project.
Producers and directors these days are so possessed with the heroine-factor. They mostly prefer fresh faces and heroines with market value. Don’t you think you are at the receiving end?
I don’t give importance to this point. I am not here to compete with anybody. I sincerely want to do justice to my assignments. I have my own unique strengths. I am super active, bubbly, always ready to put in extra efforts, and extremely expressive.
I am always fresh, on and off the screen. Had I not been that way, I wouldn’t have got a chance in Chandamama. I attended the screen-test for Chandamama just as a new girl. I didn’t even know that I was doing it for Krishnavamsi. I just knew there are two Vamsis. Moreover, I am not too much exposed to the vistas of Tollywood. The audience is yet to see me in my fullest vigor.
Exposing is always a big subject for Tollywood heroines. How do you react?
I don’t really feel like reacting. It is a meaningless obsession. So far, I never did any vulgar expose. First of all, one should have a clear mind as to what is exposing? If it means mere skin show in the name of glamour, certainly, I can’t do it.
You moved about in all South Indian films. Which industry do you feel is highly paid?
It’s surely Telugu film industry. I might say, here its better than Bollywood. Also, it’s not the mere remuneration. Artistes here are happier with their profession. There is no stagnation for any artiste in Telugu film industry.
How important is money to you?
I am not in the habit of saving money. I spend a lot on jewelry, cosmetics, cartoons, travel and all. Of course, I also got a flat in Bangalore. I bought an Elantra car to my mom last year..
Did you ever fall in love?
Yes. I am madly in love with my profession.
What about your areas of interest other than acting?
I like Bharata Natyam and I am also a very good dancer. I also like ballet and jazz.
How you respond to gossips?
I don’t respond at all. I don’t talk against anyone. And I believe none will speak malice against me.
What you believe are your major strengths?
I think positive. I too have a fan following, though not much big. I like responding to them via e-mails. Family audiences like me very much. Wherever I go, people recognize me, interact with me and cheer me up.
Which were the movies inspired you most?
All good films inspire me. I also love black and white films. To be particular, films of Kamal Hassan and Meenakshi Seshadri.
Which color you belong to in Rainbow?
Vinu Thomas (Music director)
Nihal (Music director & Singer)
Smita (Pop singer)
Sonal Chauhan (Actress)
Raghu Kunche (Singer)
Udaya Bhanu (Anchor)
Meher Ramesh (Director)
Rao Ramesh (Actor)
Gopi Mohan (Writer)
Ajay Sastri (Director)
Vara Mullapudi (Director)
Bhumika Chawla (Actress)
Jagapati Babu (Actor)
Vijay C Kumar (Cinematographer)
Sekhar Kammula (Director)
Ram Gopal Varma (Director)
Srinivasa Reddy (Director)
Mickey J Meyer (Music director)
R Narayana Murthy (Producer)
Baba Sehgal (Singer)
Buddhadev Dasgupta (Director)
Tom Alter (Actor)
Kundan Shah (Director)
Priyadarshini Ram (Director)
Selva Raghavan (Director)
Vijaya Bhaskar (Director)
R Ravinder (Art director)
Chandra Sekhar Yeleti (Director)
Mohana Krishna Indraganti (Director)
Dega Deva Kumar Reddy (Producer)
Nidhi Prasad (Director)
Hema Chandra (Singer)
Vijay C Chakravarthy (Cinematographer)
VN Aditya (Director)