Rashmika Mandanna sees warriors in fans — here's why

Actress Rashmika Mandanna talks during a session at IFFI 2019 in Pajim, Goa on Thursday. | DH Photo: Pushkar V

My fans are like warriors: Rashmika Mandanna at IFFI.

For an actor dubbed as Karnataka's crush, the 50th edition of IFFI was Rashmika Mandanna's maiden visit to any film festival. Nervous, with butterflies in her stomach, she took the stage for a session with film critic Baradwaj Rangan and actor Nithya Menen -- her topic, being a leading lady in Indian cinema.
After the session, DH caught with Rashmika for an interview. Here are edited excerpts from the interview:

Q. Are you a festival person?
A. No. This is the first time I am going to a film festival. Previously, it was commonplace to attend functions in schools and colleges. But now, it's huge. So, I am like “Oh wow”.
Q. What does it feel like to be here?
. Initially, I was conscious. But sitting on the stage with people who are so good at their work, you start learning a lot. I need to watch, I need to listen and grasp as much as I can. So, I think I did that today and I will take home a thing or two. I am glad I made it here.
Q. You are one of the few faces from Karnataka at IFFI. Why is the representation so poor?
. I can’t say anything about that because I am new myself. I don’t know what got me to IFFI this year. I am here because I want to learn.

Q. Is there a difference between moviegoers you meet outside and the people you met here?
. I think people who watch my films watch it for what is there in the film. The audiences are always different depending on the films you are doing because a film like ‘Geetagovindam’ has a different audience and ‘Dear Comrade’ has a different audience. So, you never know who is watching your film. So, if your film is good enough, you will have an audience in your theatre.
Q. Does the audience depend upon the state? Would 'Geetagovindam', say, have a different audience from ‘Kirik Party’?
. No, I think any state would want good films. ‘Geetagovindam’ was so well accepted in Karnataka. I think the (highest) numbers after the Telugu states [Andhra Pradesh and Telangana] was in Karnataka. It’s just the films you do that attract the audience.

Q. You've been called called ‘Karnataka’s crush’. You've been trolled by people from the same state. How do you handle such situations?
. When I don’t give them what they want, they can’t accept it. You know, that is human nature. How much ever you try and explain, they will take what they want. You can’t go back and say “I am doing this, I am doing that”. They will be like, “I want to hear this, so I will take this, so it doesn’t matter what you say”. So, it is my responsibility to take in what I want.
Q. Are fans like a possessive partner in that sense?
. I think my people are like warriors. They don’t like anyone saying anything bad about me. So, you will find a lot of people actually being like “How the hell can you say that? Do you even know her?” People who want to listen, will listen. And the others won't. There is a confrontation between these two groups of people. And I say to myself, “I said what I want to say, now it’s up to you.” (laughs)
Q. You are very firmly rooted in three industries. How do you plan to expand territory?
. I am very picky with my debut films. And after that, I want them to know what I am capable of and I want them to write scripts for me. Or take me in scripts where I fit in perfectly. I don’t know about expanding, I just want to do good work. 


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