Debut is new age romance: Rajkumar’s grandaughter

Dhanya says audiences can relate to Ninna Sanihake, and also to Raghu Dixit’s music

Dhanya Ramkumar

Dhanya Ramkumar is the first woman in the Rajkumar family to act in films. But, it’s not her roots which brought her to the industry.  The journalism graduate found that her true passion was for acting during her stint as a public-relations professional. The starlet will be seen in her first film ‘Ninna Sanihake’, which stars Suraj Gowda.

In a candid chat with Metrolife, she talks about her character, the film and more.

You’re the only actress from your family. How was the news received by them?

I also had doubts if I would be good at it. My mother (Poornima) took the news well, but told me to learn about the craft. I enrolled in theatre group Abhinaya Taranga and learned about posture, body language and more, which made me more confident. 

I was apprehensive but everyone in my family was extremely supportive. I feel that I might have paved the way for my other cousins or the younger generation to come forward too.

Theatre is a different ballgame...

In theatre, there are no retakes. A theatre actor is required to give their best shot during any scene, which makes them a more efficient artiste. This reflects in my work. I haven’t needed many retakes for any shot unless technical reasons demanded it.

How was it growing up in a family which is into films? Do you take any tips from them? 

Our family discussions are dominated by films and we watch films as a family. But we didn’t have a different lifestyle because of it. We never felt that we were greater than we are, though we were aware of the stardom.

I have picked up a lot of lessons from my family. I have watched my uncles going for vacations and coming back and joining work the next day. I learned how to balance my personal and professional life from them.

Raghumama (Raghavendra Rajkumar) told me how I should always be on time at shooting schedules and that no one should be inconvenienced by my actions. My eldest uncle, Shivarajkumar, always spoke about the importance of sleeping well, and how a lack of sleep shows on one’s face. My father, Ramkumar, taught me that I need to be professional and calm on the sets. 

How has ‘Ninna Sanihake’ turned out?

A news article expressing my interest in acting in films brought the role to me. This was not the first script I heard, but it was the first one that I felt a connect with. The first thing that struck me was the passion and motivation the team had towards the project. I could see myself as Amritha, my character. 

The amount of effort put behind each scene and the time taken to set things up would often baffle me during the schedules. I’ve seen some of the output and now realise why all that was done.

Suraj Gowda has written the film’s script. How was it working with him?

I had watched ‘Siliconn City’ and knew that Suraj was a capable actor. Our off and on-screen chemistry is quite strong. We have been the best of friends from even before the shooting started. I couldn’t ask for a better co-star. Suraj went out of his way to make sure I did well in my scenes. He would help me with my posture, portraying emotions and would continually motivate me. 

Suraj is very knowledgeable and there’s nothing under the sun which he doesn’t know about. One can see this in the script; it is well thought out. 

What are the highlights of the film?

‘Ninna Sanihake’ is a rom-com that has many realistic elements in it. It’s a new-age love story. This film will be one of its kind, and I’m not sure if Sandalwood has seen such a story after ‘Mungaru Male’. Raghu Dixit’s music blends perfectly with the story. 

Any memorable moments from the sets?

We had a lot of fun moments on the sets. The day my father came to the sets for the first time was quite memorable. We were three weeks into shooting at the time. When he came to the sets I fumbled a bit with my lines for the first time. 

Who is your favourite actor in the family?

It will always remain my grandfather, Dr Rajkumar. He is the epitome of the entire family and even the film fraternity. My favourite films starring him are ‘Bangaarada Panjara’, ‘Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma’ and ‘Naa Ninna Mareyalare’.   

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