Stunts are my own: Virginia

The actress, who trained without a body double, spoke about striking a balance between age and agility.

Virginia Rodrigues plays a former undercover cop in ‘Mahira’, this week’s release.

Actress Virginia Rodrigues is on a happy high, having made her debut in Kannada cinema with the suspense-thriller ‘Mahira’, which released on Friday. A theatre artiste for 20 years, the actor has marked her presence in Malayalam cinema already. In a candid chat with Metrolife, the actor talks about her role and more. 

Being a theatre artiste, how different are films?

I have been a part of various theatre teams and I am frequently working. I entered mainstream cinema about three-and-half years ago. ‘Samrapanam’ and ‘Marupadi’ in Malayalam were my earlier projects. Theatre teaches one to be disciplined and focussed. Theatre and films are a different ballgame though.

How did the project come to you?

The director approached me for the film after a friends had referred to me. We met and he thought I suited the character. He told me that I would have to do my stunts myself. 

What about the ‘Mahira’ made you want to take it up?

Firstly, the challenge to do one’s own stunts in a film was quite enticing. The character had a lot of scope: there were so many variations and emotions that an actor could explore and play with. The feel of the script and the approach to it was fresh.

Tell us a bit about your role.

I play Maya, the protagonist of the film. She is a mother and a former undercover cop. ‘Mahira’ is an action film; my character and her daughter are on the run throughout the film.

The film talks about the relationship between the mother and daughter, of how Maya takes charge of situations and more. The film is a story about vigilance, grit and determination about overcoming challenges in life.

How close to Maya are you? 

The spirit that Maya has is similar to mine, I identify with it. ‘Mahira’ means one who is resilient, strong and persistent. This spoke to me. I am definitely not the Maya you see on the screen. She is a completely different person. She is less expressive. Yet, somehow, we are similar.

What was the process of preparation like?

I trained for around two and a half months at Chetan D’Souza’s Chaos Faktory. I practiced all the stunts that were needed there, including mixed martial arts. On particularly vigorous days, I trained for more than eight hours.

I did the scenes without body doubles, ropes or safety gears. ‘Mahira’ is a very important film to me; I have put in a lot of efforts into it.

Age and agility are closely connected. Training in my 40s for a character like this needed a lot of determination from my side. There were times I would go back home with sore muscles during the training. I loved the training and I train frequently when I’m in Bengaluru. 

How was your chemistry with the cast of the film?

It was a blessing to work with the cast of this film. I have always been lucky when it came to the sort of people I work with. Raj B Shetty is an angel and I could say this a 1,000 times.

He is also from Mangaluru and is a darling, I had a lot of fun working with him. 

Chaitra, who played my daughter in the film, and I share a beautiful bond. Our chemistry worked well too.

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