Her future beckons

Her future beckons

Actor Sai Dhansika's slow but steady rise to popularity

Sai Dhansika

While Tamil cinema continues to teem with female actors who have either crossed over from the neighbouring states or even from Mumbai and Kolkata, Sai Dhansika has been knocking on the doors of stardom ever since she made her debut in the S P Jananathan-directed film Peranmai. Her very first film was a thriller shot in vast jungles. It was also replete with action sequences which the trained actor executed with aplomb. However, the film did not afford Dhansika the right exposure as it had as many as six heroines, apart from a popular hero who had to be given adequate footage. But Peranmai had a novel theme and earned acclaim. It also had a fairly decent box office run.

Impressive performances

Sai, however, struck a chord with the audiences with Aravaan, directed by Vasanthabalan, a film set against a rural backdrop. A period film set in the 18th century, Aravaan saw Dhansika enact the role of a tribal girl, Vannapechi, and the director zeroed in on her after being impressed by her performance in her debut film. It also helped her cause that the role needed an actor with a dusky complexion and sharp features.

In the Bala-directed Paradesi, the young actor found well fleshed-out roles with great potential for histrionics. Bala, who is known in the industry for his adroit cast selection and for demanding cent percent cooperation from his artistes, found in Dhansika a very willing student. Her portrayal of a village girl, part of a community that had been enslaved by the landed gentry, earned a lot of acclaim.

It was a tough grind for all the stars in the film as most of the portions of the film were shot in highly inhospitable locations and in sweltering heat as well. And to cap it all, Dhansika even had to go on a starvation diet to sport a famished look that the character demanded. She, however, had no regrets in accepting these films for she always had a penchant for such demanding roles. Even while entering the industry, she had decided that she would not be a mere prop and would always go in for scripts that promised a lot of depth.

The kind of sober roles which she had done in her earlier films could have resulted in her being typecast as similar roles had begun to come her way. But Dhansika was determined to try out various genres and not confine herself to any particular kind of cinema. The vital break came to her when, out of the blue, she received an offer from the young director, Ranjith. Dhansika had been highly impressed with the director’s earlier ventures like Attakathi and Madras, and accepted his offer without a second thought.

But the biggest bonus that awaited her was that the film Kabali had a superstar as the hero. Sharing screen space with a legend like Rajinikanth has always been a dream for all actors. Ranjith had visualised a strong and vital role for her as Rajani’s daughter. The gangland drama became a blockbuster and Dhansika totally eclipsed the other heroine in the film, Radhika Apte.

The path ahead

The experience of working with the superstar was a revelation for the starlet and her joy knew no bounds when the superstar himself lauded her portrayal. The film had a number of action sequences which Dhansika performed with panache. Even in the emotional scenes, she was not found wanting. In addition to everything, Kabali was a top box office grosser. Kabali opened the floodgates for Dhansika who then had her hands full with films where she essayed a variety of roles.

The first film that hit the screens recently was Solo, directed by Bejoy Nambiar, where she was paired with Dulquer Salman. The next film was Vizhithiru, directed by Meera Kathirava. For the first time in her career, Dhansika worked in a comedy film, sharing screen space with actors like Krishna, Vidharth and Venkat Prabhu.

While Dhansika performed well in films like Kaathadi and Kaala Koothu on the floors, she will be banking heavily on the multilingual Kitna, written and directed by the National Award-winning actor-director Samuthirakani. The film, which will be made in all four languages simultaneously, will have Dhansika in all the versions, a clear proof of the trust that the director has placed on her.

Although Dhansika still has a long way to go before being spoken of in the same breath as Nayanthara or Anushka Shetty, she has shown a lot of promise and this augurs well for her future.