Belie her age, synonym of grace and charm, the very beautiful Ramya Krishnan is among the few actresses to have carved a niche in all four South Indian languages.
From Neelabari to Sivagami and others, Ramya Krishnan has been a classic beauty of South Indian Cinema and has never failed to mesmerise the viewers with her wonderful performance. She is known for her work in all the four languages in the South and has also worked with the who’s who of Bollywood. She started her career as a professional Kuchipudi dancer and entered the industry because of her mother’s ambition. “My mother always felt that acting would help me in my dancing career and it will make me popular earlier than I would be as a dancer,” she reminisces. Ramya goes on to add that once she joined the industry as an actor, she totally forgot about dancing.
Talking about her struggle in the initial days, Ramya adds, “ Success came to me after seven years of struggle.” She started with Tamil films in 1986 and was not successful for almost seven years. It was Tollywood that changed things for her. “Telugu films worked for me. I found success there and then shifted to Tamil films and was doing both of them equally,” she says.
Variety is the spice of life
She has done a range of roles from sexy actress to vamp and many strong characters. She never tried to become one kind of heroine and did not stick to similar kind of roles. “I consciously did not say no to any of the roles,” she quips. “When I was doing well in Telugu films, I was approached for Aayanaki Iddaru, remake of Aaina in Telugu. I was offered Amrita Singh’s role and was apprehensive if I could do it or not,” she adds. The director had full faith in her and that is how her first negative role happened. Talking about her role in Aayanaki Iddaru, she says, “It was very well received by the audience. Along with that I did other roles too but all these different roles did not affect each other.”
She has done many roles and her favourites are Sivagami in Bahubali and Neelambari in Padayappa. “She’s not an ordinary woman. She’s fierce, independent and a warrior with both good and bad sides to her character,” she says when asked about Sivagami. She thinks Bahubali has changed a lot of things for her. She added that filmmakers often don’t approach her with such characters but when she heard the narration of Bahubali, she got goosebumps. “After some time, I couldn’t see Sivagami; I saw only myself. In particular, there’s this flashback portion where I come with the child, kill a person and sit on the throne. I fell in love with the way it was presented,” she says. Reminiscing Bahubali days she feels that before the film she was one of the many actresses in the industry but after that she has become a phenomenon.
When asked about her favourite between Neelambari and Sivagami, she said that we cannot compare them and both are strong in their own way. “When I was offered Neelambari, I just did it. I didn’t think much,” she adds. At first she was scared of doing the film as she had to play a negative role against superstar, Rajinikanth. She laughs and says, “When I said yes to the role, people asked me think again as I might even have to leave Chennai after playing a negative role against Rajini sir. This really scared me.” She also shared a humorous incident when Ramya’s sister went to watch Padayappa and the audience hailed slippers at her face. Ramya adds that such things went on for a week but later people appreciated her work.
Love for language
Ramya Krishnan who was seen in Telugu film, Bahubali does not know language so well. The best part about her performance is that despite not being familiar with the language, she dubs for herself. She is a Tamilian and has been born and brought up in Chennai. Her only contact with Telugu from her childhood days was her father who hails from Telugu-speaking region. She knew very little about the language and began learning it only after she started acting in Telugu films. “I had to work really hard on the dialogues, especially in Telugu, as the language used in the film is very pure. I found Tamil language a lot easier in comparison,” she adds.
From heroine to character artiste
Ramya Krishnan’s journey has been very interesting. Not only she accepted all kind of roles but she also aced all of them and was even appreciated for the same. The diva feels that it does not matter whom are you acting with or what role are you playing. All you have to do is just understand the character. “I internalise my character and perform as the director wants me to,” she says. “I always try and stay true to the character I’m playing. When I do something, I give my best,” she adds.
The celebrated artist who has been seen in many strong roles does not miss being a heroine. She thinks, “It’s a great time to be a character artiste. I’ve got more than what I asked for.” She has been successful in roles she has done and sign off by saying, “Factors such as good timing and fortune have a bearing on success. I just try to enjoy every moment without any regrets.”
Words: Kritika Dhawan