Rashmika Mandanna© HELLO! India

Rashmika Mandanna On Life After ‘Pushpa: The Rise’ And Prepping For Bollywood

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Nayare Ali

After the remarkable response to her latest South Indian movie, she’s all set to take on Hindi cinema. We catch up with the talented actor on how she’s taking in the astounding success of Pushpa: The Rise and prepping for Bollywood.

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A sensation in southern cinema, the vivacious Rashmika Mandanna is now geared up to make her mark in Bollywood. She’s the current toast of tinseltown since her Telugu flick Pushpa: The Rise with Allu Arjun became a roaring success, grossing over Rs 107 crore worldwide and making Mandanna one of the most sought- after stars at 25. She has predominantly starred in successful Kannada films and has started work on her Hindi debut Mission Manju with Sidharth Malhotra, slated for release later in 2022. Mandanna will also be seen with the Big B, Amitabh Bachchan, in film-maker Vikas Bahl’s Goodbye. With a chock-a-block schedule, which involved a recent shoot in Russia with Dulquer Salmaan, she’s now back in Mumbai to wind up dubbing sessions and promotions. And amid this pandemonium, Mandanna made time for a spectacular shoot for HELLO!.

HELLO!: How do you feel about Pushpa’s phenomenal success?

RM: “We knew it was definitely going to work, but didn’t realise it’d be this big! This is huge, and I couldn’t be more grateful for its success. The team stayed true to the story, to the very core of it, which is why it touched the hearts of so many across the country. I’m overjoyed.”

HELLO!: How has the shift from southern cinema to Bollywood been? 

RM: “After Kannada Telugu and Tamil cinema, it’s now time for Hindi films. For me, as an actor, different languages and cultures have never been a barrier. I love to travel across the country for shoots, interact with people and learn new things. I’ve begun work for my Bollywood projects Mission Manju and Goodbye. I’ll always be happy to be part of such fine films.”

HELLO!: You’ve won awards for some wonderful films shot in the south. What do such accolades mean to you?

 RM: “Since early in my career, I’ve only hankered for people’s appreciation, as cliché as it sounds. It hardly upsets me when I don’t win an award. But I feel proud when I travel abroad and hear my songs being played, or when fans call out to me by my on-screen names.”

HELLO!: You’ve had a commercial hit nearly every year. To what do you attribute this success?

 RM: “I worked hard all these years. I worked every single day, all through the lockdown, and ensured that I had a release every year — that too theatrical! I’m just beyond grateful. That’s all I can say.”

HELLO!: How did a student of psychology, journalism and literature get into movies? 

RM: “It beats me! I never really thought of myself as an actor, but here I am! I love the place I’ve created for myself in the industry and am glad to say that I’m here to stay.”

HELLO!: How do you handle online trolls?

 RM: “I’ve become so strong that the negativity doesn’t affect me anymore. I’m a happy, positive person and live in my own zone.”

HELLO!: How often do you go back home to Coorg to meet your parents and sister? 

RM: “Hardly. I haven’t been home in a long time. My parents are in Coorg, while my sister is in boarding school. I miss them, but they see me on screen. So they’re happy. My sister loves my movies and the attention she gets because of me. She dances to all my songs. We have a significant age gap, so I treat her like my baby. My fans love her, too.”

HELLO!: How has Bollywood treated you so far?

RM: “Bollywood has welcomed me with open arms. I love the talent here. It’s been a pleasure to be a part of this industry as everyone’s so creative and talented.”

HELLO!: Share your fitness journey with us.

 RM: “I can write a book on my fitness journey! I’m very disciplined with my workouts. For some reason, people find it hard to believe that I exercise a lot. I also follow a strict diet, except when I’m on a holiday. That’s when I go berserk with desserts, though I do try to control these cravings.”

HELLO!: How do you address anxiety in relation to your career?

 RM: “I think my trouble with anxiety makes me a better actor because when I’m nervous, I tend to work harder and deliver better. So as stressful as it is, I don’t think I want to let that go.”

This story has been adapted for the website from a story that was originally published in HELLO! India’s April 2022 issue. Get your hands on the latest issue right here!