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Rashmika Mandanna: Off to a great start

Rashmika Mandanna has had a dream run in the last few years with hits such as 'Pushpa: The Rise', 'Sita Ramam' (both Telugu), 'Mission Majnu' and 'Animal' (both Hindi) to her name

Kunal Purandare
Published: Feb 26, 2024 12:22:31 PM IST
Updated: Feb 26, 2024 12:57:56 PM IST

Rashmika Mandanna: Off to a great startImage: Mexy Xavier; Directed by: Kapil Kashyap; Outfit: Cultnaked; Earrings: Studio.Renn; Styling: Ami Patel; Styling Assistants: Anushka and Faisal Bhatti, Makeup: Tanvi Chemburkar; Hairstylist: Sourav Roy

Rashmika Mandanna, 27,

Barely a week into college, Rashmika Mandanna’s headmistress asked her to participate in a ‘Fresh Face’ competition, much to her amusement. She had moved from Coorg to Bengaluru, overcoming apprehensions from her parents about the ‘big city’, to pursue a degree in psychology, journalism and literature. Though Mandanna was a “performer” and “loved dancing on stage”, the glamour world was alien to her—her father had a coffee plantation and mother was a homemaker. Film stars were “demi gods and unattainable”.

As luck would have it, she won in college followed by the state level and national competition. “I was not confident about myself, but I banked on being real. I decided to have fun,” she recalls. That photograph eventually became her passport to the film industry, and she made her debut with the Kannada film Kirik Party in 2016.

Since then, Mandanna has made a mark in Kannada, Telugu, Tamil and Hindi films. The actor has had a dream run in the last few years with hits such as Pushpa: The Rise, Sita Ramam (both Telugu), Mission Majnu and Animal (both Hindi) to her name.

“Acting has become my life. I don’t think I can do without it,” says the 27-year-old. “It’s been such a fantastic journey. I have achieved something that I thought was impossible in my head. And this is just the start.”

Rashmika Mandanna: Off to a great start

In the pipeline are projects that she’s chuffed about—Pushpa 2: The Rule, The Girlfriend (Telugu), and Chaava (Hindi), among others. “There’s also something coming up from a business perspective, as an entrepreneur,” says Mandanna, who loves to travel, and explore cultures and cuisines.

Rashmika Mandanna: Off to a great startFilmmaker Rahul Ravindran describes her as a warm and talented girl “whose features don’t limit her to playing characters from a certain part of the country”, but it’s her “fantastic attitude” that makes her special. “She’s hungry with an I-will-do-anything-for-the-film attitude. She’s totally committed and involved. Rashmika is a director’s delight,” says the director of The Girlfriend.

“She’s in a unique space in Indian cinema and has a certain level of stardom across the country. She’s going to go from strength to strength. Her career could just take off from here.”

Since her foray into movies, Mandanna has immersed herself with work—after 12-hour shoots for Chaava, for instance, she would attend online classes for diction and language.

She now wants to balance her personal and professional life. “I introspect a lot,” she says. “I have started living each day as if it’s the last. I am the happiest person now,” says Mandanna, who sports a tattoo on her right wrist that says ‘irreplaceable’. “It’s one of the crazy things I did as a 16-year-old,” she says. Little did she know that life would indeed take a crazy turn.

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