If the 1988 Malayalam blockbuster Chithram revealed Mohan Lal’s flair for comedy, it also introduced a talented actress in the making: Ranjini.
Ranjini, who grew up in Singapore, entered films with noted Tamil director Bharatiraja’s Mudhal Mariyathai.
‘Chithram was her second film in Malayalam and she stole viewers’ hearts as Kalyani. After working in 52 films and opposite several leading stars in all four south Indian languages, Ranjani quit films to pursue studies in the UK. Her last film was Kottayam Kunjachan in 1990 opposite Mammootty.
A graduate in Finance and Law from the University of Westminster, Ranjini worked in several organisations including the BBC, London Stock Exchange and Caspian Publishers before relocating to India.
Now she manages ICCA, (information centre for campus abroad,) as director of international business development, a company she set up in 2009 with her husband, Pierre Kombara. ICCA offers guidance and counselling for students aspiring for higher education abroad.
Raffi’s Ring Master, brings Ranjini back to the movie world after 24 years.
In an exclusive interview with tabloid!, Ranjini looks back on her films and more.
What is your role in Ring Master?
I play Elizabeth. She is an NRI from the UK and quite a snob who cares for her pet dogs more than the people around her. When she leaves on a trip abroad, she entrusts her dogs to the care of Prince, giving him strict instructions to keep her dog, Diana, from mating as it would be detrimental to her health.
How was it facing the camera after such a long break?
Prior to this film I did appear on a couple of television shows as a judge — Asianet’s Ideal Star Singer, Veruthe Alla Bhariya season one and Comedy Express. So it was not bad. Being an animal-oriented film, I wanted to do this role. Besides there was Dileep ettan and a director like Raffi to work with. Working with dogs was a comfortable experience thanks to the trainers.
I am playing Sunny Wayne’s mother in Koothara, a Mohanlal film, once again a snobbish character. However, I am not paired opposite Lal ettan. This is a different kind of story.
Looking back, which roles are your favourites?
Sevuli, from Muthal Mariyathai is one. I had the honour of working with Mr Sivaji Ganesan, a legendary actor. His humility was profound. He made it a point to meet his co-actors and ensured that everyone was comfortable on the sets. An awesome actor, he never tried to teach his co-actors acting, but always let them try out their roles themselves. He could be funny too, often cracking jokes. Other roles close to my heart are Sugandhavalli from Swathi Thirunal, my Malayalam debut and of course Kalyani from Chithram. People remember Kalyani well.
Are there any actors you missed out on working with?
While I had the opportunity to work with leading heroes of the south Indian industry, I missed the opportunity to work with Mr Kamal Haasan and Mr Rajinikanth. I did get offers for their films, but my dates with Chithram and due to health issues I could not take them up.