When Aakanksha Singh received a call last year asking her to come down to Bengaluru for an audition, she did not take it seriously.
“I had no Kannada connection,” recalled Singh. “Initially I did not believe it. But with a second call, I realised that it was something serious.”
‘Pailwaan’ marks her Kannada cinema debut. She is paired opposite Sudeep.
“Rukmani, my character, is not a random heroine role but a significant character who is instrumental in taking the story forward,” Singh elaborated.
“She is the emotional support to Krishna and is present through the film. It’s a performance-based role. I got to play different shades in my character. There are nuances which are subtle but important to the scene. I had to work on playing it out right,” she added.
Born and raised in Jaipur, Singh is a theatre artist with six years of stage experience. The television series, ‘Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kuch Kaha’, where she played the lead, made her a household name.
She entered cinema with the Bollywood film, ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’, in a supporting role. Her foray into South Indian cinema happened with two Telugu films, ‘Malli Raava’ and ‘Devadas.’
Singh said that language is not a stumbling block for her.
“I can learn any language and perform. Any language or any medium is fine with me, what matters is the good content,” she said.
The second part of ‘Pailwaan’ was shot first.
“Instead of shooting from 0-10, we shot from 5-10 then 0-5. That is a challenge but with good narration and understanding of the script it can be done. Initially, Krishna [director] did not give me any lines. He wanted me to just concentrate on the emotions. Krishna explains the scenes and gives you space to explore with your ideas. I am a director’s actor. On the sets he gave me the lines. It was all smooth,” she said.
About co-actor Sudeep, she never felt like she was working with a star.
“He is amazing and it was comfortable working with him. I picked lessons on acting from observing him. He is a dedicated actor who gives those little nuances.”
A trained physiotherapist, Singh did not plan on entering cinema. At 15, she found her calling in theatre when her sister, a stage artist, wanted her to participate in her play.
“I was not keen, but at her insistence gave it a try.”
With the adulation of the audience, Singh knew that acting was her passion. It was an irony of sorts when she got into television with her first series being aired on Colors after 10.30pm.
“My mother would not allow me to watch television after 10.30pm and I used to tell her, ‘Wait I will be on a television show sometime’,” remembered Singh, who enjoys dancing.
She is currently working on a Tamil-Telugu bilingual titled ‘Clap’, directed by Prithvi Adithya, where she plays a national hockey player.
Don’t miss it!
‘Pailwaan’ releases in the UAE on September 12.