Months of vigorous training on a 22-yard cricket pitch, bruises all over the body, the game of cricket has brought a transformational change in actor Rashmika Mandanna. The Kannada girl is playing the role of Lilly, a gutsy cricketer, who goes on to represent her State, and, at the same time, she bumps into the student leader Bobby, played by Vijay Devarakonda. “The body language of Lilly is like that of a professional cricketer beaming with confidence. Of course, the story tells the journey of both Lilly and Bobby. My first prep was all about how to play cricket and the second prep was how Lilly carries her character in it,” she says.
Having been exposed to swimming and being the captain for basketball team during her college days, Rashmika says she was new to cricket although she knows the basics of the game. “Basically, I am an athlete, and cricket is something new and I am not cut out for it.
After months of practice and understanding the game, now I fully aware. I can defend my wicket and score runs in regular intervals. For the first time, I watched matches of World Cup tourney recently. I know how hard it is for the players to sweat it out on the field to score runs or bowl defending the score on board,” says Rashmika whose respect for cricket and cricketers has gone up now.
The entire shooting schedule is extremely tiring for the actor as she had to don dual hats as a cricketer and the girlfriend of Bobby. “It was very demanding. I suffered bruises on the field while fielding on the ground and suddenly the ball just bounced off on my face. I dislocated my shoulder once,” she adds.
“One day, director Bharat Kamma messaged saying that the shoot is going to be very heart-wrenching. I cried and wept on that day so much to get the approval of the director,” she says while maintaining that she doesn’t consider herself lucky when it comes to acting with stars but only through her hard work, she was able to achieve the fame now.Is Vijay Deverakonda the reason for her to accept the offer? Rashmika denies it saying the script is always her priority and not the star cast in the movie.
On ever-evolving roles and on-screen kissing in Telugu cinema, Rashmika feels that it is making more noise here than in Bollywood and Hollywood, thus breaking the stereotypes. “In some films, actors do it but it’s not spoken about much. In some flicks it is done, and people talk. It depends on one’s perspective,” she says.
Dear Comrade also marks Rashmika’s debut in Tamil cinema. However, she has a series of films lined up starting with Pogaru, Bheeshma, Anil Ravipudi’s Sarileru Neekevvaru and Sukumar’s upcoming flick AA 20. She has also signed a Tamil movie Karthi 19 which is being directed by Bakkiyaraj Kannan.