Sobhita Dhulipala, who made her Bollywood debut with the 2019 Anurag Kashyap directorial, Raman Raghav 2.0, is on a roll. Not only is she busy with Hindi films and web series, but she has her kitty full of interesting projects from the South film industry.
Sobhita will make her debut in Tamil cinema with Mani Ratnam’s magnum opus, Ponniyin Selvan. Then there’s a Malayalam film, Kurup, with Dulquer Salmaan, and also in the works is the much-anticipated Adivi Shesh-starrer, Major. Directed by Sashi Kiran Tikka, the film is inspired by Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s life, who died during Mumbai’s 26/11 attacks.
In Bollywood, she will be seen in Sitara, which is being directed by Vandana Kataria and bankrolled by Ronnie Screwvala. And, the icing on the cake is Monkey Man, the directorial debut of Slumdog Millionaire star Dev Patel. It also features Sikandar Kher.
Talking about her various projects, The Made in Heaven actor says, “I am super excited. Kurup will be released in five languages. I have dubbed in some of the languages, but it’s still a work in progress. To speak and act in a language you don’t speak is a different experience.”
Opening up about her Hollywood debut, Monkey Man, Sobhita shares, “I am doing films in different languages — Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam. So, I thought English bhi karna chahiye (I should do an English film as well). It’s a fantasy film and Dev’s version of India, based on commentary on politics, human dynamics, etc. The film is backed by people who have made some amazing films. I auditioned for the part almost five years ago, right after Raman Raghav 2.0. I had then met and interacted with Dev. And since I didn’t hear from the makers then, I thought he must have cast someone else and moved on. But then, out of the blue, I got a call from Dev, offering me a part. It was a great learning experience working on the film.”
Sharing her experience of working with Dev, Sobhita adds, “In him, I found a co-nerd. He is always reading and watching films. He geeks about things he is passionate about. He is a hard-working, sincere guy and always tries to give his 100 per cent to his work. The kind of energy he exudes motivates and enables you to do your best as well.”
Ratnam’s Ponniyin Selvan boasts of names like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Karthi, Vikram, Jayam Ravi, Prakash Raj, among several others. It’s an adaptation of author Kalki Krishnamurthy’s novel of the same name. “I was immensely thrilled and felt privileged that I got a chance to work with Mani Ratnam sir. Plus, the star cast is so huge! Many filmmakers have tried to adapt the book for the screen, but it never worked out. This is Mani sir’s dream project. The audience will get to see me in a different avatar; I also get a chance to show off my dancing skills,” Sobhita says.
Prod her to speak more about the film, the actor, without divulging details, says, “We recently wrapped the shoot. That’s a mammoth project and will be released in two parts. The first part will be released next year. I am keeping my fingers crossed. Due to the lockdown, a lot of my projects were delayed. Now, I want to pour my heart into doing good cinema. I hope these films grant me the opportunity to be able to do that.”
About headlining Sitara, Sobhita says, “I feel so empowered shouldering this project. It’s a slice-of-life drama about a dysfunctional family. It will make for a cute and interesting watch. When I read the script, I couldn’t say no. This is one film that I can enjoy watching with my parents.”
Sobhita is currently shooting for the second season of her much-acclaimed web series, Made in Heaven. “The new season takes off from where the first one ended. There was such a huge break because of the lockdown that we are now excited to be back on the sets. In season one, there were a lot of layers to the characters and the subject. This time the director and writers have decided to take it a notch higher. The first season was accepted and celebrated for the right reasons. And there is a certain depth to the second season. I am enjoying working more on this season than I did for the first one,” she adds.
Sobhita, in her journey so far in the film industry, has got a chance to work with celebrated filmmakers like Anurag Kashyap, Mani Ratnam and Ronnie Screwvala. “Working with them was a liberating and an interesting experience. The lessons I learnt from them motivate me. When filmmakers say they have faith in you, it pushes you to do better,” she shares.
While Sobhita plays different characters on screen with ease, in real life, too, she says it’s difficult to describe her. “When I wake up in the morning, one day I feel I am a certain kind of person and the next day I feel different. I have a terrible time defining what I am as I am very inconsistent. It’s a competitive field, but I have been lucky. My heart and mind are aligned, and in that alignment, I find my peace,” Sobhita signs off.
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