Darshana Rajendran on Post-Heart Success and Choosing Language-Agnostic Projects

Darshana Rajendran. (Photo: Instagram)

Darshana Rajendran. (Photo: Instagram)

After the amazing success of the Malayalam movie Hridayam starring Pranav Mohanlal, Darshana Rajendra is in Cloud Nine. The actor has been praised not only for his on-screen acting but also for his singing prowess. From theater to working on movies and web series, the beautiful actress moved from strength to strength, improving her craft along the way. Despite so much success, the actress continues her journey in autos and cabs saying that she wants to lead a normal life as much as possible.

In this chat with News9, Darshan talks about his latest hit, which has been released during the epidemic and has grossed over Rs 20 crore.

What drew you to the character of the vision in the heart?

This role is very different from what I did before. I usually act in movies that are intense or serious – not a light film starring a college girl. When Vineet first wrote the script, it was hard for me to imagine myself in that world. But he was so convinced that I could pull it off that it was easy to jump into the faith he had. In terms of narrative, I do not visualize the film – it is purely emotionally based / intuitive. How do I feel about the character? It was easy for me to get into the role of vision and get into her emotions.

Since she is your name, can you relate to her well?

(Laughs) Not really. It doesn’t matter if you call her Darshan. Before writing, Vineet asked me if I could name her Darshana, and I did well. It was a new experience when my name came up everywhere from the shoot!

The ‘vision’ you sang in your heart became a superhit. When you signed on to the movie, did you have to sing it?

I signed on as an actor, and later, Vineet asked me if I wanted to sing this song because I had to be filmed. I said firmly because I enjoy singing a lot. It’s a more personal thing – I don’t work at it like I work as an actor, so I have my doubts about it. We went to Hesham (the music director)’s house and it was a small, comfortable studio that I was not afraid to do. As I was recording and shooting it, everyone took over and it turned out to be a song that should go on set. I knew it would take easy, but I did not expect the sound to be good – all around. When the song was released it was pretty awesome; Now, no one calls me by name, they just sing the song.

Mohanlal’s son Pranav is an actor, co – director and singer. How was the experience of working with him?

He was an excellent co-star. We hit it off very easily. He’s not just an actor, he has multiple interests, so he can connect with most people. Once we started shooting, we were able to make a good giveaway purchase.

Does Pranav have any similarities with his father?

A lot, actually. We all pick him so much – we all point out how similar he is to his father, and he says ‘yes, it’s there!’ You may sometimes forget that he is this person (Mohanlal’s son), but it often appears to us (in sight).

For your career, you have worked in Tamil, Malayalam and now Hindi (‘Pause: Naya Zafar’). In fact, your Hindi was absolutely flawless.

I graduated from Delhi and my closest friends are from Delhi so I talk about it often. When you live in Delhi, all you have to do is learn Hindi.

Your roles so far are varied but based on performance. Are you only looking for roles based on performance?

First, this is the whole story – is it an exciting story and one I want to be a part of? It’s never been screen time, so I’ve accepted it, even if it’s an exciting scene for me as a presenter. There are some special scenes that come to my mind when I think about why I got those roles, whether it was Iron Thirai in Tamil or a virus in Malayalam. Now, slowly, I can see if I have an arc or graph that I am excited to work on or if it is challenging. But, it’s totally based on courage – I can make mistakes when I say no to movies, but I want to do a role when it comes to that.

Are you worried about becoming a stereotype when you take on serious roles prominently?

I think I’m trying to be in a similar role, even within that space. For me, internally I constantly ask if it is someone else. I’m glad I was able to choose different characters, and I’m glad that most of the roles I come across are performance or intensity characters. It’s great for an actor. I try to make sure there is a mixture. There are different characters coming through the movie Hridayam that make me happy too.

What about working with all the A-list stars and working on commercial and spice films?

I have a lot of people on my list who I want to work with. Even in the heart, this is not the place I want to own it, but I really enjoyed owning it. I want to work in all kinds of movies. I’m not sticking to the language or the media – this is the role that should motivate me.

Your upcoming projects?

There is a film that has been dubbed by Tovino Thomas, Vineet Kumar and Basil Joseph. I have also signed another film with Basil titled ‘Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hai’ – this is a very different role; Something I had never done before. I have also signed a Tamil film. ‘Port’ is complete but its release date is uncertain in the context of the epidemic.

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