"I am Kannada cinema's most fashionable actress today" - Ragini Dwivedi
The Bengaluru born Punjabi girl, Ragini Dwivedi was the Femina Miss India South 2009. She was a regular on the fashion circuit before stepping into movies. Industry biggies who saw her perform at the Southscope Cine Awards 2010 fell in love with her. It’s no surprise she’s been getting offers from Tamil and Malayalam cinema as well. Having acted opposite some of the biggest names in Kannada, Ragini makes her Malayalam debut with Kandahar, the high-profile film which has Amitabh Bachchan playing a prominent role. She was spotted at the age of 20 by fashion guru Prasad Bidappa who trained her for the world of glamour. Beware boys! Ragini’s dad is a former Army general. Arvind G Shivakamal has a tête-à-tête with the leading lady of Kannada cinema.
From an Army background to show business
Might sound clichéd but I never knew that I’d turn an actress one day. When I was in my 12th standard, some one suggested that I take up modeling as a career option. I had the right height, was an athlete in school and had the personality. It so happened that Prasad Bidappa recognized my face and introduced me as one of the promising models in 2008. It was a modest beginning compared to the position I am in now. But I am happy with my progress. Today, I juggle between movies and modeling. I am comfortable doing good movies. Back home in Punjab, my relatives are surprised with my career move. But they are proud of my achievements.
Sharing screen space with Sudeep
I owe it all to my co-star Sudeep. After that, there was no turning back. After making a name for myself as a model, many film offers came my way. But, I didn’t take any of them seriously till Sudeep called me to star opposite him in a film. It was a remake of the Telugu hit Vikramarkudu. I was very thrilled. Fortunately, the Kannada version Veera Madakari, did extremely well, and I found a permanent place in the Kannada film industry. More than anything, I shared screen space with Sudeep, something unimaginable for a newcomer.
Her off-beat debut with Holi
It is true that the first time I ever faced the camera was for Holi. That movie was meant to be an educational documentary and not for commercial release. I play the role of a Devadasi, an evil practice in North Karnataka. It was a great learning experience. The movie released after Veera Madakari became a hit. But everybody thinks that Veera Madakari was my first film.
Make hay while the sun shines
No, I accepted movies that offered me a good role. Following the success of Veera Madakari, I was signed up for Duniya Vijay’s Shankar IPS, an action film, which also turned out to be a hit. Then came Gandede opposite Chiranjeevi Sarja. I have several films lined up for release – Naayaka, Happy Husbands amongst others. Kempe Gowda is my second film opposite Sudeep, for which I am shooting right now. Its a remake of Singam and is being directed by Sudeep himself. I am also debuting in Malayalam through Major Ravi’s Kandahar.
On Kandahar & co-star Amitabh Bachchan
No, the director Major Ravi happens to be a good friend of my father. On knowing I turned an actress, he approached me for this role. He felt that I suited it well, hence I took it up. I feel it will give me a major break in Malayalam. Besides, Big B is acting in the movie. Sharing screen space with him was an amazing experience. He is so simple and down to earth. You’d never feel you’re working with a superstar. I learnt many things from him.
Godfathers in the industry & her USP
The going gets tough for outsiders like me, who don’t have godfathers. But I have been lucky to get roles in good films. I don’t mind being glamorous in a film, but my role has to be of some prominence. I need not act for money’s sake. I think I am the most stylish and fashionable actress in Kannada cinema right now. I think that sets me apart as an actress.