The audiences have
accepted me as A
For several years, Lakshmi Gopalaswamy and Lakshmi Rai from Karnataka have ruled the Malayalam screens. It is now actor Meghana Raj’s turn. Meghana’s latest film Beautiful has received rave reviews, earning her two more projects in the process. With just 4 days to say ‘yes’ to a project after being approached by director VK Prakash with the script, it took this glamorous actress just a few hours to sign the deal. Her decision is now completely justified says Meghana, “Beautiful is now counted among the classics of Malayalam cinema. I am delighted to be part of history.” Ever since she made her debut in Malayalam cinema with Yakshiyum Njanum in 2010, Meghana has come a long way in establishing her identity as a reputed actor. So far, she has acted in several hit films like August 15 opposite the legendary Mammootty, Raghuvinte Swantham Rasiya, Achante Aan Makkal opposite Sarath Kumar, and six others. Meghana claims that in each of those movies, she has played separate roles, allowing her to showcase her versatility. “In Yakshiyum Njanum, I was a ghost; in
Two years and 10 Malayalam films later, Meghana Raj has joined the long list of Kannada actors making it big in Kerala. Aravind G Shivkamal in conversation with this pretty actress
August 15, I was a spy and Raghuvinte Swantham Rasiya was a female lead-oriented film. The Malayalam film industry has helped me explore my talents and the audiences have accepted me as a Malayali actor. That is my biggest testimonial,” she smiles. The actor’s dates are already blocked for the next four months with back-to-back Malayalam movies scheduled for shooting. “It is a different experience for me. Kerala has become my home, as I hardly spend time in Bengaluru with my family,” shares Meghana, who is accompanied by her mother whenever she is in Kerala.
Learning it from childhood
Not many outside the Malayalam film industry are aware that Meghana is the daughter of the popular Kannada actor couple Sundar Raj and Prameela Joshai. Both of them are well-known award-winning character artistes, who have featured in more than 100 Kannada films between the 80s and now. It is then natural that Meghana learnt the nuances of acting at home, tutored by her parents; accompanying them on the sets ever since she was a child. Meghana had several ambitions in life including joining the Army and becoming a doctor. She could not make up her mind about being an actor, but on completion of her education at Christ College in Bengaluru, she had made her decision. Besides, there was a greater opportunity knocking at her door. “I guess I was destined be a part of the film industry. Now, I have no regrets… I have proven myself. I have been able to go beyond Kannada and make a mark in Malayalam as well,” she affirms.
The Balachander influence
Though Meghana’s parents were popular Kannada actors, she chose to make her debut on the silver screen with Tamil films. “K Balachander happens to be a very close family friend. When I was 15, he had asked me whether I would be interested in becoming an actor. I could not decide then. A few years later, I met him at a wedding, where he asked me the same question again. This time I could not say no to him,” she reminisces. Within four days, an untrained Meghana was asked to face the camera for Balachander’s home production Krishnaleelai. Though the film ran into several problems, the good that came out of it was Meghana’s announcement into the film world. She went on to act in the Tamil films Kaadal Solla Vanden and Uyarthiru 420. She is acting in two more Tamil films, including Kalla Sirippu Alaga opposite Shakti (son of P Vasu) and Nanda Nanditha (a bilingual in Tamil and Telugu). Incidentally, Meghana has very few Kannada films to her credit. In 2010, she debuted in Kannada with Punda opposite Yogi.
Comparisons and controversies
In her short but fruitful career so far, Meghana has managed to stay away from controversies, under the guidance of her mother. Even so, she says, unnecessary comparisons between her and Nayantara have been blown out of proportion. “Somebody made a mention somewhere that I resemble Nayantara and enough has been written about us since then. I guess both of us are now tired of the topic and I am sure Nayantara has forgotten about it as well. We belong to different leagues,” she says. As for her personal space, Meghana says she is too busy to dedicate time for a boyfriend; and that is not on her priority list. “I yearn to spend time with my friends when I am back in Bengaluru on a vacation. The love and affection that I receive from the Malayalam film audiences and the industry personalities has not given me scope to think of anything else for now,” she smiles. Looks like the actor has clearly set her eyes on the pinnacle of the Malayalam film industry