Rima Kallingal is having a dream run this year in Malayalam cinema and her upcoming films are proof enough of her emerging status as one of the finest actresses of her generation. We find out more about her.
Rima Kallingal is one of the most sought-after actresses in Malayalam cinema these days and thanks to her performances in films like City of God, Indian Rupee and 22 Female Kottayam, she has become the go-to-girl for women centric roles in Malayalam. In fact, Aashiq Abu’s 22 Female Kottayam was so well received that Rima earned the tag of being the Vidya Balan of Malayalam cinema. “Oh no…I have a long way to go to achieve what Vidya has achieved in her career. It does feel good when I hear things like that, but I am not there yet,” Rima says, choosing her words carefully.
Maybe she’s being modest, but her chirpy voice and her demeanour give no hint of the kind of roles she has sunk her teeth into in recent times. “I have tried my best to not get stereotyped and right from the beginning I have said no to films if I can’t relate to the roles I was offered,” she adds. So what exactly does she look for when someone approaches her for a film? “I want to play characters which people can relate to in real life. I don’t abuse audience’s common sense. Most people I work with know my mindset. I am game to play any role for that matter, but I don’t want to be a bimbo,” she replies.
In 22 Female Kottayam, she played the role of a nurse who takes revenge after being brutally raped. Ask her about the role and she says, “I had read couple of news articles about such incidents and I was really angry. I think most women related to that emotion.” Rima has come a long way from playing a software professional in Shyamaprasad’s Ritu to a dominating wife in Saji Surendran’s recent film Husbands in Goa. For a journalism graduate, who got her first break after being crowned as the first runner up in Miss Kerala 2008 contest, she has done quite well for herself.
Last year, she was in the news for being one of the few celebrities to raise their voice over the Mullaperiyar dam issue. Was it a conscious choice that she decided to voice her concern on Twitter when most of her contemporaries kept their silence? “No. It was a natural decision. I felt that it was the right thing to do at that point of time. Of course, I didn’t expect that my opinion would bring about a drastic change, but the issue related to every human being around me,” she says. Incidents like this, along with her roles, have substantially contributed to her popularity among the youth. We ask her what she considers to be the turning point in her career and pat comes the reply, “I think things changed after City of God. A lot of directors started believing in me and things have been different since then. I think that’s when cinema became a passion for me, more than profession,” she smiles.
She avers that Malayalam cinema is going through a lot of change these days. “In the 80s and 90s, a lot of our films used to deal with small issues affecting us and the focus was on our emotional journey. After a long time, the directors are going back to the roots which defined Malayalam cinema. Now that times have changed, a lot of new dimensions are being explored,” she says. The best compliment she has got so far is from veteran director Fazil. “His son Fahad Fazil had played the lead role in 22 Female Kottayam along with me. After watching the film Fazil called me and said that he liked his son’s acting and I didn’t know what he was getting to. It was only when he said, ‘My son acted in the film and you lived in your role,’ did I realise the sort of impact the role had made,” Rima beams.
Recently, she has ventured into fashion designing under the label ‘Soul Sisters’ along with two of her friends. “I wanted to make some money apart from my acting,” she quips! So how much has she changed as a person in the past few years? “I think I have become more sensitive to a lot of things in life. Cinema has changed me a lot, but it’s scary to be a role model,” she says.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Hemanth writes primarily about Telugu cinema, although he finds inspiration from the works of filmmakers like Woody Allen. Apart from writing, he spends most of his time on Twitter discussing about cinema, travel and life in Hyderabad.