Kannada investigative thriller Tatsama Tadbhava, which is gearing up for release on September 15, is a film that was built on friendship. It was a collective effort by three childhood friends, actress Meghana Raj, actor Prajwal Devraj, and producer Pannaga Bharana, all of whom came together to make a film that they believed in.
“Working with friends is tricky,” says Meghana Raj when asked about her experience collaborating with friends. “Especially in cinema because there is a lot of business involved. It is a fine line that you tread when mixing friendship and business. Prajwal, Pannaga, and I have come from film families and we understand the business aspects of it. I am very proud of how our friend group has handled it.”
Meghana Raj is the daughter of prominent character artist Sundar Raj and actress Pramila Joshai. Her father has worked in films starring legendary stars such as Dr. Rajkumar, Shankar Nag, Dr. Vishnuvardhan, and modern stars such as Darshan, Kichcha Sudeep, Shivarajkumar, and Puneeth Rajkumar. For Meghana Raj, the film world was always enticing, despite it being a regular affair.
“Till now cinema is often seen as a fictional realm where everything is great and sort of unattainable,” she says. “Despite growing up around films and the industry, I still had this notion of films being heavenly and perfect, and how the world is supposed to be. I still feel that way but not as strongly.”
The actor started her career with an unreleased film with legendary director K Balachander. She made her official debut in the Telugu film Bendu Apparao R.M.P in 2009 and made her Kannada debut with the Yogesh starrer Punda. Since then, she has appeared in a number of films such as Raja Huli, Atagara, and Bahuparak. She has also made a mark in the Malayalam industry, which is why Tatsama Tadbhava is getting a bilingual release. With over 14 years in the industry as an actor, Meghana Raj feels that she is only beginning to get comfortable with herself.
“When I entered the film industry, I don’t think I was perfect in the physical sense,” says Meghana. “I was not very skinny, like the Mumbai-imported heroines of the time. And I felt that everything was going to be easier for me as I was part of a film family. Nepotism did not work in my case. So, things like the way I dressed and the way I looked made me very uncomfortable. These superficial things matter in cinema. But today, I love myself the way I am.”
After growing up in the industry and working in it for almost a decade and a half, Meghana Raj is still trying to reinvent herself with the thriller Tatsama Tadbhava, which she says is more cerebral than the average film, that allows audiences to solve the case along with the characters. The film, which was launched in 2020 and has seen several setbacks, is finally getting a release.
“I want to do a romcom next,” says Meghana Raj when asked what she would like to explore after this film, “Someone please write a romcom for me. I don’t want to do any more realistic films. I mean, not that I don’t want to do them, I just want to do something light-hearted. I want to dress up well, I want to look good, and I want to be a damsel in distress for once. I have never played one in my career. It is nice to be rescued by a knight in shining armour. I love the old-school Disney vibe.”