In 2023, two actresses took the limelight in the second half of the year in Kannada cinema. Rukmini Vasanth became the “Crush of Karnataka” with her mesmerising performance as Priya in Sapta Sagaradaache Ello - Side A, while Chaithra J Achar became a reckoning force with Raj B Shetty’s Toby. The films have propelled them to stardom that they have been working towards for quite some time, and the two will now be seen together in SSE - Side B, which releases on November 17.
Rukmini Vasanth, who made her debut with the 2019 investigative thriller Birbal Trilogy, returned to the screen after four years with the Rakshit Shetty-starrer. “I don’t really take these ‘Crush of Karnataka’-like monikers seriously,” she says. “It feels like a ‘Flavor of the Month’ type of thing where it keeps changing. For an artist, sitting at home and not working can mess with your head. When no one gives you an opportunity, you sign up for a workshop or take some classes. You have to do something, otherwise you will explode.”
Between the two actors, Chaithra and Rukmini have four releases this year including the SSE duology. Their performances have been widely acclaimed and have seen success at the box office as well.
“If we continue to be humble and innocent, others will take us for granted,” says Chaithra when asked if staying humble after success is difficult. “When we are simple and nice, people take it as an opportunity to say anything to you. Hence, when we do get a bit reserved, it can come across as not being humble. I have not taken the pressure to be down to earth because that is what I am known for. We are as normal as other people.”
When asked if they have any advice for aspiring actors, Rukmini says she has a list. “This is something that I have done as well, but do not look at another actress’ career trajectory and then plan yours. You cannot see Deepika Padukone being launched at age 21 and watch her working alongside Shah Rukh Khan at age 23, and make that your goal. You may hit your peak in your 40s and the satisfaction you get from the work will still be as intense. You need patience in this field, and comparison is a thief of joy.”
Chaithra, who agrees with her co-star, adds, “You cannot compare your journey with others because their skill sets are completely different from yours. You cannot feel bad saying, ‘I am not them’. And, you cannot come into the industry thinking, ‘I am pretty, so, I’ll be an actress’. If that is your thought process, your shelf-life will be less. You need to be open to experience and learning.”