‘I feel like I was made to shine under the arc lights, but sans the starry tantrums,” says Amrutha and wins our heart instantly.
Growing up in the quiet environs of Mysuru, Amrutha Iyengar was your regular school-going child but remembers being drawn to classical dance “like a moth to a flame.” The family was filled with writers, social workers and actors, particularly ones who excelled at street plays and Amrutha was witness to this constant banter about culture and the arts. “My mother especially was extremely interested in acting and during college, when I received my first acting offer from a family friend, it was my mother who was ecstatic. I think it was me who was apprehensive about entering films since I had no such plans whatsoever. I was more keen to pursue psychology and forensic science, subjects, I had chosen in college. But mum said, “not everyone gets a chance like this, so grab it.” So that’s how I ended up doing my first film Simha Hakida Hejje in 2017,” shares Amrutha.
And when she gave her first shot, the debutant felt like she’s been there and had been delivering dialogues forever. “None on the set were ready to believe that this was my first film and that I had no prior acting experience. I too felt like I was made for this,” she smiles. Soon, Amrutha received Popkorn Monkey Tiger and Love Mocktail, both of which fetched her much notice. “My roles as Sumitra in Popkorn Monkey Tiger and Jo in Love Mocktail were well appreciated by the audience. I realised that along with the well-etched characters that these films gave me, it was my realistic portrayal of them that further connected me to audiences. I am very much a middle-class girl at heart because that’s been my upbringing. And that’s a trait I carry within me and also unconsciously lend to my roles. I like being real and retaining that innocence that my family has blessed me with. I guess fans connect with this quality of mine and feel like I’m one of them,” points out the actor.
Amrutha adds that she is also one of those actors who doesn’t like throwing tantrums and prefers being fuss free. “How you are as a person truly matters besides your acting skills. Probably why the heroes I have worked with have also repeated me including Dhananjaya with whom I’ve done the recent Badava Rascal after Popkorn Monkey Tiger and Likith Shetty with whom I’ve done Family Pack and will start in a Malayalam remake shortly. I do my hometown, take my work seriously and don’t attach much importance to make up,” she smiles.
Amrutha is fascinated by roles that offer her a challenge to portray them. “I love roles that demand that I look tanned or demand that I play a historical part. They must be realistic or else forget the audience; I myself will not be able to connect with them. So even if I play a high-society girl, she must be someone I can relate to. The character must have innocence,” she tells us. The actor is also clear about another aspect: she will never do a film just because it has a big hero or is backed by a mega production house. “I must have something substantial to do in the film. The character must excite me. I will not come and go in one scene just because the hero is a star and it will look good on my roster,” states Amrutha.
Her thoughts on branching to other languages? “I think it’s wonderful to be able to explore another language. The flavour of each language is varied and the nativity of Tamil is far different from Telugu; Telugu has a uniqueness that is different from Malayalam and so forth. As an actor, isn’t it wonderful to imbibe all these flavours and learn new things?,” she tells us. On a parting shot, we ask Amrutha her wish list of directors. “Prashanth Neel for his raw subjects, Sukumar sir for the bold, rustic women characters in his films and of course Anurag Kashyap for the unique women characters in his films. I also have women-oriented characters that haunt me like Kangana Ranaut in Queen and Vidya Balan in Kahaani. Raj B Shetty and Rishab Shetty also make interesting films,” she signs off.