‘Toby’ star Chaithra J Achar on her ‘SSE (Side B)’ experience and being a risk-taker
Chaithra J Achar loves multitasking. She attributes her engineer-turned-actor career to her ability to take risks. “When you join engineering, there are so many subjects. Some are irrelevant, but you still have to study them; so you get used to multitasking,” she laughs.
“Engineering colleges also have cultural departments that actively push students to sing, dance, and pursue theatre. That said, the number of engineers who have made it to other fields is low. Those who have made it are the risk-takers. If you choose this route, then you should be okay with uncertainty. You should be ready to eat a bun and tea instead of a proper meal some days.”
For Chaithra, an eventful 2023 will close with the year’s biggest release in Kannada, Sapta Sagaradaache Ello (Side B). The second and final part of Hemanth M Rao’s intense relationship drama, also starring Rakshit Shetty and Rukmini Vasanth, hits screens on November 17. The actress wasn’t part of Sapta Sagaradaache Ello (Side A), which received praise for offering an immersive experience to the audience; how did she come on board for the second part?
“I went to the audition thinking it was for Hemanth’s next project after SSE. I didn’t know he was planning a Side B to the film,” says Chaithra with a laugh. “When Hemanth told me that they are looking for someone to play the role of Surabhi, I was thrilled. He told me that Surabhi is someone in her late 20s and asked me to enact a scene in a saree. While I performed, his eyes lit up. That was a positive sign. Later, he sent a message, saying, ‘Hi, Surabhi. Welcome to the film.’ I was over the moon.”
Having done theatre in college, Chaithra debuted in Kannada web series Bengaluru Queens before stepping into films. She played a tribal woman in the National Award-winning film Taledanda, starring the late Sanchari Vijay in the lead, and a girl with cerebral palsy in Gilky. Then came Raj B Shetty’s Toby, which was Chaithra’s first big break in the Kannada film industry.
In the revenge saga, released on August 24, Chaithra played Jenny, an orphan raised by an innocent yet violent mute man Toby (essayed by Raj). Chaithra was brilliant as someone who imbibed the fearlessness of her father even as she grew more sensible than him.
“Jenny is very straightforward and the mature one among the two. In this sense, she is like a mother to Toby. While preparing for the role, I had to observe the behaviours of mother figures everywhere; I even started observing my own mother. There is a certain way Jenny walks, talks, and stands. All these things came from my observations of a lot of people.”
Chaithra recalls the role to be an “emotionally draining” one. “While filming the emotional scenes, Raj and I wouldn’t use glycerine to cry. It didn’t matter even if we took multiple takes for a scene.”
Also a trained singer, Chaithra’s rendition of the famous Kannada folk song Sojugada Sooju Mallige was a hit in Raj B Shetty’s sophomore film Garuda Gamana Vrishabha Vahana (GGVV). Chaithra’s challenge was to be different from the highly-popular version sung by Ananya Bhat.
“We all had heard Ananya Bhat’s version. It was quite slow, and music director Midhun Mukundhan wanted my rendition to be crisp. Raj chose me because he didn’t want a mature voice for the song. If you see the film, the song comes during the scene where Raj’s character of Shiva is dancing in the rain after murdering his rival. So, my song had to pacify the character and calm his anger. It’s like a prayer to Lord Shiva. Midhun asked me to sing like the way I would sing for my Instagram reel. It worked,” she says.
Having featured in quite a few intense roles in her emerging career, Chaithra admits that acting can be both physically and emotionally taxing. “One day after a shoot, my body was hurting, and I started crying. I asked myself why I was doing this. Did I really need to push myself so much? But soon, I consoled myself because acting is a job I love, and I would do it a million times,” she concludes.
#Toby #star #Chaithra #Achar #SSE #Side #experience #risktaker