Within five years, Rashmi Mandanna has managed to carve out a place for herself in the Telugu and Kannada film industries, and has carved her way into the hearts of the nation as the feisty Srivalli in the blockbuster Pushpa.
Even before Pushpa – The Rise became a massive hit with ₹365 crore at the box office, the film’s heroine Rashmika Mandanna topped Forbes India’s most influential actors on social media list in October 2021.
The actor even beat stars like Samantha, his Dear comrade co-star Vijay Deverakonda and Yash topped the list with 300 million Instagram followers.
But, the national success of his film with Allu Arjun, Pushpa – The rise, made her the current Bollywood crush as she has nearly three Hindi movies up her sleeve, including projects with Big B and Ranbir Kapoor.
The creators of the Ranbir-starrer Animal announced on Saturday (April 2) that she had signed up for the film. The Hindi language crime drama is directed by Sandeep Reddy Vanga of Kabir Singh renowned and supported by T-Series.
T-series announced Rashmika’s casting on their official Twitter account. “On the auspicious occasion of Ugadi & Gudi Padwa, we welcome @iamRashmika to the #Animal team! Filming begins this summer,” the tweet read.
On the auspicious occasion of Ugadi & Gudi Padwa, we welcome @iamRashmika to the team of #Animal!
Filming begins this summer.@AnilKapoor #RanbirKapoor @thedeol @imvangasandeep #BhushanKumar @VangaPranay @MuradKhetani #KrishanKumar @anilandbhanu pic.twitter.com/BeNEQj6nyL
— T-Series (@TSeries) April 2, 2022
Often dubbed ‘India’s national favourite’ due to her massive popularity, Coorg’s beauty cemented that title with the smash hit of Pushpa. It’s no surprise that Bollywood hired her, given the industry’s legendary fondness for South Indian actresses from the days of Hema Malini, Rekha and Sridevi to more recent times with Vidya Balan, Asin and Deepika Padukone.
Today, Rashmika has Majnu mission opposite Siddarth Malhotra and Bye with Big B. She is also chased by brands for endorsements and is said to be the face of nearly 10 brands.
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Mandanna, 25, made her Indian cinema debut with Kannada’s rudest film, Kirik Party (2016). The manufacturers of Kirik party saw a photo of her at a beauty pageant and approached her to star in the film. Upon entering movies, Rashmika said in an interview, “I always wanted to be in movies. I watched actors receive awards and thank their parents in their acceptance speeches – it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. But honestly, I didn’t think I would make such a big movie. I would just say I’m lucky.
Luck remained with the actor as, within five years, she continued to star in some of the most successful films. In 2018, she had two hit romantic movies in Telugu — Gita Govindam with Vijay Deverakonda (her supposed boyfriend) and Devadas with Nani and Nagarjuna. In Gita Govindam, she played the role of an independent young woman, desperately courted by Deverakonda who must prove that he is a good guy. The film became a sleeper success, and critics called Rashmika an actor with an “easy screen presence and the potential to handle more well-written parts”.
The following year, in her had Yajamana, where she was back in Kannada cinema. The film with Darshan ran for over 100 days in Karnataka and was a huge commercial success. She also had Dear Comrade, in which she played Lily, a state-level cricketer, who falls in love with student union leader with anger issues, Bobby (Deverakonda). Lily takes Bobby on a journey of self-realization and transformation. However, despite her earnest efforts to keep him out of the path of violence, he is drawn to her and this attitude threatens to tear their relationship apart.
One of the reviewers said of her acting in the film, “The real star of the film is Rashmika Mandanna, who makes Lily one of the most memorable and strongest female lead characters of recent times with her splendid performance. It’s amazing how she stands out among a group of men and makes her presence felt. Perhaps that’s the secret of her success – her strong screen presence and acting skills help him carve out a place.
Rashmika played a typical love interest in Mahesh Babu’s Telugu action drama Sarileru Neekevvaru, who also became a top grosser. She didn’t have much of a role in this mass entertainer. After another masala artist, Bhishma with Nithiinand Pogaru with Dhruva Sarja, Rashmika made her Tamil cinema debut with another commercial film, Sultan.
The fury of the “Saami saami”
But in Allu Arjun-led Pushpa, she held on as Srivalli, the one Pushpa falls madly in love with. His song Sami Sami went viral on social media and her fanbase grew. Now she’s set to take Hindi cinema by storm as she makes her debut with a spy thriller Majnu mission, opposite Sidharth Malhotra. She will also be seen in another Hindi film Bye alongside megastar Amitabh Bachchan.
Taking to Instagram, Amitabh shared a photo of the two of them together. In the photo, smitten by actress Pushpa, the lead actor wrote, “Pushpa..!!!”
Rashmika said working with Amitabh was simply everyone’s dream in an interview with a news channel. There are a lot of responsibilities that come with it, but she wanted to focus on the chemistry with him, she said.
According to Rashmika, she and Bachchan Senior “hit it up” the moment they met. “He’s calm as a person, but at the same time, he shares an immense amount of love with his co-stars and crew. He’s a gem! she said.
In the meantime, she will start filming this summer for Animal, which also includes Anil Kapoor and Bobby Deol. The film is set to release on August 11, 2023. Previously, actor Parineeti Chopra was cast in the film, but according to media reports, she had to pull out. Animal due to scheduling conflicts.
Rashmika was engaged to the hero of her first Kannada film, Rakshit Shetty. However, they mutually broke off their engagement after a year. She is said to be dating Deverakonda and the two are often spotted at dinner parties. In an interview, Rashmika confessed that Deverakonda helped her get over her breakup with Shetty.D
Posts of positivity
Rashmika also posts messages of positivity on social media. Once she said, “The world is a lot better with you! By you, I mean all of you. You all make me so happy and each one of you is so important. So if any of you find today difficult, painful or unbearable, I know how you feel. And so, know that I am sending my love and power to you to get through today.
Rashmika Mandanna will also begin filming the sequel to Pushpa – The rise.