Vaibhavi Shandilya talks about the film, ‘Martin’, and her association with it, the
on-screen chemistry she shares with Dhruva Sarja.
Along with the original Kannada version, the action thriller film ‘Martin’ is also scheduled to be released in Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, and Malayalam languages. It is directed by A P Arjun and based on a story written by Arjun Sarja. The film stars Dhruva Sarja and Vaibhavi Shandilya in the lead roles and is produced by Uday K. Mehta.
In this interview, Vaibhavi Shandilya talks about the film and her association with it, the on-screen chemistry she shares with Dhruva Sarja, her experiences of working in different regional industries, and her influences and inspirations.
Q. Tell us about Martin. Also tell us about your part in the film.
A. The response so far has been phenomenal and we all are very excited. My character’s name is Preeti. She is a brave, patriotic, fearless, and adorable small-town girl from Madikeri, Karnataka.
Q. Given it seems like an out-and-out action thriller with Dhruva Sarja in the forefront, what made you sign up for the project? What kind of chemistry does your character share with him in the film?
A. Though Martin is an action thriller, it has an emotional love segment and every other flavor that a commercial Indian cinema offers. Moreover, I could resonate with the traits of Preeti. Another reason for me to say ‘yes’ to Martin is the team. Right from our producer (Uday Mehta), director (AP Arjun), lead actor (Dhruva Sarja), our musicians, fight masters, and technicians, we have the best from the Indian film industry. My chemistry with Dhruva on-screen is of pure love interest and emotions.
Q. You started your career with the Marathi film Janiva in 2015. Subsequently, you have mostly starred in Tamil and Kannada films. How do you look at your experiences of working in different industries?
A. My journey has been quite a learning experience. Acting in multilingual films has made me confident enough that I can act in any possible cinema industry and language in this world.
Q. Tell us about your experience of shooting for the Egyptian Arabic film Gahem Fe El Hend. How did that materialise?
A. I made my appearance in an Indian song which was included in an Egyptian film. Choreographer Vishnu Deva had approached me for the same and I gave it a shot.
Q. A lot of the films coming out from South India are being presented as pan-India films. As an actor, what is your idea of a pan-India film? How important is it for a film to taste success outside its region/country/core audience base?
A. Martin is a film from the Kannada Film industry. It’s going to have a worldwide release and be dubbed in other commonly spoken languages in India. I would not like to term any film as ‘pan-India,’ since every film that is made in India comes under the Indian film industry and is Indian cinema. So, bifurcating industries by calling them Bollywood, Sandalwood, Tollywood, Kollywood, etc, is just because we have come up with such names over time looking at Hollywood. We as Indians should commonly refer to our films as part of the Indian film industry or Indian cinema. As an actor working with passionate cinema-loving people, this is what I look forward to, irrespective of the language. It’s amazing to see audiences across our nation and globe relishing the flavors of cinema from the Kannada Film industry. Films like Martin will surely make people turn their heads and wait for more such entertaining films from the Kannada film industry.
Q. What kept you busy during the pandemic? How were you impacted personally and professionally by the pandemic?
A. In 2020, it was a traumatic experience for the whole world. Mostly being home, I would cook different cuisines almost every day, workout at home, and importantly, cleaning and sanitising our space was crucial for health. Binge-watching web shows and movies was another leisure activity, as was playing online games and connecting with friends, relatives, and my social media fans. But in 2021, after shooting for my second Kannada film ‘Gaalipata 2,’ I flew back home to Mumbai from Kazakhstan. I contracted Covid along with my parents; it was a tough time for us. After recovering a couple of weeks later, at a time when over half of our film industry was shut, my curious soul wanted to learn more about yoga, so I completed my yoga teacher training course and a couple of online acting and dance workshops.
Q. Tell us about your influences and inspirations. What are your upcoming projects other than ‘Martin’?
A. Indian films have had a huge influence on me ever since I was a kid, especially Hindi cinema. I used to emulate the expressions, styles, and dances of almost every actor. I grew up watching actors like Madhubala, Dilip Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Rekha, Madhuri Dixit Nene, Shah Rukh Khan, Vidya Balan, and Rajkumar Rao. Their journeys are so inspiring that they are the reason why I am working today in the film industry.
Currently, my main focus is ‘Martin,’ and a few other scripts are in discussion. I will soon announce my next project.