After a quiet kickstart in the film industry with Crazy Boy, Kannada film industry’s stunning starlet Ashika Ranganath created ripples with the 100 days celebration of Raambo 2. With more than three films in her current kitty of ongoing film shoots including one with Puneeth Rajkumar’s production house, she’s constantly reading scripts and is raring to go.

Cover Photo credits

Photography: @theportraitstudio_tps
Outfit: @emeraldstoreofficial 

Styling: @beingstyl & @stylefiles_bydeepikareddy
Jewellery: @jangadi_silver & @heerbypriyanka
Makeup: @dileep_mua
Hair: @bunnu_95

Tell us about your growing up days. Where did you study? Your time spent later at college. What was your dream career in your childhood days?
I was born in Haasan and brought up in Tumkur. Till 10th standard I was in Tumkur and came to Bangalore for my Pre University at Jyoti Nivas College and then joined MES College. I had no clue as a child what I wanted to do in life, but somewhere around middle school years, I took a keen interest in cultural events and dances. In every school program, I had to perform and participate. I was also the Cultural Secretary in my school. All my teachers and friends used to encourage me a lot and tell me that you belong to the cine world and you must purse a career in the cinema industry. I wasn’t really interested in those days, as I was a bright student and was good in studies. I had dabbled with dreams of becoming a doctor, but soon when I realised how difficult the medical field is, I changed my mind.

When and how did the journey towards being an actor happen?
I started dancing and learning more dance styles after I moved to Bangalore. I also started doing dance shows. I gave an audition for the Fresh Face contest when I was in my 12th standard as my teachers and friends insisted I take part in it. That was my first exposure to this glamour world. I still can’t forget how good it felt putting on professional makeup, dressing up like a model, facing the camera and doing my first ramp walk. Those pictures were circulated everywhere and when I put them up on my social media I was approached by a director from the Kannada film industry. His name was Mahesh Babu and he introduced me to the Sandalwood industry with the film Crazy Boy. I’m so glad I did this as the journey has been going really well so far.

What are your other passions and hobbies? If not an actor what else would you have considered being?
I love dancing, so maybe I would have pursued dance. Or maybe I would have started some business or become an entrepreneur. I sometimes paint and read books. Also these days working out has been my passion. I was never a gym person earlier, but when I started gymming, I started loving it. I also discovered a lot of different workout forms like yoga, pilates, crossfit and so many others that I love.

How challenging was it to carve out a niche for yourself?
I never considered it a challenge. When I started off, I was still in the first year of college and the first three years just went by. I wasn’t serious about acting then. By the end of the third year of college, I decided this is what I wanted to do. As a newcomer, there are a few challenges because you’re not experienced and directors don’t consider you for good roles. People don’t know you as you don’t have a film background nor are you famous. For the first few films, I had to give many auditions and then I started getting some roles. It’s a part of any career. I can’t say I got it very easily but I didn’t feel it was very tough either. Maintaining your image and stardom can also be challenging.

How have the last few years in the industry panned out for you? How did you come to where you are today?
When I was started off I was a newcomer. There were other actors who were introduced with me maybe with just a one film hit or a one song hit, but I didn’t have that chance in my first film. It took me a couple of films to be recognised and called by my name. I was trying to figure out how this whole industry works and was taking baby steps then. When my film ‘Raambo 2’ released in 2018, it became a blockbuster hit. Our song ‘Chuttu Chuttu’ from ‘Raambo 2’ was also a huge hit and reached a 100 million views on YouTube. It was the first Kannada song to get that reach and that became a benchmark in my career. That opened a door of opportunities for me to figure out my way ahead. It also gave many opportunities in other industries, besides, of course, a lot of good work in our Kannada film industry. There is never a one way graph in an actor’s career. Not all your films will be a big hit. There will be a lot of fluctuations. I’m not so much of an extrovert. I’m more of a private person so I don’t let things affect me that much. I used to stay away from what the world has to say and focus on my career.

What have been some of the biggest highpoints of your journey so far?
The first highpoint was when I watched myself on the big screen and the reaction around, I felt yes I can act. I can do something good in this industry. When I saw people applauding, hooting and cheering for me, I told myself that this is great. That gave me the confidence. And then my biggest highpoint was when my first hit film Raambo 2 did the rounds in 2018, and was talked about by everyone in the industry. Raambo 2 even completed 100 successful days in the theatres. After that everytime I go and watch a new film of mine that’s released in the theatres, I love to see how people reciprocate and react to my scenes. It gives me such a high. The biggest high is everytime I get a good reaction about my performance from my fans. Nothing can beat that.

What does family mean to you?
My family has been a major part of my career. My mom has been always pushing my sister and me to do our best in this industry. Even my dad is able to understand and has been very encouraging. Both my parents have been very supportive who have been a great backbone, my strength and a pillar of our support. As a family, it is important to support each other. My sister helps me a lot to decide on choosing the right script, and what role will be good for me. My mom also helps me organise and manage my work and my dad sometimes accompanies me on my shoots. It’s a great feeling.

Were there any kind of apprehensions entering the field of cinema and now that you’ve made a name what do you think went in your favour?
Yes, there were a few apprehensions when my first film was announced and my relatives asked my parents why are you sending your girl in this industry as it’s not safe. The usual household drama happened but today when they all come home they like to take pictures with me and they tell others that they are related to me. Only when you achieve a name then people start recognising and realise your true potential. Initially they were not so happy about it but I am where I am today because of my family and because they stood strong for me.

What is your vision and dream in this field that you’re in now?
I never started off with a vision, but eventually I started building a dream. I would love to keep entertaining my fans and followers and also do beautiful work for them. I would like to constantly keep improving in my work and take care of my family. My dream has always been to do good films and continue on the path of sustainable growth. I want to make my family and people who stood by me proud.

How different do you feel you are from the others around?
Though I’m an actor and recognized by a lot of people around, I like to keep my private life private. I don’t like to behave like a star in public, so I like to move about quietly without being recognized or creating that kind of stardom around me, because at the end of the day we are all human beings just doing our work. If people come and ask me for pictures I don’t have a problem with that and I always pose for a picture. But I don’t like to create a scene with assistants, managers or bouncers tagging along. This is especially when I’m on my own. When I’m making public appearances and they are announced then I obviously have to be escorted by bouncers, security and assistants.

Who are your close friends in the industry? Who is your 2 am friend?
Honestly, no very close friends from the industry. They’re all good friends, but my 2 am friends are from outside the industry.

How do you manage to get a work-life balance?
I’m more of a private person. Once I’m at work, I’m doing my work diligently like going to an office and then after 6 pm there’s pack up. There’s no connection between my work and my private life. It’s always been like that and I would like to keep it the same way. I feel these two shouldn’t affect each other.

How often do you take holidays with family or friends? What are your preferred holiday destinations?
I would love to do a lot of holidays with my family and friends. I travel for shoot with my parents so we do give each other a lot of time and on Sundays and festivals also we are together. So, when I travel for leisure I go out with my friends and cousins. I love Europe, specially Switzerland. I’m more of a nature person and love the Swiss Alps. I’m someone who likes to keep a balance between leisure and adventure on my travels. I’m a water baby and love to try water sports. In Thailand, I tried scuba diving with my friends. It was lovely to dive into the sea and swim with the sharks, turtles and fish.

What is your dream man like? Would you prefer to date someone from the industry or from outside?
Someone who is very understanding, caring and knows the importance of giving time to relationships and work. He should be good looking and a family person. If he’s from the industry or outside doesn’t really matter, but it’s important the person understands the kind of work I do.

Are you a romantic at heart in real life? What is the most romantic thing anyone has done for you?
I’m very romantic and would love to have a romantic partner. My romantic expectations are very high and being in the industry I get a lot of long messages on love and how they love to wake up and sleep with my post. So far no other romance has happened in my life other than my fans professing how much they love me.

Any crazy fan message or incident you’d like to share?
I’m really glad that I have so many loving fans and each of them are so amazing. When I’m at home on Sundays a lot of people gather outside my home just for a picture with me. Some of them travel really far from north Karnataka and beyond just to get a picture with me. I feel I’m so blessed when I see all this. I think this is quite crazy and sometimes I may not be at home but they don’t know and they keep waiting outside my gate.

Have you noticed a change in roles being written and offered to women these days?
I’m happy about the change as it’s always been a male dominated industry earlier. It’s great to see the change.

What is your fitness routine like?
I’m a fitness enthusiast. I workout five days a week. Sundays are for taking rest and I tend to skip one day sometimes but other than that I do some exercise everyday. I do yoga five times a week and do crossfit three to four times a week. Right now this has been my routine, but I keep changing. Earlier I was doing pilates and before that only going to the gym, but now it’s more of crossfit and yoga.

What’s your style mantra? And your beauty regime?
I just see my comfort zone. I like to wear comfortable clothes. I like to try new trends, but if I’m not comfortable in them I don’t wear them. I was never into any beauty regime earlier, but now I feel it’s important and take out time to take care of my skin and hair as being in this industry one has to be careful with your skin and hair.

Which language and which genre of acting are you most comfortable with? What language do you speak at home?
We speak in Kannada at home and I feel most comfortable in Kannada. It is my mother tongue and I always feel very comfortable performing in Kannada.

What are the film and other projects you’re working on currently? Please share all the details about your current projects and also upcoming ones?
I just finished dubbing for my Kannada film ‘O2’ where I play the lead. It’s a Puneeth Rajkumar production and Ashwini Puneeth Rajkumar is producing it. It’s a medical thriller and is one of my first deglam performance oriented role with a lot of emphasis on the female protagonist. We will be starting the promotions soon for this film and I’m very excited about it. Another Kannada film that I’m acting in is titled ‘Gatha Vaibhava’. It’s my third film with director Simple Suni and it is the handsome actor Dushyant’s debut film. The script is beautiful and we are currently shooting for it.
My other upcoming film is in Tamil with actor Siddharth. I’m also currently listening to a lot of new scripts alongside acting in ads, doing brand endorsements and events.

What are your future plans for yourself personally and for your career as well?
I’m just going with the flow and I’m happy where I am today. I would love to grow as an actor and do good to my family as a daughter. I would also like to start a business and run it alongside my career as an actor.

Rapid Fire

Your dream role?
Any historic, strong, fierce and beautiful character

Favourite actor and actress? Your favourite movie?
Puneeth Rajkumar and Alia Bhatt. 3 Idiots.

Your pet peeve?
I can’t have any lights on or any sound around when I’m sleeping.

Some essentials that are always in your bag?
Sunglasses, perfume, lip balm, phone and airpods.

Yoga or gym?

Indian food or global cuisine?
Indian food.

What does social media mean to you?
A platform to connect to your people.

Beaches or hills?

Veg or non veg?
Non veg.

A recent film you liked?
Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway.

Fame or money?