How amazing that an issue that is dedicated to breaking taboos also saw our cover-girl break a few in the process! It all began with photographer Vasanth Paul asking Pranitha Subhash if she would plunge into the pool for the first shot of the cover shoot. “Why not? I haven’t done anything like this before. It’s just the perfect opportunity to break some of my self-imposed conventions,” said the actor. Clearly, the tone was set for the day. The actor then went on to preen, pose and pout, sometimes in pop colours and at others, channeling Angelina Jolie from Tombraider. Breaking stereotypes, conventions, barriers, call it what you may, but this lass has turned quite a few notions on their head. Presenting Pranitha in a bare-all conversation…

That was quite a show you put up there for the shoot. Such a far-cry from the girl-next-door image that you have channeled in the pictures we’ve seen of you thus far…
I surprised myself actually. This is clearly a first for me in a decade-long career. I’m aware that I retain a girl-next-door image… pink cheeks, dewy lips and all that. So this shoot has been a complete turnaround for me. I broke quite a few taboos that I had imposed on myself and that includes portraying certain looks. I got into the pool in a gown and from what I hear from my team, the looks I gave to the camera were quite sultry and seductive. Imagine me doing that! I also strutted around in Canary yellow pants and a flaming red and green top and also flaunted yellow-orange lipstick. Truly, shooting for this cover has been a sort of coming-of-age
for me.

You come from a family of academicians and with parents who are doctors. How did acting fit into the scheme of things in a conservative family from South Bangalore?
Dad and mum even have their own hospital, may I add. Yes, they thought I’d follow suit. In fact, I was always among the top-scoring kids both in school and the little bit of college that I did. When I was spotted in a hoarding that I had done as a model (a hobby back then) and got offered my first film, my parents were, needless to say, shocked. To them acting in a film was a huge taboo for a family such as ours. I managed to convince them that I’d do just this one film for a lark. Of course, for a close-knit family where academics are held in high esteem, acting was clearly a taboo. I broke it back then by being the first girl in my family to enter showbiz.

You’ve largely featured in commercial films and have paired opposite some of the biggest stars. However, you don’t seem to follow the norm of being seen on screen ever
so often…
Yes and I’ve consciously kept it that way. I never chase after filmmakers to cast me in their projects nor do I cozy up to any industry folks to land a film. All the big movies I’ve done across languages including my debut Porki with Darshan, Saguni with Karthi, Attarantiki Daredi with Pawan Kalyan, Rabhasa with Jr NTR, Brahmotsavam with Mahesh Babu, Leader with Shivarajkumar and Mass with Suriya have come at their own pace and at the right time. I like this liberty of being able to sift through what I’m offered and only accept what I like.

Your upcoming flick ‘Ramana Avatara’ is not the kind of film you usually take up. Tell us more about it.
The Kannada industry is changing and a lot of young and new-age directors are now gaining prominence. Ever since I entered films, I’ve starred in wholly commercial potboilers. They’ve done me a lot of good, too. But I’ve also wanted to work with some of these new-age directors and that opportunity came by with Ramana Avatara in which I star along with Danish Sait, Raj B Shetty and Rishi. The project is being directed by Vikas and Vinay Pampapathi. It’s a fun film and a genre that will appeal to the generation next. I’m also in talks for my Malayalam debut and another film in Tamil.

You’re one among the rare actresses who has also branched out into entrepreneurship. What was the motivation behind doing so?
I think I’ve always had a sharp mind for business. If I hadn’t been an actor, I’d have probably been a full-time businesswoman. I’m not someone who believes that the world begins and ends with acting. That’s just a part of who I am. Some of my friends are well-known in the hospitality business and they asked me if I wanted to come on-board their venture. They own a popular bar and I am now one of the partners. It was something that challenged me as a person, which is why I took it up. Again, I broke the taboo of a girl entering this sector. A lady-owner of a bar — it was unheard of. How can a woman be associated with alcoholics? The reservations were many but after some detailed conversations with my parents, they came around to the idea of their daughter also having stakes in a bar. Yupp, a bar! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my entrepreneurial journey so far!

Social causes are also figuring in your roster. What inspires you?
Probably the fact that my parents previously wanted me to study further made me prioritise education over all else. Education has the power to pull people out of poverty and give them a new life. The ‘adopt a government school initiative’ is something that excites me because it has so much potential. My parents themselves have come from tough backgrounds and it was education that empowered them to build a life that they had always dreamt of. I hope to give that opportunity to people who can’t afford an education. I’ve hence adopted a government school in Hassan. I’ve also been the brand ambassador for the Election Commission for the past two years to encourage people to vote. Recently I was invited to Israel to share my thoughts on entrepreneurship and the various ways the two countries could collaborate. I felt privileged to say the least.

What’s next on the cards? Any taboos left to break?
Acting, entrepreneurship, education… they’ve all happened to me when I least expected it. I’ll wait and see what life has in store for me. Besides I didn’t do anything in my life with an intention of breaking taboos. It’s not in me to rebel and make a big deal of it. But when I feel something needs my attention, I’ll go about it quietly but firmly. Although I’d be really happy if more girls stepped out of their homes in rural areas and opted for
higher education.

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