April 08, 2012 Y. Sunitha Chowdhary
When LBW released last year and Chinmayi Ghatrazu stayed back to bask in it's success and announced she would pursue an acting career, not all believed her. People thought that she was another glam-struck heroine, but the actor proved all wrong with her second film the just released Lovely.
The film might be bad but as the second lead and a Telangana-speaking heroine she walked away with all the honours. The Dallas-based Telugu girl Chinmayi Ghatrazu knows what she wants from life and is very clear about where she is heading. "I'm not going to be a part of any vanity projects carved for a hero, I am here to be an actor and not a star. I've no control over a film's content and it's future at the market but If I select a role I'm going to give it my 100 percent.
Have been around 18 years in Dallas but I have a knack for observing and picking up languages Hispanic or Afro-Asian. I dubbed for this role and most of it was edited; I remember when I spoke this dialect people in CMR College where this part was shot bursted out laughing. It was supposed to be Telangana initially but turned out to be Hyderabadi Telugu. LBW was shot in USA, only certain portion was done here but this experience was real, working with movie people," quips Chinmayi.
The actor says she's never been so sure about her career. She was a student of science initially but couldn't pursue the subject ahead. "I wanted to do behavioural sciences but then I realised I am not cut out for it. I had the ability but not the passion.
We were allowed to attend all classes initially to decide what we wanted. I had this project of interviewing emotionally repressed people and I would carry all the baggage home. The Americans are very good at treating it just as a job but I guess psychology wasn't my cup of tea. It was difficult to get emotionally detached.
I found comfort in music, dance, arts and acting and I picked up a job in a radio station, did voice-overs, a commercial, participated in pageants and got a lot of exposure and then films happened. I really enjoyed practising at 12 in the night."
Chinmayi declined Bejawada Rowdilu and concentrated on forming a like-minded group. She is working on a script and will soon co-direct a cross-over film. She would also be acting in a role of a soft and a confused girl in a Telugu film that deals with Telugu families and boys having a fetish and an obsession for IT degrees and jobs.
"When we first moved to Dallas, we would drive 45-50 minutes to spot an Indian store but after the IT boom, every Telugu boy who can hardly speak a word of English would land here to get an IT job.
I don't want to offend anybody but the focus here is on the infrastructure, the education system and parents pressure on their children to get a engineering degree first. Even if you want to be a filmmaker one must become an engineer and then do what they want. It is a prerequisite to accomplish one's dreams, this would be a funny take on the system."
The one year between LBW and Lovely, Chinmayi did get offers but she pushed them away. "I don't regret that, I watched a lot of films, did a great deal of writing. Within the given limitations here, I'd rather do a role that I believe in; whether I ger appreciated or criticised doesn't matter," she signs off confidently.