- 09 Dec 2016
- Rheanna Mathews
In conversation with WtzupCity, Manjuvani Bhagyaratnam, who shot to fame as Shirley, in the movie Action Hero Biju, says that she is a singer through and through. She may have a talent for acting and dubbing (she gave voice to Lakshmy Ramakrishnan in Jacobinte Swargarajyam) but singing is what makes her heart soar.
She’s been involved in the industry on and off since 2003, but even though she received countless awards in her youth for her singing (she began training in Carnatic music since the age of three), it was for her role in Action Hero Biju that she gained widespread recognition in Malayali society.
What nobody realises is that Manjuvani is a woman of versatility. She practised as a lawyer, worked in a BPO and even as a radio jockey in Dubai before becoming fully involved in the film industry. And though she received many offers to don comic roles in the wake of Action Hero Biju, she rejected many, unwilling to be typecast as a comic actor. Hardship earlier in life taught her to be tough and to have a full appreciation of her worth, both as a woman and an artist, and grounded her enough to learn to say, “No.” when confronted by the entrenched patriarchy in the film world even if it meant lost financial opportunities.
Asked what her dream project would be, she hopes the day will come when she’s an acclaimed singer, and at that time, she wants to hold a concert for charity. Even now, she thinks of singing for small charitable events, perhaps a collection of golden oldies at an old age home, to transport the inmates to a time when they were sprightly and young. She only hopes for a smile in return, she said.
Words By Rheanna Mathews