Actress Karthika Muraleedharan announced her arrival in Malayalam cinema playing the heroine to Dulquer Salmaan in the film 'CIA'. She was noted for her dialogues delivered in a mix of English and Malayalam. Ask Karthika about her hobbies and she will give a reply in one word: Travel!
The young actress, who loves visiting places and enjoying the sights, is also thrilled over getting a chance to debut in films along with her favourite star. She had a double delight during the shooting of her first film as a trip to Illikkal Kallu (Illikkal rock) was part of the schedule.
“It was a fantastic experience to climb the rock along with my favourite actor,” says Karthika.
Though she has travelled to many places, the trip to Illikkal rock as part of the film shooting was a unique experience, adds the actress.
Karthika was born and brought up in Mumbai. She travels once every year to her mother’s place in Kerala where she enjoys life in a village and the natural scenery.
Visiting Illikkal Kallu for the shooting of Amal Neerad’s ‘CIA’ (Comrade In America) was Karthika’s first trip to the place. The place is covered with fog most of the time but when it clears, the scenery around is breathtaking, she says.
“The highlight of the trip is hidden behind the veil formed by the mist,” says the actress poetically.
Karthika, who loves trekking, is also thrilled over climbing up the hill along with DQ, as Dulquer is known.
The main attraction of Illikkal Kallu is the weather. The fog appears from nowhere and surrounds everything in no time. Another feature is the wind. “The cool breeze blows often, even at noon,” says Karthika. “I liked that very much,” she adds.
However, the climb up the steep hill was not an easy task. “But I enjoyed it,” reveals Karthika.
From the top of the rock, the view of the valleys and towns downhill are amazing. “Suddenly the fog would appear and nothing would be seen. We feel as if floating among the clouds,” she recalls.
But the next moment, a strong breeze may blow across the place and the sights would be visible again.
Karthika liked the adventurous trip very much, especially as she was accompanying DQ.
On the last day of shooting, Dulquer gave her some tips. “You should travel a lot and visit many more places. Also, you have to read books,” he told the budding actress. “DQ must have realized that I was a travel freak,” says Karthika about why Dulquer gave her such advice. “Anyway, I felt extremely happy,” reveals the actress.
The last schedule of CIA’s shooting was at Texas in the US. “The temperature was zero degrees Centigrade and everything was frozen. But I enjoyed the sights as well as the cool weather,” says Karthika.
The trip with Mammootty
Karthika considers she is lucky to have been able to travel with both DQ and his father Mammootty. “Though the trips were as part of film shooting, I was really excited,” she adds.
“I never thought that I would be able to act with Mammookka,” says the youngster.
When she arrived on the sets of ‘Uncle’, Karthika was apprehensive about approaching a senior actor like Mammootty. “But two days later, I mustered the courage to talk to him,” she says.
“Almost the entire film involved travelling along picturesque spots,” says Karthika about ‘Uncle’.
“The shooting started from Ooty. We spent five days there. I was thrilled to be in the woods among the wild streams and animals,” she says.
From Ooty, the film crew travelled to Wayanad. “The route was through national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. An interesting part of the journey was the encounter with wild animals, especially deer which strayed on to the road. The film shooting inside the forest was also great,” says Karthika.
A traveller will fall in love with Wayanad at first sight. “The mist-covered hills, paddy fields and thick forests entice visitors. As a bonus are the numerous historic sites and lakes located amid picture postcard scenery,” she explains.
Wayanad is the ideal destination for nature lovers and Karthika too found the trip much satisfying.
At Wayanad, the actress stayed at a resort named ‘Wayanad Fort’ near the forest. “At night, shining eyes can be seen in the woods from the terrace of the resort. Initially, I felt a little afraid at the sight, but soon learnt that it was a herd of deer. The trip helped me feel the pulse of the wild,” says Karthika.
A visit to Anakkulam
A scene in ‘Uncle’ was picturised at Anakkulam, a pond where wild elephants come for a sip. “When everything was ready for the shoot, we were told that a herd of elephants was heading to our location. We all moved away and allowed the elephants to drink water from the pond. But after that, Forest Department officials exploded fire crackers to prevent more jumbos from coming there and we quickly completed the scene and left the area,” relates Karthika.
She is now an admirer of Wayanad and recommends Muthanga and Tholpetty wildlife sanctuaries for nature lovers who wish to watch wild animals, especially elephant herds, at close quarters.