Eclectic Performer: Devika Bhise
Recently in the news for playing scientist Srinivasa Ramanujan’s wife in the upcoming film The Man Who Knew Infinity, Indo-American actor Devika Bhise believes her Bharatanatyam training helped her to turn into a Tamilian Brahmin Iyengar girl from the early 20th century. Devika states, “I loved playing someone who actually existed as opposed to using myself as a starting point. It made me work a lot harder in finding out what her character traits are.”
The New York-born 26-year-old remembers, “I was always the lead in the insufferably long plays that my cousins and I used to put up for my parents. I loved the spotlight, and I would regularly make people listen to me sing.” After repeatedly watching My Fair Lady and The Sound of Music, and having idolised both Audrey Hepburn and Julie Andrews, she realised she wanted to be a part of that world.
Her mother, Swati Bhise, a classical Indian dancer, is her role model. Devika admits, “I learned so much from growing up with another performer. The way she has balanced her career and family is inspiring.”
Growing up in an Indian home, Devika absorbed the culture without having to make an effort, by eating traditional food every day, speaking Hindi and Marathi, learning to read the Devanagari script and chanting Sanskrit slokas. “I was one of the few Indian girls in my class and we were often mistaken for each other. But other than that, I don’t think being Indian had any bearing on the people with whom I became friends.”
Devika has worked in a documentary short, Anamika, produced another short, Hail Mary, and formed a production company, Shooting Jane. As she is set to start work on an adventure film, Shambhala, opposite Jonathan Rhys Meyers, she feels, “You have to create opportunities for yourself rather than wait for them to find you.”
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