If you look at her massive fan following on social media, you’d probably think that she’s a film actress who’s done several super hit movies. But Bengaluru hudugi Disha Madan has managed to garner a whopping half a million followers on Instagram just through TikTok (previously called Musical.ly) and her TV shows.
The artiste, who’s also a danseuse, is making her film debut with the Pannaga Bharana-directed French Biryani. Starring Danish Sait in the lead, the movie is going to hit Amazon Prime on July 24. In the midst of her hectic quarantine schedule which includes caring for her toddler Vian, Disha talks to us about her Sandalwood debut and more.
Talking about French Biryani, the actress says, “We had a theatrical release planned, but because of the lockdown, we’re having an online release. I play a news reporter in the film, which is about an auto driver, played by Danish and a foreigner (Sal Yusuf) who comes down to the city. They’re put in a fix when certain incidents happen, and as a journalist, my character covers everything and gives the audience a first-hand view of the events. It’s extremely funny and what’s more special is that it’s my first ever film. I’d done a web series called Hate You Romeo previously, but I’m not sure about the status of the project. This film is all the more special because I was pregnant and in my first trimester when shooting.”
Post her web-series, Disha admits that she didn’t know which path to tread. And that’s when her first movie happened. “It came my way through director Pannaga Bharana who called me and told me about the role. They wanted to do a run-through of some lines and see how I’d perform. I went over to their office, said my lines, and everything fell into place. It was a great fit – it had a lot of comedy in it, which I loved doing. I don’t like to be too serious with my roles and this one had a lot of nuances in comic timing, so I was thrilled. Also, working with a young energetic team was great.”
As for her pregnancy, Disha and her husband Shashank revealed the news to her director Pannaga Bharana, even before they told their parents. Since her baby bump would start showing in the second trimester, the couple asked Pannaga to cast someone else. “He asked me to give him a day, but to my surprise, he didn’t replace me. In fact, he thought about how I could finish my portions before I started showing, which speaks volumes about his character. He could’ve taken the easy way out and found someone who would fit his timeline, but he didn’t even consider that as an option. Panna himself had had a baby a year ago, so he knew how things would be for me. I was even throwing up on the sets. Also, I’ve never seen my face onscreen in a film till now, so this is really a big deal for me. I can’t wait to see how the final production is going to look,” she exclaims.
On the sets, barring a handful of people, nobody was aware of Disha’s pregnancy. She’d often have her mum on the set to help her out. The actresses’ son Vian was born ten months ago and even has an Instagram profile dedicated to him, where he’s quite the star.
Post her debut, Disha’s doing the Humble Politician Nagaraj sequel (a web-series) which has three days of shoot left. Apart from that, she’s working on digital content too. “I wanted to break away from just being known for TikTok videos. So, I started scripting my own videos and have already posted three of them, which have garnered a fabulous response. I’m an actor at the end of the day, so I’m trying to bring out my originality,” says the content creator, who recently did a hilarious video in Kannada depicting the various people who are likely to be seen at the iconic Airlines hotel in Bengaluru.
“When my son was a month old, the first work call I got was from Danish. He was like ‘Dish, when are you getting back to work?” He was the one who gave me my first project post motherhood. Saad Khan (director of HPN) came home and read out the script and told me that they had only me in mind for the role. Danny is someone who can crack a joke about a paper napkin on a table! He’s a great friend,” she says and adds, “My husband’s support has made a huge difference. When I found out I was pregnant, I thought I’d take a break from work, but he encouraged me by telling me stories of how Gal Gadot was pregnant when she did action scenes in Wonder Woman! He was very keen on me being a part of French Biryani.”