Beauty with purpose

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Her debut appearance was in the Indie feature film Love, Lies and Seeta, which garnered quite a bit of appreciation at the Indian International Film Festival. The Shotokan-karate expert is also the co-founder of ‘Hospital for Hope,’ a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the construction of hospitals in extremely underserved areas in India. Meet Melanie Kannokada who gave up a prized job to chase all that she cared about and make a mark in the film industry:

Being Sita:
When Chandra Pemmaraju approached me to take up the role of Sita, I was utterly surprised. But the script was so impressive that I could not have said no. Portraying a young girl who is independent and is adapted to Indians living abroad, and who also does not believe in true love, was quite a challenge. The only difference between the character and me is that, in real life, I am a hopeless romantic!

The Indian connection:
My parents are from Kerala though they settled down abroad. I visit God’s Own Country quite often. I have been there six times now and I still consider India as my country, my roots. I love the culture and values that are so strong in the people who live here.

On acting:
I’ve been working very hard at whatever I have taken up right now. I’ve constantly had to focus on my future and myself. Considering I was all set to give up a cushy job, quite a few people came up and said, ‘How, why and what is making you take such a decision?’ But I was never happy in my previous profession.

Caring for the poor:
When I was in grad school I realised how a large section of society from across the globe is deprived of basic amenities and lacks proper care and love. With the idea of reaching out to the needy we started the ‘Hospital for Hope’, which is focusing on constructing a hospital for underprivileged people in India. It inspires me to lend help to philanthropic initiatives.

Hard work, the only thing that counts:
Nothing comes easy. And I have realised over time that hard work will pay off and is the only secret to sustenance in any profession.

Bollywood calling:
A few Bollywood filmmakers have approached me but I haven’t signed any films as yet. But I am sure now that this is where I belong so I can assure you that I am here to stay!
As told to
Srinidhi Rajagopal

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