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There's no stopping Mamta!

Actor Mamta Mohandas bounces back after grappling with health issues

dual act Mamta Mohandas wants to focus on both acting and singing

It's not a laid-back Sunday for Mamta Mohandas. She has three story sessions for prospective Malayalam films, yet agrees for an interview during the lunch break.
“I am in talks for two Telugu films too, one starring Pawan Kalyan and the other Balakrishna. But Malayalam films are keeping me busy,” she says cheerily. Her recent release, Anwar, has fetched her good reviews. “I started off with Malayalam films, but, frankly, I didn't get great roles in the beginning. After I worked for four years in Tamil and Telugu and became a known face, the Malayalam industry welcomed me back with good offers.”
Nagarjuna's Kedi was her last Telugu release. The film brings back memories that are hard to forget. “Nagarjuna was the first and the only actor who personally called me to ask if I would have dates to do the film. I've never been recommended by any hero. That was also the day I got my biopsy results. I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. I broke down as I told him the news. He insisted that I do the film. Nagarjuna, producer Siva Prasad Rao and the unit were so supportive,” she recalls. A one-month break was all that Mamta took while battling lymphoma. “I was undergoing chemotherapy in between schedules. I would work eight days in two weeks and then go for chemo. It was tough. I would have severe bouts of nausea one day, and be normal the next.” Though eager to return to Telugu films, Mamta wants a substantial role for a comeback. “I missed out on Simha since I didn't have dates.”
In the meantime, she has been approached by composers to sing Telugu songs. “I want my acting and singing careers to progress simultaneously. I don't want to be a playback singer and be active only in the audio circuit,” she emphasises. Her songs from Rakhi, Shankardada MBBS, Jagadam, Yamadonga and Tulasi continue to be popular on the air waves. Backed by her seven-year training in Carnatic and Hindustani music, she says, “I've had some memorable songs in Telugu. The Tamil song I sang for Silambarasan's Kaalai was my favourite until I sang for Anwar and Thriller (Malayalam).”
In the few years she's been acting, she's juggled Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada films. “I think I would have done better if I had a good PR person. I can speak fluently in Tamil but I don't have anyone to guide me.”
With an air of optimism, she looks at the Om Ganeshaya Namaha tattoo on her left arm and says she hates to use the ‘C' word. “Lymphoma is one of the mildest conditions in the C family. The chance of relapse is close to zero. I want to do a lot of things that will help other patients. But right now, I'll focus on my work so that I could be heard better in future. I need to be more powerful to make a difference.”

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