UNLIMITED URMILA

The dimple girl from Sonapur doesn’t need any introduction, she has already made her home-land Assam proud by her acting skills across all industries: Bollywood, ollywood, Kollywood, Jollywood or Mollywood. She has recently begged prestigious Prag Cine Award for Best Actor-Female for her sensitive performance in Antareen, a film based on Dr. Rita Chaudhury’s story and directed by Monjul Barua.

A Post Graduate in Acting from Film & Television Institute of India, Urmila hails from our very own Sonapur, she was born to Giridhar Mahanta and Ramala Mahanta and has three siblings, Jutika Mahanta, Munmi Mahanta and Munindra Mahanta. Urmila did her entire schooling in Sonapur and later graduated from Dimoria College. After her studies in Assam she went on to enrol at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune.

Journey...

Urmila had been acting in plays since her childhood and bagged many awards. Afterwards, she was featured in several television serials such as Murder and Tejimola for Doordarshan (NE), which were followed by appearances in various critically acclaimed short films including Aaliya, that won the Special Critic Award at the 2012 Mumbai International Film Festival, Their Story and Cheng Kurthy. Urmila was also seen in Assamese singer Tarali Sarma's album Henguliya.

While attending the International Film Festival of India at Goa, she was spotted and selected among few others following a lengthy process lasting two years including multiple auditions conducted by director Balaji Sakthivel for his drama-thriller Vazhakku Enn 18/9. Urmila has received notable praise for portraying the character of a slum dweller, Jyothi, who works as a housemaid. The Times of India critic M. Suganth wrote: "It is Urmila Mahanta's understated performance as Jothi that is the film's pivot". Similarly, a reviewer from IndiaGlitz.com noted that Urmila was "impressive as a short poetry on screen", further adding that she "bubbles with energy and emotes at ease", while another critic quoted: "Urmila is a treat to watch. She delivers what Balaji Sakthivel wants from her. She is cool and passes the test with ease and elan". The film itself received widespread acclaim, with reviewers calling it "excellent", a "must-watch", and even "the film of the year

She then shot for her first Bollywood project, Pareshaanpur directed Dilip K. Mukharia. She played a supporting role in Ajita Suchitra Veera's “Ballad of Rustom” (Rustom Ki Dastaan) that fetched Veera the Best Director Award at the 12th Osian's Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema and was shortlisted in the Best Picture category at the 86th Academy Awards. Due to the delay in Pareshaanpur's release, her maiden Hindi release became Manjhi - The Mountain Man.

Insight...

“Initial path is always more challenging as people around  tend to confuse you, though they can’t be blamed, for its out of their concern and love they may want you to choose a secure career...at the same time my home-land is yet to be fully bloomed where people can earn enough bread and butter to sustain...thanks to my immediate family who encouraged and pushed me to sink into the larger ground which eventually broadened my horizon” says Urmila with a smile and ads ” it doubles the  challenges when you swim against the current,  I who is keen to try my limit by portraying sensitive and demanding characters had to let go many offers as female actors are hardly given  any scope to experiment.” starts the Sonapur born actress Urmila Mahanta, which has already cut a niche for herself in India for her sensible performances. 

After her successful debut in Vazhakku Enn: 18/9, which begged National Award and many other  in various National and International level, Urmila was flooded with offers from South, specially from Tamil and Malayalam industry, instead of getting excited and take up those lucrative offers blindly, Urmila decided to go slow and choose carefully..”I always look for characters which are challenging and allow me to experiment with my learning and hence I let go all those and choose to wait for the right one to strike the chord.” “It was a tough decision as one needs money to survive in the glamour industry yet I took my call and no regret for it” concludes the quirky actor

Even in Bengal after blockbuster " Chirodini Tumi Je Amar 2” ,where yet again she proved her acting skill by portraying a tricky character Urmila attracted many offers to her kitty but she is still awaiting for the right one to play.

It is very easy to play a lead role as female characters hardly given any importance, and Urmila the rebellious actor loves to challenge that mind-set and pick character which gives her the freedom and space to exploit her skills, “characters which allow me to experiment are the most satisfied one as it erases my fear of being stagnant ...I am afraid of being monotonous and am afraid of limitations...I want to try all my limits to widened my ocean .says Urmila who has already cut a niche for herself  by playing strapping characters on screen across the country: be it in Bollywood, Tollywood , Kollywood, Mollywood and recently in Jollywood itself.

“When it comes to my home ground, I again had to wait to receive the worthy one, I waited till I get the offer for TRP Aru (Mridul Gupta) and after that there was no full stop, in the following year I worked for Kothanodi (Bhaskar Hazarika), Antareen (Monjul Barua) and Bokul (Reema Borah) to sum up I did three Assamese features in a year itself” explained the excited actor. Urmila has also completed the shoot for Chadra Mudoi’s upcoming bilingual film called “Purav Ki Awaz (Hindi) and “Epah Fulil Epah Soril” (Assamese) and she is happy to play the double role-martyr Konoklata and Urmila.

She has no qualms either for small screen or big screen, provided she gets a hard-hitting role to project , you might often seen her portraying raw characters in popular Crime Petrol (Sony TV), CID and  Savdhan India(Life OK) and might have smitten by her powerful performance.

Suave Urmila can easily get into the skin of her raw characters that most of the time people remain wondering if its she...quips the intelligent actor and ads” there are certain incidents where my fellow actors can’t recognise me and I need to re-introduce myself to them...I love to witness that flabbergasted look on their face...”.it reassures me and I feel doing justice to art.

Bollywood

When it comes to Bollywood Urmila is taking baby steps and choosing every character carefully. Even in Bollywood where people die for a small role, Urmila let go many offers from renowned Directors/Production Houses etc. Her first release in Bollywood was “Manjhi The Mountain Man”(Ketan Mehta), where Urmila shared the screen space with Nawazzuddin Siddiqui and Radhika Apte and swiftly carried out her character Lauki . “It was indeed a pleasure and learning experience to work with Ketan Mehta Sir and Nawaz as they are supporting and allow you to try your own space”. Deepa Mehta, National Award winning actress and producer of Manjhi recalls “Urmila is the treasure house of talent and we will look forward to work with her in near future again.” And ads      “ on  first look she will come across as a shy girl but on the location she can create magic”.

Urmila has recently finished shooting for “Akira” by A R Muragadoss and produced by Fox Star and happy to share screen space with Sonakshi Sinha and Kongkona Sen Sharma and looking forward for its release. “I played a crucial character in this film and it’s a life time experience to work with Muragadoss Sir who gives respect and dignity to artist”. “Initially I was more enthusiastic as Tabu was supposed to a play the Good Cop in the film but later she opted out and I got the opportunity to work with another wonderful actress of our time Kongkana Sen Sharma.” Explains Urmila.

Ads...

Urmila is recently in news for her latest ad for Sulekha.com, the jugad one...which has been conceptualised by none other than Piyush Pande himself and made by Ogilvy. Her hoarding are taking its turn across the country, be in Chennai-Banglore, Mumbai-Pune, Delhi-Noida or MP-Kolkata! The ad was on the top chart for more than a month and Urmila received huge applause for portraying a newly wedded wife who threats her new husband to stop applying his jugad tactics.

Our readers might have already seen her in popular TVC s like Maggie, Nescafe, Vim Bar etc.

Apart from film, Television, TVC (Television Commercials) Urmila’s latest addiction is Theatre where she recently portrayed a mentally challenged character “Kudani” in Kobiguru Robindra Nath Tagor’s Maladan in Bandra on occasion of World Theatre Day. “Theatre is a completely different medium where there is no cut, no re-take but one continuous shot” says the matured actor.

Similarly she is looking forward to travel to Kochi to start the shoot for her upcoming film “Udal” which has already created a strong buzz in Malayalam film industry.

Upcoming project..

Urmila is eagerly awaiting for her second Hindi release “Chakallashpur” by Rajnish Jaiswal of Prakash Jha Production which is expected to get release by this year end. Urmila portrayed yet another challenging character called ‘Champa’ for which she had to pick up typical Bihari dialect. “I feel my audience will get to taste a different shade of mine in Chakallashpur, which is a contemporary film” remarks excitedly.

[To know more about Urmila click here Brief Profile]

Exclusive Report is prepared by Ms. Jutika Mahanta, one of the members of the honorary editorial board, Dimorian Review. She is working at The Times of India, Mumbai. Several invaluable articles of her interest have been publishing time to time in the national as well as state level newspapers and magazines.


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