At what point in your career, did you realise that Cinema is your calling?
I often look back in utter amazement at how that morning walk set me off on a tangent. My career has had a lot of ups and downs and I was never sure if Cin-ema was my forte, until Mahesh Narayanan’s ‘Take off’ happened. That was the turning point in my life which gave me the confidence to perform.
A career in Cinema is unpredictable, what is your biggest take away from it?
There is always uncertainty in Cinema. I am a very independent person and though I have a supportive family, financial independence is very important to me. When film projects were dwindling, I stood my ground by opting for advertising assignments but I also saw this time as my learning and an experience. I would never have been able to pull off the character in ‘Ariyippu’ had I attempted the role five years ago. It is a milestone as before ‘Ariyippu’ I have never performed a role continuously for thirty days at a stretch. Neither have I tried to study any character to this extent. It was research, character exploration and preparation that helped me perfect the role. Studying the character is my biggest take away.
You are a free spirited character and yet the roles you portray are contrary. Have you had any inhibitions while choosing them?
No I always want to try different roles that are challenging. It is every actor’s dream to perform different characters.
What was your learning from veterans like Mahesh Narayanan and Kunchacko Boban?
It was during the shoot of Take off that I worked closely with Mahesh for the first time. The script reading sessions, team discussions and the precision with which he described each character was a revelation to me. So, when it came to Ariyippu, I was more tuned to his style of working. Kunchacko Boban has no inhibitions about taking up any character. If it weren’t for the perfect sync be-tween Harish and Reshmi, the film wouldn’t have worked. He is a very inspir-ing actor.
Being an intense character, did you have second thoughts about Ariyippu?
No, I never gave it a second thought as the team was so good. Though the char-acter was emotionally draining, I enjoyed every minute of it. In fact, at the end of the shoot, I was sad that we were wrapping up. It took me quite some time to get out of the character. I had literally changed my mannerisms and body lan-guage for this role. We did the shoot in an actual gloves factory and the people with us are actual employees and not junior artists. I get influenced by people around me, by their slangs, body language and mannerisms, so it worked to my advantage to work in the actual factory setting.
Were you expecting such a positive response at the Locarno International film festival?
Just being nominated for best actress was equivalent to getting an award for me since I had no expectations. The response was very overwhelming especially since it was an international platform.
Do you feel that expectations are high now?
Yes, I feel more responsible and conscious about the characters I choose. I realise that preparation is key and expectations are high.
Inspite of winning the Kerala State award for best second actress, you didn’t pursue television, why?
The pattern of work is very different in a serial and can be very exhausting. I worked on the same character for a year and eventually it wasn’t satisfying the actor in me, so I chose to stick to Cinema.
You were a part of ‘A very normal family’ by Roshan Mathew. How was the ex-perience?
I was always keen on giving it a try as the process of theatre acting sounded exciting. The team was amazing and I did five stage shows with them. I learnt how to approach a character without any inhibitions through the process. I think we are more aware about our inhibitions when you are performing on a live stage. It was a wonderful experience.
What is your biggest strength?
I never give up even during uncertain times. Like everyone else, I have my fears about doing a new project or taking up a new role but that only drives me to perfect the role by doing my homework.
Are you open to doing glamorous roles or a completely different genre?
Yes, if the character excites me, I will do it. In fact I would like to do a humor-ous role with dance and song sequences that demand a lot of high energy.
Don Palathara’s ‘Family’ is currently screening at the International Film festi-val Rotterdam. It should release soon. Discussions are on for new projects.
How do you spend time when you are not working?
I love watching movies and hanging out with friends. I also enjoy picturing different roles and stories in my mind. I love to be in a creative mental space and that helps me to process my scenes and character better.
• I admire: My Mom!
• Passion: Acting.
• I can’t do without: Love.
• My regret: Nothing!
• Dreams are: Surreal.
• Fashion is: Confidence.
• I detest: Miscommunication.
• Motto in Life: Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.