How did you decide to become an actor?
At the age of 23, I started off my career as an assistant director in the Malayalam film industry. Working on many projects on set, I realised I could be in front of the camera instead of working behind it. That’s where my journey as an actor began and I don’t intend to stop anytime soon.
If you weren’t an actor, what would you have been?
Honestly speaking, I’m clueless. Food and farming have always interested me from a very young age. I would always wonder what it would be like to muddy my legs in the soil, pluck out weeds and eat what I’ve grown. The whole idea of consuming organic produce without the assistance of chemicals and to help grow such plants is what I would’ve worked towards if not for cinema.
Share some of your interesting moments as a wildlife enthusiast.
Trips into the wild are my favourite things to do. I still recall the instance when I first spotted a tiger in the jungle. Even though it stood pretty close to me, I felt a deep sense of calmness instead of fear. For a few seconds no thoughts passed through my mind, I felt no emotion, and staring into its brown eyes, my heart was content. It didn’t occur to me that I should pull out of my phone and take pictures or shoot a video. The forest and its flora and fauna teach us great lessons. It heals me. Everything is so surreal and there’s no human drama. While I’m on my trips through the wild, in and around Kerala, Karnataka or Tamil Nadu, I make an attempt to meet the forest tribes, eat their food, bond with the animals. I also take joy in reading about the behaviour of certain animals, the use of their tails and learn their cries to communicate with them better.
Now that the Malayalam film industry has opened its doors to female-oriented films… are there any roles that you would like to see portrayed or you would like to portray?
There’s no specific character that I aspire to do. I’m committed to watching and enjoying cinema like a fan. Anything new in cinema really excites me. I’m interested in working with a good team and a good story. For example, Shyam Pushkaran is one of the best script writers of our age and time. Many of his projects have focused on bold and beautiful female characters. Being associated with such writers and his team is what thrills me.
When can we see you next on screen?
It’s a big surprise! I have 2-3 movies lined up for 2020.
Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
I’m a person who does not plan for the future. However, I’d like to see myself grow in my career and be more than just an actor. I’m passionate about cinema and want to try my hand at all aspects of it apart from acting and direction. Also, I’d like to see myself as a pro-wildlife enthusiast where I’m able to start off something on my own with regards to the art of conservation.
How would you define freedom?
Freedom is being yourself and living in the moment, in more ways than one! Just like animals, carefree.
If you could end one world problem in the blink of an eye, what would it be?
The problems that we face today are all linked to each other. Whether it is climate, religion or issues of political boundaries, there’s no one solution that can put down all of it. Instead I’d like to use a reset button and go back to where we started.
Advice to girls growing up around you – from a woman to a woman – a life experience that you believe can help women around you?
Two things I’d like to share with my female folk out there. One, prioritize yourself first. Only a happy person can make other people happy. The world is full of opinions, focus on what is good for you and keep moving forward. Two, be brave enough to speak up when the need be! Whether it’s with your family, friends or at the workplace, garner the courage to voice your opinion.