did Pokkisham happen?
I was in Chennai when I saw an ad which said
that director Cheran is looking for someone
to play mother’s role in his film which
is actually his wife’s character in Pokkisham.
I am a big fan of Cheran sir and till such time,
I had not given a thought to enter film industry.
When I contacted him, he saw my pictures and
told that I cannot do the role. The ad said
that he had auditioned 50 people for this role.
Hence I told him that he can try and audition
me as 51st person. But he said that the role
is for a 60-year-old woman and I will certainly
not fit in. Somehow I bulldozed him to audition
me. And thanks to his vision, dedication and
all our hard work, I was able to convincingly
look like a 60-year-old in Pokkisham. Although
it was a cameo appearance, it was important
to the film.
He told me I cannot do this role
It used to take 5 hours to do the
was challenging in Pokkisham?
exciting, interesting and the challenging part
in Pokkisham was I got to wear prosthetic make
up. My make up was done by Hollywood professionals
who did Kamal’s sir’s make up in
Dasavatharam. It took 5 hours a day to don the
make up for my face, hands, neck. And also the
weather conditions would not allow us to shoot
for more than two hours. It took many days to
shoot those three scenes. It was definitely
a unique experience for any actor because there
are only very few artists in India who have
done such prosthetic make up. I was thrilled
to be one among them in my very first film.
The role was challenging as I have to change
my body language, voice modulation and many
After Pokkisham, I did a very small but beautiful
role in National Award Winner Vishal Bharathwaj’s
I did Sai Mira Productions’ Anandam Aarambam
with Atharva. The film is not yet complete. But Pokkisham
How did Vamsam
Cheran sir introduced me to Pandiraj who was then
basking in the success of his first film Pasanga.
It was such an enlightening experience for me as I
got to see a different world of creative people who
can literally create beautiful stories out of thin
air. It was like magic. Pandiraj offered me the role
of Meenakshi in Vamsam.
How was it to
do a rural character when you are from an urban background?
Initially I was hesitant as my background is urban
and north Indian. Although I am a Tamilian, I have
never been in Tamil Nadu as my dad was in Air Force
and I am married to a naval officer. Hence I was skeptical
if I would be able to do the role with a completely
different body language and a Pudukottai dialect to
go with. But Pandiraj had lots of confidence in me.
During the Agni Nakshathiram time, we were shooting
in Pudukottai for 60 days at a sweltering temperature
of 46°C and it was a different experience for
There were lots of people calling me without realizing
that I was not a native. They all had appreciated
my work and the credit goes to Pandiraj sir.
Firstly, I had to change my body language according
to the region. I made a lot of changes in the
way I walk, in the way I move my head and in
the way I move my lips to talk. However, the
most challenging aspect was I had to portray
two different age groups. In the flash back
segment, I was first a young unmarried girl
and then a newly married woman and then with
a small son in hand. In the live sequences I
was playing Arulnidhi’s mother, aged around
45-50. We did this in two schedules. First I
had to lose weight for the younger version and
the entire crew used to tell me to go slow on
eating. For the older version, they encouraged
me to put on weight. Along with wigs and other
accessories, they had given foam padding to
make me look fatter. The foam padding increased
the heat quotient and many days I have felt
that I was going to faint. Staying away from
home for long time and that too in a rural set
up was very difficult for me.
They encouraged me to put on
How was Arulnidhi
to work with?
Although it was grueling shooting for Vamsam and
there were instances when you almost wanted to break
down and cry, there were also fun moments. Arulnidhi
was a delight to work with despite his background.
He was much matured and stable for his age. He understood
his part very well and worked very hard. Despite being
newcomers, we both managed to deliver what Pandi sir
desired. After the shoot, Arul was just like any other
teenager who would be with his friends and strumming
We had a nice time after the
is a wonderful girl. We hit it off instantly
as we used to speak in Hindi. She also plays
the guitar and we had a nice time after the
I also should mention about Kishore who has
become a good friend now. He is such a powerful
actor and exuded so much energy into the scene.
Initially, I was overawed by Kishore’s
presence. But he made it very comfortable for
I was overawed by Kishore’s
Any funny incident
In the hotel, where I stayed, people used to think
there were two women - mother and daughter - staying
in my room because they would see me dressed in sari
with an old get up in the morning and in the evening
I would return from the shoot in my jeans. That was
very funny. I am a techno freak and the villagers
used to find it weird to see an old village woman
working on lap top and playing music. I also learnt
to ride the tanga or the horse-driven vehicle.
Once when my parents visited the spot with my 5-year-old
son, villagers thought he was my grandson. It was
very funny and at the same time, a big compliment
to me because my looks must have been very convincing.
I also had a good time working with Jeyaprakash, assistant
director Chaplin who helped with the dialect. I am
glad that the film has been appreciated and our hard
work has borne rich dividends.
I have done two films post-Vamsam and both of them
are due for release. Ayyanar, produced by Thenappan
with Adhi as the hero, is about the relationship between
a mother and her two sons. I have completed Rayappan’s
Aadupuli which is a wholesome family entertainer.
The cast has stalwarts like Ravichandran, KR Vijaya,
Prabhu, Suresh and the hero and heroine Aadhi and
It was a matter of pride to have
danced with Prabhu
is such a great person and despite his star
status made everyone comfortable and feel welcomed.
It was a privilege, honor and a pleasure to
work with Prabhu. And it was a matter of pride
to have danced with Prabhu.
What kind of
films are you looking out for?
The very fact that I have joined the industry so
late is only because of my passion for the medium.
I don’t consider this as a profession but a
passion. Commercials are my profession. Hence I want
to do films which have heart, films that I can relate
to and films where I would not be typecast. That’s
why it is taking some time. After watching Vamsam,
I am being offered similar roles. I am talking to
many new age directors who are willing to think out
of the box. Like how Pandi sir reinvented me, I hope
to meet directors who would reinvent me.
As you are based
in Delhi, don’t you think you may miss out on
the buzz here?
Yes, in a way. It is disadvantageous when I have
to be away from my family for a long time. But the
advantage is that I get only the best offers. And
also, I have friends like Rekhs, who did the subtitling
for Endhiran and Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaaya who helps
me out. There is always Cheran sir who gives me guidance
as I am new to the industry.
How was it to
have worked with Shah Rukh Khan?
The best thing about my profession is that I get
to meet the great icons of the industry. I did Santro
ad with Shah Rukh Khan and I understood why some people
remain ordinary and some people scale great peaks.
These people are all superb human beings who are very
extra ordinary. Shah Rukh is highly dedicated to his
profession and at the same time very very down-to-earth.
When I landed on the sets, he knew everything about
me. My son was just 3 months old at that time. He
understood my need as a new mom and gave me a separate
caravan, arranged a maid for me. He knew my name,
my husband’s profession. He gave me breaks every
half an hour to be with my baby. These are the traits
that distinguish the legends from ordinary men.
I have also done a Telugu film called Aa Okkadu with
Suresh Gopi. He is a man with golden heart. All sorts
of people would approach him and he would not only
be generous with money but also with his time.
Working with Cheran was such an eye opener for me.
His dedication and eye for details besides being an
extremely nice human being are qualities to look up
to. He has toiled so much for Pokkisham. When I worked
in Pokkisham, I understood many aspects of film making.
On a closing
I think I am blessed to have worked with such legends
that are so humble. My forthcoming ad film is with
Mithun Chakravarthy who is again a multiple National
Award winner. I am looking to do good and satisfying
work in future.