Actor Pooja on returning to Tamil films by signing for the thriller Vidiyum Munn
Pooja Umashankar’s well-wishers were hopeful that her stellar act as a visually impaired girl in Naan Kadavul would catapult her into stardom. But, alas, it never happened in Tamil Nadu. She went to Sri Lanka and gained popularity after she played the role of a princess in the Sinhala film Kusa Pabha, a phenomenal success.
Now she returns to the Tamil screen with Vidiyum Munn, a thriller directed by Balaji Kumar. “I had earlier decided not to do this film as everyone associated with it was new. The director, producer, actors...” she says. However, she decided to take a calculated risk, because the fact “a strong female character anchored the film appealed a lot to me. It is a film about how two women are running away from lecherous men. The way the narrative has played itself out is really good”. “I am so proud to be a part of it,” says Pooja.
Why didn’t she do more Attagaasams (her 2004 film)? “That would mean I would have had to do glam roles, and I was uncomfortable with those. I was always conscious about the clothes I was asked to wear. I chose to do films such as Oram Po and Pattiyal simply because I was comfortable playing the girl-next-door,” she clarifies.
Pooja can’t help but talk about director Bala and Naan Kadavul, which, according her, marked a defining moment in her career. “Contrary to what people think, I have no regrets having done that film,” she says. Ask her if she regrets opting out of Paradesi, and she says yes.
Game for challenges
Does she prefer to stay back in Sri Lanka and enjoy her status while it lasts? “I have always liked challenges. When I was signed to do Naan Kadavul, the role was way out of my league. Post-Naan Kadavul, I’ve been brushed aside as someone who cannot do glam roles anymore. One step at a time,” she says. “I prefer directors offering roles to me. That would mean they have seen my work and they think I would be able to pull it off.”