This leading lady of Malayalam cinema has to go to school at 7.15 a.m. and so a conversation with her is possible only in the evening. Luckily, the bubbly teenager has no hassles about the hour and would have happily talked all night about her films and adventures in tinsel town if needed. Namitha Pramod’s latest film Pullipulikalum Aattinkuttiyum releases in two weeks. “There are a few corrections to be made in the movie and that will probably be done this weekend,” she says. In the meantime, she is busy catching up with classes and lessons that she had missed during the shooting of the movie for she is determined to ensure that her studies do not suffer a setback on account of her career. By now she is quite used to juggling the two adroitly having stepped into Mollywood as a student of class nine.
A magazine cover in a Malayalam magazine opened the first chapter of her film career. Rajesh Pillai cast the vivacious youngster as Rahman’s character’s daughter in Traffic and ever since she has been cruising along smoothly.
While she was doing her class 10, Namitha, a student of Carmel Girls’ Higher Secondary School in the city, stayed clear of movies and concentrated on her studies. Once the board examinations and admissions to Plus Two were done with, she was back before the camera as Thamara in Sathyan Anthikkad’s Puthiya Theerangal. As is the case with all of Sathyan’s heroines, roles came seeking her and soon she was shooting again, this time with Dileep in Vysakh’s Sound Thoma, one of the biggest grossers this year.
Back in Alappuzha
While the film was still making all the right sounds at the box office, she was back in Alappuzha, but this time in the backwaters to begin shooting for Lal Jose’s Pullipulikalum Aattinkuttiyum. “Believe it or not, all my films as the heroine have been shot in different places in Alappuzha,” she chips in before adding: “On the very first day of shooting, I had to dance because I play Jayashree, a danseuse in the movie! Dance is something I have never learnt. To dance to Jayashree’s tune, I had to go for a crash course in dance and learn Bharatanatyam, Mohiniyattam and Kuchipudi all at once from Sharanya Mohan in Alappuzha,” she laughs.
Lavish in her praise of Lal Uncle, she says the entire schedule was one great fun ride in the company of Kunchacko Bobban. “Lal Uncle makes each of us comfortable and never tells you to do this or that. He told me to be natural and be myself,” says Namitha.
She says each of her directors has helped her learn about cinema and acting. If Sathyan guided her to become a girl from the fishing community, Vysakh was happy to let her find her own feet.
When she was not shooting or chatting with all the friends she made during the shooting of her movies, she was immersed in her studies. The four-film-old actress says she plans to graduate in psychology and would like to cherry pick her films to give her time to catch up on studies. She explains: “I enjoy movies and my parents, Indu and Pramod, have always been supportive. So I want to continue my career as an actress. My younger sister Akitha is my biggest fan.”
In fact, according to Namitha, her entire family has a say in her films. For instance, when Sindhuraj, scenarist of Pulli…, narrated the story of the film to her, her parents and sister were with Namitha to listen to the script. “All of us liked it and it was a joint decision,” she says.
So, what do her friends think of their celeb friend? “Oh, the younger ones crowd around me and ask me questions about my films and about actors. My friends are fashion conscious and so they tell me their opinion about my costumes, hair do, make-up and all that. They treat me like one of them.”
And that is her biggest plus point. Her trip through Mollywood has not affected her vivacity or candour. And she stays true to herself.
A few of my favourite things
My favourite actor is Surya. I think he rocks; my favourite actress is Kajol. Closer home, I like Meera Jasmine in some of her films like Perumazhakalam and Padhom Onnu, Oru Vilaapam.
I don’t have a role model but there are many characters I have enjoyed watching on screen.
My hobbies are pencil drawing, writing and listening to music. Although I can’t sing, I am always tuned in to songs. A.R. Rahman is my favourite music director. Swetha Mohan and Vijay Yesudas are my favourite singers.
Nivin chettan takes time to make friends. He has a close-knit group of friends and he is a different person with them. But once he is comfortable with you, he opens up and becomes very friendly. The serious look is only façade.
Dileep chettan is great fun to be with. He keeps on cracking jokes and making you laugh all the time. He tells you stories about his previous films, the people he worked with, the locations… time just flies.
Chackochan is not the bossy kind at all. He gives his co-stars ample space to do their own thing and does not interfere in any way. It is comfortable to work with him. He does not ever make you nervous in any way.