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Updated: April 8, 2010 18:52 IST

Actor of substance

Nita Sathyendran
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Swetha Menon
Swetha Menon

Swetha Menon, winner of the Kerala State Film Award for the Best Actress, on why 2009 has been the best year of her career. Her ‘Kadaksham' releases on Friday

After more than two decades in the film industry and some 40 films in Hindi, Malayalam and Tamil later, she has made it to the top. For her exemplary performance as Cheerutha (Cheeru) in Ranjith's ‘Paleri Manikyam: Oru Pathira Kolapathakathinte Katha,' model-turned-actor Swetha Menon has won the Kerala State Film Award for the Best Actress of 2009 and joined the ranks of the finest. And to top it all the film also won the award for the best film of the year.

Complex roles

The svelte actor, once known for her pizzazz roles, is all smiles and brimming with confidence when she says that the way to the top has been a challenge, but a “well-fought one” nonetheless. “The year 2009 has thus far been the best year of my life. It started with the complex character of Sarojini in Madhu Kaithapuram's ‘Madhyavenal' and ended with the incredible Cheeru,” says an ecstatic Swetha in a phone interview with Friday Review.

And ecstatic she deserves to be. Her two most talked-about roles of the year couldn't have been more different. While Cheeru is a feisty, liberated, self-involved village woman who has many shades of grey, Sarojini is demure but strong-willed and composed. “Both roles were an education; equally challenging albeit in different aspects. Sarojini is subdued but she is the epitome of the qualities of a 100 women and Cheeru's shades of grey are subtle but very distinct. In fact, each character I play is a learning experience. I learn from my own qualities as an actor,” says the actor, a tad modestly. “I believe that I am an action and reaction person. If you throw a ball at me I will definitely catch it and throw it back with all the more vigour. So I take everything in my stride and never let a challenge faze me. For each scene I ensure that I acquaint myself with its thrust and then react as a human being,” adds Swetha, who has already won a spate of regional film awards for her role in ‘Paleri…' and also won praise of legendary Iranian filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi, who was chairman of the jury at the International Film Festival of Kerala last December, for essaying Sarojini with élan.

Swetha is now all geared up for her latest film ‘Kadaksham' opposite Suresh Gopi and directed by Sasi Paravoor, which will be released today. She also has ‘T.D. Dasan Std.6 A' (a children's film) and ‘Kayam' to look forward to in the near future. And has the magnitude of the award sunk in yet? “Not right now, it hasn't. Maybe it will sink in when I calm down a bit or perhaps it won't until Vishu, when I go back home to Thrissur to celebrate the day with my family,” says the actor.

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