A female vigilante on the run, a lean-mean-fighting machine super-cop, an unflappable sex worker, a feisty civil servant, an acerbic lawyer, a single woman in a live in relationship, a legendary female warrior adept at sword fights… Mollywood's ‘action queen' Vani Viswanath has gone where few of her ilk have dared to go. And now the versatile actor, who won the second best actress award at the Kerala State Film Awards in 2000 for her role in T.V. Chandran's ‘Susanna,' will be seen in a new avatar as she makes a comeback to Malayalam as the lead in a new tele-serial ‘Mattoruval' on Surya TV. Excerpts from an interview to Friday Review…
On your role in ‘Mattoruval'
I play the protagonist, Annie. She runs away with her boyfriend on the eve of her engagement to another, without realising that her boyfriend is a cheat. The serial chronicles the events in her life post that incident. At first Annie is not unlike the demure, run-of-the-mill long-suffering woman that we oft see on television. Quite quickly, though, you find out that Annie is really a bold character, who has no qualms about facing whatever life deals her with guns blazing- that's literally not figuratively!
On choosing the small screen for your comeback
I liked the potential of the role. I didn't really think beyond that. The small screen is as good as any to do a good role. Besides the shooting schedule of serials is ideal for me because I can also concentrate on my family life. Moreover, at present there are no roles of the kind I want to do – and like to do– in cinema. ‘Mattoruval' presented a nice change of pace; a new challenge.
Challenges of the small screen for an ‘action' actor like yourself
In a serial like this there is no place for fist fury of the kind you see in action films. Yet I have to maintain my image.
It's something that my fans expect of me, I think. In fact, the other day one of my fans asked me if Annie would later on become a police officer! Then again I have some of my older fans asking me why not?
Action roles vs. demure roles. Which do you prefer?
I like to do all kinds of roles. Nevertheless, I enjoy action roles because my fans seem to appreciate that kind of role. With ‘Mattoruval' I want to show them that I can be a traditional homemaker too.
I am currently working on a Tamil film called ‘Ananda Tholai' directed by Babu Anand. It stars a couple of newcomers. I play an action role but I am the one who brings the hero and heroine together. I love that role because in real life I love matchmaking! I am also doing an yet-to-be-named action flick in Telugu. In this one its back to being a feisty cop.