Neelambari Perumal is no stranger to social issues. In fact, she has experienced the trauma that a committed social worker’s family faces while pursuing a genuine cause. Life can’t be different for the daughter of former chief minister of North East Provincial Council in Sri Lanka and Tamil leader Varadaraja Perumal who had to spend a major part of his life in exile fearing the guns of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The actor-dancer daughter of Mr. Perumal is now all set to portray the role of a television journalist in an upcoming Malayalam movie, ‘Bombay Mittayi’.
It was after a stage play she performed at the India Habitat Centre in Delhi, that U. Pradeep, the producer of ‘Bombay Mittayi’, approached her with a role in the movie. She liked ‘Bombay Mittayi’s' story line and agreed.
The actor believes Malayalam films always come out with socially relevant subjects. “It’s a great opportunity for me to be part of the Malayalam film industry,” She also thinks Malayalam film makers still have a long way to go to satisfy the mass audience even though they produce quality movies. ‘Bombay Mittayi’, being directed by Ummer Karikkad, revolves around the life of two youth struggling to eke out a living. “Ummer’s is an attempt to present the social realities without ignoring the essential ingredients of commercial cinema, “says a confident Neelambari.
Neelambari’s family had moved to Chanderi in Madhya Pradesh during her early childhood because of the security threat her family was facing. There were no schools for her to attend. “A tutor used to come to teach us and I learned my Hindi lessons from him”. The family again had to move for the same reasons to Rajasthan. There Neelambari attended Sophia school. ”We were the centre of attraction there because of the security cover we had even while attending the class”. She received her first lessons of Bharatanatyam from her aunt and learned Kathak from Guruji Manekchand. The silent, shy girl was slowly evolving into an artist. Finally, after the many journeys to find a secure home with her family, she settled in Delhi, completed her LLB, and is actively involved in theatre.
'Bombay Mittayi’s' story takes an interesting turn when a young journalist who lives in north India decides to go back to her home town in South India to uncover the mystery behind a murder. Neelambari plays the scribe. “We had no doubts in our minds. Her character at the stage play in Delhi as a journalist was very powerful. She gave it a perfect touch, we believe it will happen in ‘Bombay Mittayi’ too, “says the producer.
Though this is her first film, as far as acting is concerned, she is crystal clear. “I have been acting in plays in Delhi. I am also part of an NGO, which uses theater as a medium for social awareness,” explains Neelambari.
Social commitment and artistic background, as the script writer of the movie puts it, ‘gives Neelambari an edge over others for the type of role that we envisage for a socially relevant movie.”With a rich cast including Bala, Vinu Mohan, Harisree Ashokan and Netaji fame Sachin Khedekar, and a pool of young talent of ‘Bombay Mittayi’, Neelambari Perumal sets off on her journey here. With a strong performance, she could script a new chapter in success and social commitment.