Kavya Madhavan tells Saraswathy Nagarajan that she is on the lookout for characters of substance. She plays one such role in Bavuttiyude Namathil, releasing today

Kavya Madhavan is on song. And that is not because of her debut as a playback singer this year. The talented actor, who epitomises the image of the quintessential Malayali woman, has had a great innings in 2011-2012 with substantial roles that turned the arc light on the actor in her.

One of the few leading ladies in Malayalam who has made her reputation without relying on films in other languages to bolster her image, Kavya has won her place in tinsel town with her innate talent to get into the skin of her characters, especially those with a strong native background. The year gone by has seen the actor working in multi-starrers such as Christian Brothers and China Town, along with Priyanandan’s Bhaktajangalude Sraddakku – a balancing act of working in outright entertainers and sensitive offbeat films that Kavya has always strived to maintain.

This Friday, she appears as Vanaja, the female lead in the Ranjith-scripted, Mammootty-starrer Bavuttiyude Namathil. The movie has been directed by G.S. Vijayan.

“For the first time, I get the opportunity to speak in my own Neeleswaram dialect, the place where I hail from. So much has been written about and said about my dialect and the way we use certain words to give it a different meaning from how it is used in other places in Kerala. I have been so identified with Neeleswaram that I was thrilled to bits to do a character from that place. Perhaps because of the dialect, I felt completely at home with my character,” says Kavya. Vanaja is a homemaker from a rustic background. Affluence or shifting to Manjeri has not detached her from her roots. Mammootty and Kaniha are employees in Vanaja’s house. “Unlike most movies, there is no romance or mushy songs or duets. The theme is on humaneness and how help and empathy can come from the most unlikely quarters,” says Kavya.

In addition to working with both Mammootty and Mohanlal in back-to-back to films, she is also acting with Vineeth in Breaking News Live, directed by newcomer Sudheer Ambalapad. Working in her sixth film with Mammootty, Kavya says she has always enjoyed a comfortable working relationship with the star and it was no different this time too. She is looking for plum roles that go beyond the routine song and dance sequences though she is quick to add that while she enjoys those kind of roles, she also wants to explore characters that challenge the actor in her.

“And I am happy that I have got some characters like that now. I have high hopes for Nayana in Breaking News Live, in which I play a strong role in a female-oriented film. Nayana stumbles across something objectionable and she raises her voice against that. But then she finds herself isolated and there are moments when she rues the decision to get involved. The film examines how society and media handle certain sensitive issues concerning women and society,” she says.

Enacting the author-backed role of Nayana seems to have touched a chord in Kavya because she says that she empathised with her character completely – her courage, confidence and conviction though Nayana does not come from a background that instilled in her any of those qualities.

In a complete turnabout from Nayana, she goes on to essay the bold Dr. Geetha in Joshiy’s Lokpal, a Mohanlal-starrer. “Geetha is a poised woman and a dedicated doctor. I play Mohanlal’s character’s estranged wife. She firmly believes in certain principles and adheres to it even at the cost of her marriage.”

Given the fact that Kavya has proved herself as a lyricist and playback singer, any chance of her going behind the camera to don the director’s cap? “Some time ago, I would have said a firm no. But, now, I am not sure. I am in a mood to experiment and challenge myself to tap my potential. So, I won’t dismiss that thought. If things work out, who know, I might write a script, direct…” she says laughing.