Films, television or women's issues… Nadia Moidu is not afraid of speaking her mind. Anusha Parthasarathy listens to the effervescent star

There is no fuss involved in an interview with Nadia Moidu. The photos reach us on time, she is free when she says she will be. And her answers are sharp, upbeat and mature, like many of her on-screen characters.

After her stint with the popular game show ‘Jackpot', Nadia is currently working on Malayalam and Telugu films. “A lot of offers have come my way since 2005-2006 but by choice, I don't work on more than one film in a year. Back then, I was in London and would shoot when I came on a holiday to India for two months. We moved back to India four years ago because of my husband's job and it has become easier now. I'm not very fluent with Telugu so I'm working on that. I want to wait until I find projects that excite me, she says, “I don't want to do stereotypical roles. If I'm not excited, how can I expect my fans to be? I don't mind the wait.”

Nadia entered the film industry when she was only 18 with the Malayalam hit “Nokketha Doorathu Kannum Nattu” and was later recast in its Tamil remake “Poove Poochudava”. “Director Fazil was a family friend and he had a script for which he was looking for new faces. When his brother came home to visit, he saw me and bounced off the idea to him. So he came over to Mumbai to narrate the story. That's how I got my first offer.”

Her career in films was fairly short, and she spent four years (1984 to 1988) working mostly on Malayalam and Tamil films. In December 1988, when she got married she took a break from acting. “My husband and I were seeing each other for a long time and when he settled down, we chose to get married,” she adds, “After that, I didn't act in many films because we moved abroad.”

In 2004, Nadia made a comeback with “M. Kumaran s/o Mahalakshmi” as a bubbly mother who single-handedly raises her son. “I was on a holiday here when I got a call out of the blue asking to play a character in a Tamil movie. I wasn't sure if I wanted to act again but it was my husband who encouraged me to accept it because he thought I had been in the film industry for a very short time. Then I thought if my fans still wanted to see me then why not,” says Nadia, “Of course, another reason for me to accept it was because of the way the character panned out. Mahalakshmi wasn't a stereotypical mom; she was youthful, bubbly and the director probably felt that I fit the role best. I wouldn't have done it if it was any other character.”

The actress feels that in the Tamil film industry films are still mostly youth-centred and there is scope to bring in a lot more character to women her age. “There are so many other topics that one can explore …. social issues such as abuse or harassment. There have been women-centric films in the past but I would like to see women play more pivotal roles. Every day Tamil cinema is evolving but it still has some way to go.”

Is she a feminist? Nadia answers, “I like to play strong women but I'm not a feminist. I believe, especially in a family, men and women both play an important role and one can't function without the other. Women are very strong. We hear about the sacrifices that they make. Isn't sacrifice born out of strength?”

Nadia's stint with television began with Jaya TV's ‘Jackpot' but is that all? “The show needed an anchor and they called me. I was rather apprehensive but took it up as a challenge. It was fun while it lasted. As for serials, I find that they're all mostly social dramas where women are stereotyped. I believe women have moved on now but if there is an interesting project I would definitely like to act in it.”

Her acting career apart, Nadia confesses to being a full-time mother and wife. “Kids can really keep you busy and we need to give them our time. I'm very involved in their school activities and I make sure I'm always around when they need me.”