Actor Sameera Reddy talks about her debut in Mollywood, as Saraswathy Nagarajan listens

‘Kerala – god's own country… It's so lush and peaceful... Beautiful morning!' gushes Sameera Reedy on Twitter. The tall and willowy actor has been in the city for the last one week as she plays the female lead (opposite Mohanlal) in T.K. Rajeevkumar's film Oru Naal Varum.

“I have been following my heart for the last two years and things have really fallen into place,” says Sameera who has been winning the hearts of the cast and crew of the film with her non-filmy attitude and lack of airs.

Sameera even got a hero's welcome after she walked to her location when her car got stuck in a traffic jam. “I knew that the entire crew and a senior actor like Mohanlal were waiting on the sets and it was just a short walk to the location. So, I walked to the sets followed by my entourage. There were gasps of surprise when I reached the location,” says a pleasantly surprised Sameera, a familiar face in Kerala thanks to director Gautham Menon's Vaaranam Aayiram (VA).

Turning point

She says VA was a turning point in her career and life. “Till then I was forever on a quest: for good roles, good skin, better physique…. But somewhere around the time I signed the film, I just decided to live in the present and take things as they happen. It is gratitude for the gifts we have. It was miraculous… things just clicked after that. In fact, Meghna in VA is the closest I have come to playing myself on the screen. Gautham is such a fantastic director and I am working in Gautham's new untitled film. Even if I know practically nothing about my character or story, I would say yes to a film of his,” gushes Sameera.

She adds that it is the same with Priyadarshan who had cast her in his De Dhana Dhan. “I am working in his next film as well. I know him and Lizzie; he is a director I respect,” says Sameera.

In fact, she is in Mollywood, thanks to Priyadarshan. “One day he telephoned me and asked me: ‘Do you know Srinivasan?' When I said ‘no,' he told me: ‘well, you will know him because you are working in a film scripted by him,”' recalls Sameera displaying her perfect pearlies.

The actor plays Meera, a wife and mother in Oru Naal Varum, and Sameera is all praise for the director, stars and her tryst with Kerala. “I had first visited Kochi when I did a sari ad campaign for Seematti. Beena Kannan, managing director of Seematti Group, really impressed me with her drive and leadership. She reminded me of my mother, Nakshatra, a complete supermom,” says Sameera.

As the youngest in a family of three sisters, Sameera says she herself is surprised at finding her feet in films. Insisting that eldest sis – supermodel Meghna – is the most beautiful among the three, Sameera says she was a tomboy and the ugly duckling in the family who suddenly discovered the swan in her. “I was plump, had glasses and my glam quotient was rather low till I was 19. Films were something that happened.”

Conquering fears

Perched on a red plastic chair and sipping tender coconut water, Sameera, a picture of poise, says she feels comfortable in cinema as it needs a flow of emotions and energy, while modelling requires one to hold a pose and freeze an emotion and look for the camera. But the sizzling actor has successfully walked the ramp too. “Since my job requires it, I have become much more comfortable now. Each new step in my life came about when I tried to conquer a fear; I was reserved and not comfortable about public speaking, so I became an actress. I was claustrophobic, so I learnt scuba diving in Dahab in Egypt. I have completed 35 dives. I dare myself to conquer my fears. Last year, I learnt skiing and golf too.”

The previous year saw the actor go places with her work that saw her essay a wide range of roles. If Red Alert, which was screened at the Berlin festival, had her playing a Naxalite called Lakshmi, De Dana Dan's Manpreet was an outright comic act. Next on the anvil is Nagesh Kukknoor's Yeh Hosla. Perhaps the only contemporary actor who has worked in Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Tamil and now Malayalam, Sameera made her debut in an album, Ahista. After her big screen debut in Maine Dil Tujkho Diya, she scorched the screen with Musafir and then showed off her acting in films such Race, Kaalpurush and Taxi No 9211. She also acted in Jai Chiranjeeva and Narasimhudu in Telugu and has been cast in Cassanova (Malayalam).

She adds with a smile: “Well, my mother is a Kamath and so she is asking me why am I not doing a Kannada film. But, seriously, as far I am concerned, it is all cinema… the language does not matter. I am glad I got the opportunity to go beyond Bollywood.”

Chill Pill

I am on Twitter (Reddysameera), something I learnt recently. It has helped me connect with so many of my fans. Now I know there are lots of Malayalis too. They keep advising me to try this, eat this, go there and so on. Sometimes, I do get annoying tweets but it has helped me understand what is it about my roles that people have enjoyed and what could have been different… It helps me as an actor.

I love the food in Kerala. Appams and lentil payasam top the list and then comes puttu. I fear that if I stay here any longer, I will end up looking like a puttu as I feel I have been eating all the while.

I love video games and become a child when I play one. Among my favourites are ‘Need for Speed.'

I am mostly a vegetarian now and mediate and do yoga regularly.

I would love to do a jewellery ad in Kerala

All women are usually hankering for something or the other; to lose weight, to become tall, fair…If we just learn to love ourselves and do what we want, everything will be fine.