Andrea Jeremiah talks about how her journey in the film industry began, her upcoming films, co-stars and more
It is a fact that when Andrea Jeremiah was in college she had no intention of getting into films and spurned all offers that came her way as she was serious about a career in music. Andrea had learnt classical piano when she was eight. At ten, she was singing as part of a band. “Acting happened out of the blue, like things often do in life,” says Andrea in this interview. Excerpts:
How did acting happen and what made you change your decision?
I was all set to go abroad and study music; I did my first film to kill time that summer and to make some pocket money. Who knows, maybe if the shoot schedule hadn't got extended, I might have actually gone on to study as planned. But as a wise person once said, life is what happens while we are busy planning things.
Tell us about the roles you play in Endrendrum Punnagai and Inga Enna Solluthu.
I play a powerful role in Endrendrum Punnagai. The song with Jiiva was an experiment for me. Doing a romantic song is easy for me, but adding a dose of sensuousness to it was quite a challenge! I have no idea whether it will work or not; I’m just hoping for the best. It was nice to work with a group of sprightly young people and I must add that having Madhi as our DOP was a huge bonus. As for Inga Enna Solluthu, it’s a cameo I agreed to do at the instance of my friend, Santhanam. I shot for five hours with Simbu for it.
Your forthcoming film Taramani is supposed to be an interesting take on relationships. And, Aranmanai is a comedy-horror by Sundar C. How would you explain your characters in these?
After Ayirathil Oruvan, I’ve worked very hard on Aranmanai. We’re halfway through the film right now, so it’s too early to say anything about my role. It’s been a pleasure to work with Sundar C and his team. The film is an experiment for all of us and I hope it pays off. As for Taramani, I am yet to start work on it, but I fell in love with the character when (director) Ram narrated it to me. His sense of screenplay is remarkable. I’m really looking forward to working with him.
Tell us about your Malayalam film Mosayile Kuthirameenukal and about London Bridge?
I will join the sets of Mosayile Kuthirameenukal in Lakshadweep in December. I am so excited about my look in the film in which I play a Muslim girl; even my sister said I am almost unrecognisable in the photographs. I’ve completed my work on London Bridge and it should be out early next year. We shot for the film in London, my favourite city. And Prithviraj is the most helpful co-actor I’ve worked with. He helped me with my lines; he even gave me emergency driving lessons for a small driving sequence I had to do!
What kind of roles would you love to play in Tamil films, given that most of what you have done so far is sophisticated?
I love the fact that Rajeev Ravi could see an Anna in me (Annayum Rasoolum). I wore no make-up, was attired in saris, and the character worked brilliantly. In my next Malayalam film, Mosayile Kuthirameenukal, I play an orthodox Muslim girl, covered from head to toe. It’s interesting to see how people in Kerala are able to visualise me in these totally different avatars — people in my own state haven’t been able to. However, I’m hoping that Aranmanai will break the western stereotype that people here seem to have slotted me into.
Tell us about the strides you have made in your singing career and your future plans.
I sing very few songs, but thankfully most of them become hits. I say no to songs more often than I say yes. I do have plans of being more than a playback singer, but they will have to wait for the right time.
Do you have plans to take up any other film-related activity such as direction or music composing?
I make music for myself as of now. As for direction, I definitely do not have the patience or the resilience to make a film. Directing a film is very, very hard. Maybe someday I will be mature enough to handle such a monumental task. But not in the near future.
You have had your share of relationship controversies in the industry. How do you tackle them?
I am not a robot. I have a heart and am extremely sensitive to what people say about me, both in the press and otherwise. But I cannot spend my life trying to correct the world’s opinion of me. I have always been open about the way I live my life, because hiding skeletons in the closet and presenting a picture-perfect image is not my style. We are all human; flawed in some way. The best we can do is to admit our faults, learn from our mistakes and try to be the best person that we can be.