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Updated: June 28, 2014 15:46 IST

New innings in Bollywood

Srinivasa Ramanujam
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The Kalavaani actress talks about her Hindi film, projects back home and more

When she’s in Chennai, she’s Oviya. The actress who stormed into Kollywood a few years ago with a chirpy role in Kalavaani. And then went on to do a couple of offbeat films with Marina and Moodar Koodam.

When she’s in Kerala, however, she’s Helen. The quintessential Thrissur girl who likes the greenery and the rains. And the girl who just cannot live without the brown parboiled rice.

Oviya leads a dual life. And she loves it. “They are two different worlds,” she says, “Some of my friends back in Kerala don’t even know that I’m an actress. They’d tease me if they found out.” Her parents too just know — while her father has not watched any of her movies, her mother has watched just one.

But they might just find out soon. For, the actress — after completing a handful of films in Tamil and Malayalam — has headed straight to Bollywood. She’s currently finished work on Jaat, a revenge movie in Hindi by a new team.

“I accepted it because the subject was quite unique,” she says, “We shot for a whole week in the North and it was a great experience. Not just because of the young team but also due to my language issues.” What’s that? “Well, I’m from Kerala and I’m not very fluent with Hindi,” she admits sheepishly, “I can read and write quite confidently but I cannot speak. So, the whole unit had a lot of fun at my expense. A lot of times, I knew that they were talking about me but I couldn’t figure out if they were talking good or bad things.”

That’s not quite the case in Kollywood, which is almost home now. Ask her about Yaamiruka Bayamey, which hit screens just yesterday, and she says, “It’s a horror comedy,” she reveals, “We shot for the movie in a house for a month and the whole team was like family — we are all great pals now.” The film, which stars Kreshna in the lead, also has Rupa Manjari in the lead. Considering she’d already shared screenspace with another leading lady (Anjali) in her previous film Kalakalapu, how did she agree to one more dual-heroine subject? “Personally, it’s a lot of fun acting in multi-heroine subjects,” says the actress, who is a big fan of Sridevi, “As long as the script appeals to me, I do not have any qualms even if there’s another leading lady in the project. And, I’m quite friendly with most of today’s younger crop of heroines.”

She’s thankful to director Sargunam, who gave her the big break in Tamil, for giving her Kalavaani. “I never expected that I’d get a rural role in my first film,” she says, “Doing that was a big challenge. I wasn’t sure if I was getting the nativity right. But, the team helped me a lot to get my lines and expressions right.”

Up next for her is a comic caper in Kollywood titled Seeni by director Raj Durai that’s scheduled to start soon. “I love watching comedy and horror films,” she says, “Perhaps that’s why I pick up such subjects as well!”

Keywords: KalavaaniOviyaSeeni

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