Actor Shelly Kishore talks about her celluloid dreams and the joys of motherhood

Actor Shelly Kishore couldn’t be more different from her popular small screen avatar, the meek Shalini in ‘Kumkumapoovu’ aired on Asianet. Shelly in real life is fun personified. A bold, no-nonsense young woman, she is now enjoying the early days of motherhood, with her six-month-old son Yuvan Kishore. Her girl-next-door look and natural acting have won Shelly a lot of acclaim, including the state television award for best actress (2006) for her role in the telefilm ‘Thaniye’. Even as she continues to wait for that big break in tinsel town, she is very excited about her first Tamil film, Thanga Meenkal, directed by Ram. Excerpts from an interview with the artiste…

About Thanga Meenkal

The film means a lot to me because I’ve always wanted to act in films. Ram, who also plays the lead in the movie, his second venture after the critically-acclaimed Kattradhu Thamizh, has also scripted Thanga Meenkal. The movie is about a middle-class family, comprising a father, a mother and their daughter and the narrative is set against the closure of government schools across Tamil Nadu. I play the mother, Vadivu. The parents are forced to send their daughter, Chellamma (played by Sadhana) to a private school. The movie is all about how Chellamma copes with the life in this unfamiliar environment. The movie had its share of financial troubles and now Gautham Menon’s Photon Kathaas and R.S. Infotainment are bringing it to theatres.

The wait continues in Mollywood…

True. Actually, I never wanted to act in serials. Once you become a serial artiste, its like the film industry shuts its doors to you. But, wishes rarely come true, do they? My first movie, Kanal Kannadi, was never released. I’ve done small roles in the portmanteau film Kerala Café (in ‘Island Express’ directed by Shankar Ramakrishnan), Chattakari, Akam and Waiting Room (a Hindi movie directed by Maneej Premnath). I had declined many film offers because none of them had the scope for performance. I am ready to do even a five-minute-role provided I have something to do in that film. But there is something called destiny. Maybe, my time has not yet come. I had received several offers to act in serials in Tamil too. However, I declined all of them. At least in Tamil I want to concentrate on movies.

The small screen beckons

Although my first movie didn’t reach theatres, Anbumani, the cameraman of the movie, suggested my name to Purushothaman sir, who gave me the double role in the serial ‘Chitrashalabham’ (Amrita TV). I’ve been very choosy about serials and so have done only very few of them. In the meantime, I concentrated on studies [She has a diploma in mass media and communication from Singapore and another diploma in sociology and has done post graduation in e-governance]. I had acted in a few documentaries and was working with the National Informatics Centre when ‘Kumkumapoovu’ happened. Today I’m grateful for the appreciation coming my way. People ask me whether I get bored when the storyline keeps dragging. However, I’ve never thought about quitting the serial because it is ‘Kumkumapoovu’ which has given me an identity. When I became pregnant, my maternity break was successfully incorporated into the storyline. It wasn’t easy acting while I was heavily pregnant. I rejoined the shoot within three months of my delivery.

Have you always wanted to be an actor?

Actually, I dreamed of being a director! I’m a native of Chirayinkeezhu but I grew up in Muscat and lived there till I completed class 12. While living there, I loved watching black and white Malayalam movies because they brought me closer to home. But I soon realised that it wasn’t quite easy getting into direction. So, acting was the next choice, even though I didn’t have much of an experience on stage or in front of the camera. The makers of Kanal Kannadi had placed an ad for new faces and I applied.

Learning dance

I want to restart my dance training. I’ve learnt Bharatanatyam, Mohiniyattam and Kuchipudi, but hold Kuchipudi close to my heart. I even learnt Kuchipudi from the late Vempati Chinna Satyam for a few months. Later I trained under his disciple, Kishore.

On motherhood

I was looking forward to it. I now take Yuvan to the location of ‘Kumkumapoovu’. I think he is getting used to it. It really helps that my husband (Kishore S.Menon) is always around since he is the production controller of the serial.