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Of grace and social commitment...

Her famed chirpiness intact, actress Revathy talks with élan about her life, art and causes close to her heart.

IMPRESSIVELY EXPRESSIVE: A frank and friendly Revathy talks about her life and work. Pics: K. Ananthan.

THINGS LOOK pretty normal at the Coimbatore Club, Race Course, with no inkling about the arrival of an actress much loved and admired for her performances. When she alights from her car clad in an off-white ensemble, there is no excited buzz around, just respect.

With a friendly smile directed at the staff at the reception, Asha Menon aka Revathy walks into her room. Minutes later, she comes out to invite you for a chat even as she goes through the motions of lunch. Tucking into adai and vellam and egg sandwiches, she talks about movies, life and what keeps her going.

"Friends", a tele-film co-starring Revathy and real-life buddy Suhasini talking about the journey of two school mates, is due to hit the small screen soon. And, the actress says shooting for it was a wonderful experience. "We vibe very well and working together was good. However, our story is very different. We became friends through our profession."

Ask her about the path-breaking Mitr-My Friend, and Revathy says the lack of roles for women her age prompted her to think about direction.

"Suresh (husband) pushed me into Mitr. It was a huge financial responsibility, but I am happy he did it. It gave me the direction I needed in life. He is more of a feminist than I. Left to myself, I would have loved to cook at home and take things easy. He pushed me, saying I was capable of much more," Revathy recalls.

Given the role Suresh Menon has played in giving shape to her dreams, was she awfully upset when all those rumours about her split with him hit the headlines? "Over the years, you learn to handle such things. What I feel about him does not change, our personal problems are different. We have to learn to differentiate between people's personal and professional lives. No matter what, what I shared with him will always stay." The actress is also known for her association with social service organisations, notably `Banyan'. How did she get into it? "Somewhere down the line, I realised that our popularity can be used in a good way. I am a friend of organisations which work for good causes, more like their unofficial spokesperson," she remarks.

"Not that being a celebrity is everything, but when we star in public service advertisements, people listen. We might not delve deep into every cause we espouse, but certain topics have me hooked," she admits.

Which among her roles - wife, actress, director, social activist -- does she love best? "All. I would not be doing them if I did not love them."

Does it irk her that people tend to think those in tinsel town don't do normal things? "Of course it does. But, I have learnt to accept it. Acting offers more visibility, but it is just another profession. As individuals, we do a lot of normal things," she states.

But, at times, Revathy says she keeps away from certain places in a bid to avoid the limelight. "If someone comes up for an autograph while you are praying at a temple or are out at a condolence, it rankles. So, I avoid putting myself into such situations."

Revathy also actively takes part in debates and public functions. She was in town recently to moderate a discussion as part of the `woman today' function organised by Newdeal, Events and Advertising. How does such participation help? "While interacting with the public, I learn many things which even books would not have taught me. And, what you read might not necessarily work in real life. The groundwork involved in certain causes is very different from what you read."

The actress says that at times, she gets irritated at being slotted a feminist. In Mitr, the entire crew, barring the actors, comprised women. That was something that happened by chance, Revathy has often said. "However, I want a lot of women to experience the technical side of film making and so, I encourage them in that direction," she says.

And, after going through the daily grind, how does she recoup?

"Oh! In different ways... even while sitting on a flight or in the midst of traffic. It's all in the mind. Even cooking is a therapy. I believe in it. That was why it found place as one of the dialogues in Mitr. I have recently learnt not to let my mind be taxed. And, I am still learning," she says.

She is now working on her next film with the writer. "The language will be decided after the story is finalised and I will announce it in the next 2-3 months," she adds.


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