chat With her second film Paagan ready for release, Janani Iyer reveals how she stumbled upon acting
Even as she was waiting to move to Wollongong University, Australia, for her Masters, life had other plans for her. She was asked to meet director Bala for an audition. In no time, she was part of Avan Ivan ( AI ) . Janani Iyer couldn't believe her luck. “Several girls had been tested and to think that I was the one selected was incredible!”
Janani has just finished her work on Paagan , her second film, which has Srikanth as the hero. As with AI , she has dubbed for Paagan too. In an industry that thrives on imports from neighbouring States, as far as heroines go, here's a leading lady who belongs here and speaks flawless Tamil!
Paagan has been directed by Mohammad Aslam, who has apprenticed under Cheran, Radha Mohan and Ameer. “We shot in Pollachi and Tiruppur for Paagan , and when the crowd that had gathered called out, ‘Baby,' my name in AI , I realised the impact of my role,” she laughs.
After a serious sojourn with AI , Janani has plumped for a feel-good romance. “Yeah, khakhi was my only costume in AI . In Paagan, you will see me in colourful attire.”
The cast of Paagan includes veterans such as ‘Kovai' Sarala. “She's a natural and keeps improvising before the camera. It was quite tough for a relative newcomer like me to keep pace with her. But she made me feel absolutely comfortable,” says Janani.
As a well-known face on the ad film circuit, facing the camera must have been child's play for her. “Yeah, but acting is a different ball game. And I was the only newcomer in the AI unit. Bala would act out every expression and every nuance. All I had to do was imitate him. He's a genius,” she says.
But how did this graduate from Saveetha Engineering College find her way to the arclights? “Bala happened to see a photograph of mine and through a common friend, sent for me,” she says.
And it wasn't as though Janani was keen on cinema. “Commercials started off as a hobby, to fetch me some pocket money while in college. But before I realised, it was slowly becoming my profession,” she says.
Yet after AI , her career didn't really take off. “I was listening to several scripts but was quite wary of signing on the dotted line. Any way, it's just been a year since AI happened and I have Paagan coming out next. I prefer to wait and work in meaty roles. Hopefully I'll begin my third project soon,” she smiles.