After 25 films, the newly-wed Gopika takes a break
There are some actors who are so subtle in their performance that they seamlessly merge with the character and the landscape. While many of them dissolve into the sidelines of cinema, a lucky few make their way up and leave an imprint on the minds of viewers. Actor Gopika is one among them.
She had no star quality. None of her performances made us sit up, contemplate or gush. So what’s it that made her the choice in all the films she starred in?
“Her simplicity and dedication. She gels with the South Indian landscape, be it rural, urban or semi-urban. Not many of our heroines have this quality. And most importantly, luck. She always got a mix of characters. For instance, a sensational For the People was followed by a conventional homely character in Autograph. So she was never stuck in one category of films,” says Jayaraj who gave Gopika the big break with his song ‘Lajjavathiye.’
“She has these raw, rustic feminine attributes that she uses intelligently. She is unusually camera savvy and quite sensuous as well. So, naturally, you develop a liking towards such actors who can portray with élan the girl-next-door type of characters,” feels Alagappan, cinematographer of Lal Jose’s Chandupottu, where she played the lead opposite an equally effeminate Dilip.
But the actor modestly plays down the compliments.
“The simple fact is I was around, willing to do those roles and tried to give each my best. But honestly, I had never aspired to make it big in cinema. It is important to acknowledge your talent and limitations and position yourself accordingly, in whichever field you are. Whatever is due will come your way then,” feels Gopika.
With optimal use of talent and aspirations, Gopika managed to make her mark in cinema. She managed all this without giving any room for gossip and now makes a timely, dignified exit.
“The credit should go to my parents. They shaped my attitude and achievements. And personal life has always been a priority. Hence the decision to get married,” she says. Gopika’s real life hero is Ajilesh, a medical practitioner in Ireland. “I plan to move to Ireland after marriage. That would mean a break from cinema, at least for some time,” she says.
Gopika’s latest works include Veruthe Oru Bharya, Twenty Twenty and Rajamudhra. “Veruthe Oru Bharya, scripted by Girish Kumar and directed by Aku Akbar, is my second assignment with Jayaram. The first one was Finger Print. I play Bindu, a struggling, middleclass housewife. It is a sort of heavy, performance-oriented role,” explains Gopika. But the high point of the film, according to Gopika, is she plays the mother of a 14-year-old.
“Twenty Twenty is a multi-starrer, and I play Mammooty’s heroine. Rajamudhra is the dubbed version of a Telugu film where I am cast opposite Richard, Shalini’s brother,” she adds.
The actor has to her credit more than 25 films in the four South Indian languages. “I started taking my career seriously after Autograph. It was not because the film was a hit, but because of the training I underwent and the preparation I did. The character was a Malayali girl who carried a veena in most of the scenes. Director Cheran told me I should familiarise myself with the instrument. So I learnt to play it. I had ample time for such pre-production work then. But later I could not do such things because time was a constraint.”
Ask her to name one film she would have loved to work in and she replies without hesitation: “Kaadhal. I was approached for the lead. I could not do it because of date problems. But I knew the film would be a hit. I loved the script. No regrets otherwise..,” says Gopika as she winds up for the season.