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BOUQUETS ALL THE WAY: Padmapriya has won both critical acclaim and fans with her spirited performances.
BOUQUETS ALL THE WAY: Padmapriya has won both critical acclaim and fans with her spirited performances.

SARASWATHY NAGARAJAN

In a short span of time, Padmapriya has made her presence felt with a few memorable roles in Malayalam and Tamil cinema.

I want to do a wide range of characters.

She came, she charmed, she conquered. Whether in Tamil or Malayalam, Padmapriya has proved that she is at home with the superstars and the young Turks of the film industry. After making her presence felt with her first film in Tamil (`Thavamaai Thavamirindhu') and Malayalam (`Kazcha'), Priya, as she is called, went on to act in a slew of films opposite all the top heroes in Malayalam. With her chiselled features and wide smile, she sashayed her way through a spectrum of roles that gave her an opportunity to explore her potential and also showcase her histrionic talent. Talent won her the Ujala Asianet award for the best actor for breathing life into Meera (`Vadakkumnadhan') and Poonkudi (`Karuthapakshigal'). In a no-holds-barred interview Padmapriya, who gave up her job at GE to become an actor, talks about films and her career.Your next filmAt present, I am working on `Sattam Podathe,' my third Tamil film after `Thavamaai Thavamirindhu' and `Paatiyal.' It is likely to be released in mid-May. I am working with Prithviraj and Nithin. Since they are my age group, we are able to relate better. I love my role in the film. It is similar to Meera, my character in `Vadakkumnadhan.' You can look good but the character is not merely decorative. There is a great deal of depth in the character. Those kind of roles are rare. In Malayalam, there is `Anantham,' again with Prithiviraj.How was it working with Mammootty, Mohanlal, Cheran, Sreenivasan, Suresh Gopi, Jayaram... ?Superb. I gained a great deal as an actor. They are so talented that by the time you manage to gain a little experience, they would have moved far ahead. I was and am still nervous when working with them. Each of them gives a personalised flavour to their role. It is a highly personalised profession where no two actors will enact the same role similarly. They are all extremely talented and comparisons would be difficult.Has being a Bharatanatyam dancer helped you as an actor.It can be an impediment and an advantage. For instance, during the shoot of `Kazhcha,' Mammmuka [Mammootty] asked me `Why are you using your eyebrows so much?' It was only then I realised what I was doing. In real life, one would never use one's eyebrows like that to express an emotion. But being a dancer helped me get rid of inhibitions and stage fright. Moreover, since I was into theatre, it helped me capture the energy and put that into my roles. But I have a long way to go as an actor.Any differences between the Tamil and the Malayalam film industries?The directors I worked with in both the languages are down-to-earth people who believe in good cinema. So, their attitudes are similar. Their focus is on the story and the film. So, I did not perceive any differences. For instance, in `Thavamaai Thavamirindhu,' I worked only on that film for about six to eight months and it was a unique experience. Cheran helped me fine tune my Vasanthi. The emphasis was on the theme and not on unnecessary show. What is that attracts you to a character?The script and the director. But I don't do a role if I feel my characters are repetitive. However, I am glad that I have broken my reel image of the `paavam kutty.' I may be a nice person in real life but in reel life, I want to do a wide range of characters. I hope the filmmakers and the viewers realise that.Who is Padmapriya? Dancer, actor, theatre person... I wish I knew. I have so many interests that I wish someone would tell me: `This is all you can do and no further.' Then, maybe I would know where to stop. Now, I am forever trying to catch up with the many things I plan to do.


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