Switching roles

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interview Radio jockey Nyla Usha talks about switching over to Mollywood. VIJAY GEORGE

It was not easy for Dubai-based radio jockey Nyla Usha to get into the shoes of a homemaker from Kannur, and that too of a woman who is going through an unhappy marriage, in the Mammootty-starrer Kunjananthante Kada .

“Chithira, my character, is really strong and she is the one who actually takes care of her family. In preparation for the role, I observed women who live in villages to learn their gestures, mannerisms, attitudes and the like. But Chithira is totally different from the real me. Nonetheless, once I donned Chithira’s night dresses and cotton saris, all the differences disappeared and her struggles became mine,” says Nyla.

The film was set in a sleepy village in Kannur and the characters had to speak the native dialect. “I have never been to Kannur. To make matters worse, since the film was shot with sync sound, it was not even possible to replace a word while delivering the lines,” she says.

Nyla had interviewed director Salim Ahmad when he had gone to Dubai after the release of his award-winning film Adaminte Makan Abu . She says she was not quite sure whether to accept the offer for the role.

“The film had some of the finest technicians in the business and Mammootty was playing the lead. When the director asked me if I was confident about doing the character, I told him that I did not know anything about acting. I have never watched movies from an actor’s perspective. But I believe in doing the best I can and I told him as much,” says the actor.

However, Nyla was worried if she could deliver what the director expected from her. Finally she told herself that since it was Salim himself who had selected her to act in his film, it would be his job to tap her talent as an actor. “I felt relaxed from then on and, of course, there was the excitement of working with Mammootty. Most movie buffs of Malayalam would be happy to click a picture with him and there I was doing an entire movie with him!” adds Nyla.

The actor says that for almost a decade now, she has been talking about Malayalam cinema in Dubai. “Before shooting started, I told my husband that if I act in a movie, my son could then show off his mom to everyone. However, after the shooting began, I was scared to visit websites that I used to check regularly, as my picture would pop up suddenly. However, it has been a fantastic experience,” she admits.

From Kannur, she travelled to Thrissur for Ranjith Sankar’s Punyalan Agarbathis . “I am playing Jayasurya’s wife in the film and, luckily for me, my character is from Kottayam. Everyone else in the film speaks with a Thrissur accent. I hope to fine tune the dialogues during the dubbing,” says Nyla.

How serious is she about her career as an actor now?

“I have enjoyed my stint in radio and I am happy that my listeners wait for me. After so many years, facing the camera has been a break from the routine. Now, I will go back to being an RJ for a while, and maybe, I will take a break again and do a couple of movies then,” says Nyla.



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