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Best foot forward

SHILPA NAIR ANAND
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Cinema Archanaa Guptaa enters the Malayalam film world with not one, but three films set for release soon

Big StartWith Mollywood, Archanaa Guptaa is now part of all four South Indian film industriesPHOTO: H. VIBHU
Big StartWith Mollywood, Archanaa Guptaa is now part of all four South Indian film industriesPHOTO: H. VIBHU

Archanaa Guptaa. The name might not ring a bell, but remember ‘Maya’ from the necklace mela commercial for a jewellery store featuring actor Dileep? That was Archanaa, and the petite actor is all set to make her full-length feature film debut with not one but three Malayalam films Rasputin , Hangover and Kaanchi .

She may be new to Malayalam but she has acted in the other three South Indian film industries. The girl from Agra tosses her hair and says she loves the experience of working in the four film ‘woods’.

She made her South Indian film debut with the Telugu film Andamaina Manasulo . She followed it up with films in Tamil, Kannada, Hindi, English and even a Russian one before Malayalam. She hopes this is the year that she makes her mark.

She left Agra for Delhi with modelling dreams before shifting base to Mumbai to try her luck in films. Some of the major commercials that she has worked in include Nescafe, Red Label Tea, Clearasil Face wash, UAE Exchange, Wheel Detergent, Airtel, Krackjack Biscuits, besides many others.

“In the last year, I haven’t done too many ads because there is a procedure to it, like attending auditions, which I haven’t had the time for,” she says touching the table for luck.

No outsider

Archanaa says all the politically correct things about being in Malayalam films. And when told that she is being a tad too correct she says in all earnestness, “No, no, everyone has been so kind and helpful to me that work has been so easy. Indrajith, who is my co-actor in Kaanchi , is so helpful and encouraging. Same for Vinay Forrt in Rasputin . Not once was I made to feel like I was a newcomer, or an outsider.”

Crew members who understand Hindi, helpful directors and supportive co-stars made her job easier, despite the language barrier, she says.

“Sanskrit and Malayalam are similar. For instance, for words such as bharya , I have a point of reference because I have learnt Sanskrit. Learning Malayalam dialogues is marginally easier as opposed to Tamil because it is nothing like I have heard before. But I manage,” she says. Learning Malayalam dialogues, written in Hindi, by rote is how she deals with the dialogues. If the lines are long and unwieldy she uses a prompter as “I would not like to waste time and spoil the mood on the set with constant repetition.”

Prithviraj, Fahadh Faasil...

She talks about Malayalam films being realistic as compared to the ‘ dhinchak song and dance’ routines of films by the other South Indian film industries. “I have seen Malayalam films such as Traffic , Mohanlal sir’s films, that Fahadh Faasil film where he loses the phone…If there were subtitles it would have been easy understanding what is going on in them,” and in the same breath she adds that she would like to act with Fahadh, Prithviraj and of course, Dulquer. She then jokes that she has gotten one-step closer to acting with Dulquer, because she is acting with his cousin Maqbool in Hangover .

All her three films are due for release in late August or early September. Besides these, her films expected to release later this year include a Hindi film Saancha which features Anupam Kher; an English film Desires of the Heart ; Tamil film Irruvarullam … If all my films release together then I will be all over South India,” she wraps up with a charming smile.

SHILPA NAIR ANAND

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