chat Sonna Puriyadhu is gearing up for release and its heroine Vasundhara Kashyap gets talking about the experience and more
Words pour out in torrents. Hence following her thought processes is quite a task. “I was into modelling from my school days. When I was one of the finalists of the Viba Ms. Chennai show, Saran heard of me and brought me to cinema,” says Vasundhara Kashyap. “He particularly liked the way I speak, very fast, right? Probably that’s the reason giving voice for me isn’t easy,” she laughs. Not that she needs it. The actor is fluent in Tamil and dubs herself. “Dad is from Delhi, where I was born, but mom is Tamil,” she explains. Discovered by director Saran, Vasundhara teamed up with Arya as the second lead for Vattaaram .
These days she prefers to use the surname, “so that people don’t get confused with my namesakes — Vasundhra Das, for instance,” she explains. “Otherwise I’m a feminist and would have loved to have my mom’s name tagged to mine. But again that would have made it too lengthy.” In that case, why did she call herself Adhisaya in her first two films? “It was Saran’s idea. I soon went back to my name, though.”
Her effervescence is a surprise because on screen she’s always strong and sober. Recently Poraali too showed her as an actor with potential. “Yeah, running around trees isn’t for me.”
That’s exactly why her next film, Sonna Puriyaadhu , a romantic entertainer with Shiva in the lead, is a surprise. “The story has ample scope and I love comedy,” she defends.
In the six years Vasundhara has been in the industry she’s probably worked in as many Tamil films. After a sensible performance in the Vinay Rai-starrer, Jayamkondaan , she was expected to go places. Jananathan’s Peraanmai was another character which had her displaying various dimensions ranging from feline cunningness, insolence and brashness to steadfastness, courage and patriotism. But nothing much happened. “I had plenty of worthy offers during Peraanmai . I couldn’t accept them as I was bound to the film. No regrets, because I learnt a lot from director Jananathan. I plan to become a director some day,” she smiles.
Incidentally, fashion is a passion too. “I wanted to do a course in fashion designing. It’s only after Peraanmai that I became really serious about my career in cinema.”
In spite of being cautious, is she allowing herself to be typecast in rustic roles? “The village girl in our films is a stereotype. Even in places where I shot for them, the girls were in salwars or jeans, while I was in a skirt and half sari,” she says.
The critically acclaimed Thenmaerku Paruvakaatru had Vasundhara playing heroine, but Saranya Ponvannan’s National Award for the film garnered more attention. Still, her convincing portrayal did make an impact. “I should enjoy my work, so I choose roles accordingly,” she says. But Kaalaipani must have been a dampener. “Not at all, it was a good experience.”
So no more films in bucolic milieus for her? “After a negative role in my Telugu debut, Tuneega Tuneega , and now the fun-filled, Sonna Puriyaadhu , I’m again ready for formidable country-bred parts,” she laughs.
Director Krishnan Jayaraj, an associate of Amudhan, of the rib-tickling spoof Tamizh Padam fame, wanted a heroine who could look modern and arrogant, and most importantly, speak Tamil. Vasundhara filled the bill and soon she was on board Sonna Puriyaadhu . Director Sundarrajan, the popular director of the 1980s, is getting back to his vocation with Chithiraiyil Nila Sorru , and he has opted for Vasundhara as the heroine. About Shiva, her hero in SP , she says, “He’s a comic genius. His improvisations are amazing. I’ve had to be alert always.” And her comic timing? “Mine is more situational in SP . I’m supposed to be serious. But it appears comical to others,” is the straight-faced reply.