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  • NITA SATHYENDRAN
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Chat Actor Mitra Kurian talks about her experience in Kavalan and the roles that have followed

I n the first few reels of director Siddique's Tamil blockbuster “Kavalan” (the remake of the Dileep-Nayanthara starrer “Bodyguard”), she appears to be one of the heroine's sidekicks, just another pretty face with a few lines here and there. As the film progresses, her character subtly comes into prominence, turning greyer and greyer, until the very end when she catches you unawares with her shenanigans, leaving us gobsmacked at the turn of events. Such is the character of Madhu essayed by young Mitra Kurian. She enacted the same role in both the original and the remake.  

Audience reaction

“I realised the depth of the character only when I saw the audience's reaction. In fact, I overheard a few of them asking themselves quite bewildered ‘How could she think of doing this?'” laughs Mitra.

“At the beginning of ‘Bodyguard''s shoot, Siddique sir pulled me aside and told me not to worry if it seemed that only Nayantara had lines. He said that Seethalekshmi (Madhu's namesake in ‘Bodyguard') would become a more powerful character as the film progresses.” On the sets of “Bodyguard”, Mitra says, Siddique helped her character evolve. “He was very patient with me, taking time out to explain my characters' thoughts, feelings, emotions… In fact, I'm lucky that this has been the case with other directors I've worked with too — especially T. Hariharan sir in my debut film ‘Mayookham'. I really had no clue about acting, then. Hariharan sir would ask me to laugh, and I would. He would ask me to cry, and I'd promptly burst into tears! It was the same with Siddique sir — first for ‘Saadhu Miranda' and later ‘Bodyguard'/ ‘Kavalan',” says Mitra.

Fun on the sets

The actor can't stop gushing about the “fun” she had on the sets of both “Bodyguard” and “Kavalan”. “Working with Nayantara was great. She is very grounded and friendly, giving me tips on clothes, make-up and so on. Dileep, of course, was laughing all the time. Asin and I had a blast jabbering away in Malayalam. You wouldn't realise she is one of the country's biggest stars. Vijay sir is a softie; soft-spoken and gentle. Asin and I would switch to Tamil when he's around. A few times, he even played dumb charades with us! By the end of both films, we all were like one big family,” recalls Mitra.   

“I thought that post- ‘Bodyguard' / ‘Kavalan', I would get similar ‘double-heroine' roles. So far I've been getting lead roles, but I really don't mind doing ‘double-heroine' roles as long as my role is good.”

A native of Perumbavoor in Ernakulam district, Mitra took her first steps into Mollywood as a child artiste in “Mayookham”. She stopped acting shortly after to concentrate on her studies.

Making a mark

Her appearance on the cover of an issue of “Grihalakshmi” magazine caught the attention of Siddique, who cast her in a supporting role for his Tamil flick “Saadhu Miranda”. And then “Bodyguard” happened, quickly followed by lead roles in “Gulumal: The Escape”, “Raama Ravanan” (opposite Suresh Gopi and based on the novel “Manomani” by Madhavikutty), and “Note Out”, released last week.

The actor will next be seen in “London Dreams” co-directed by Diphan and M. Padmakumar, and in the Tamil film “Kandha”.

“Not many newcomers would get such a break as I have had, and I really want to live up to that. So, I'm taking it slow for now. In between, I'm also focussing on my Business Administration degree.”

NITA SATHYENDRAN

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