Chat Keerthy, daughter of actor Menaka and producer Suresh Kumar, talks about her debut in filmdom with Priyadarsan’s Geetanjali
Legacy rests lightly on her petite frame as Keerthy stands tall in front of the camera, shining under the guidance of “uncle” [director] Priyadarsan. Then again, the youngster, who is making her Mollywood debut in Priyan’s psychological thriller Geetanjali , has cinema in her blood. The 21-year-old city native is the younger daughter of veteran actor Menaka and producer Suresh Kumar, who has given Malayalam cinema some of its most memorable films such as Poochakkoru Mukuthi (incidentally, Priyadarsan’s debut) and Aaram Thamburan . That’s perhaps why Keerthy prefers to call her tryst with the camera a family outing rather than a debut per se.
“Almost every other person on the set of Geetanjali , from Priyan uncle and Lal uncle [Mohanlal, who is recreating the character Dr. Sunny from Manichitrathazhu in the film] to [actors] Seema aunty, Ganesh uncle and Madhu uncle are friends of my parents, all of who I have known since I was a toddler. So, the set is more or less like a second home to me. It’s that comfortable,” she says with a smile, running her fingers through her luxurious mane that is so like her mother’s.
Keerthy has appeared as a child artiste in a few of her father’s productions such as Pilot , Achaneyanenikku Ishtam , and Kuberan and in a tele-film by Suresh Krishna. But that doesn’t mean that the youngster is being complacent about her Mollywood debut. “Gosh! I know the kind of expectations that are being heaped upon me. Day by day I’m getting confident as an actor but then I also cross question myself on a daily basis! I’m giving it my best but I’m taking each day as it comes,” says Keerthy.
Although she’s always dreamed of being an actor, Keerthy, a former student of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Pattom, says that it was never her intention to turn to acting right now. “My parents have always acknowledged my interest in acting but they were insistent that I complete my higher education before I even think about films,” says Keerthy, currently a student of fashion designing at Pearl Academy in Chennai. “As for Geethanjali my dad couldn’t say no to Priyan uncle! It’s vacations right now, so everything just fell into place, I guess,” says the actor. She plays the role of Anjali, Nishaan’s fiancée and Seema’s daughter in the film. “I’ve got a huge role in the film and both Nishaan and I are in it throughout,” she adds.
So, has her mother, given her any acting tips? “I’ve asked my parents to stay away from the set – I’ll just be shy and can never be serious in front of them. Only my sister Revathy [who works in Shah Rukh Khan’s production house Red Chillies], my confidante, can come visit me anytime. When I get home, though, my mom sometimes asks me to recreate my scenes and gives me suggestions. She has only told me a couple of things – that I must be punctual and treat everyone on set, from associate directors to spot boys, with equal respect,” says Keerthy.
The young actor has not signed up for any other film but by the looks of her sparkling stage presence Geetanjali is just the beginning.
Keerthy says that she has not watched all of her mother’s films but lists her favourites from Menaka’s filmography…
Ente Mohangal Poovaninju