My College Years Education

Nothing pays like hard work: Suhasini Maniratnam

Challenges are a part of our lives, says versatile actor Suhasini Maniratnam.

A national award-winning actress, a successful television host and an activist for women empowerment… Suhasini Maniratnam is all this and more. While her work in south Indian cinema has won her many accolades, she has been breaking the glass ceiling since her college days.

She was the first girl to graduate from the Madras Film Institute. “I was the only girl student amongst 150 boys. There were five boys in my cinematography course. It was scary, but everything worked out. I was called thozhi by all the boys,” she recalls.

Her journey as a student began at Queen Mary’s College, Chennai. “I joined B.Sc. Physics, but left after a year and joined the film institute,” she says. She credits both the colleges in shaping her views and personality. “In Queen Mary's, which was an all-girls’ college, I learned discipline, hard work and to be competitive. But at Madras Film Institute, I learned about the world, being free and knowledgeable, and thinking beyond oneself. College education teaches you humility,” she adds.

College life is incomplete without memorable experiences. or Suhasini, one of them was during the chemistry class on her first day at Queen Mary’s.

Unknown territory

“I studied in Tamil medium throughout school. So, when the chemistry professor started speaking in English and said, “Take a pinch of anhydrous sodium chloride,” I almost fainted.

I could not understand a word. In Tamil it would be “Oru chittigai ularntha uppai edukkavum,” which means, take a pinch of dry salt. Though the first day of college was scary, I gradually adjusted to the environment and started enjoying myself with friends, lecturers, sports, and college day functions,” she says.

Talking about her favourite mentor, Suhasini says, “P.C. Sriram was my senior at the Madras Film Institute. He always thought out-of-the-box. His focused and serious attitude towards cinema made me realise that films cannot be a career; they had to be a passion.”

Challenges are part and parcel of our lives, and it is during college that they get tougher. Talking about how she approaches and overcomes them, Suhasini says, “It is difficult to accept failure when you are a student. It is also difficult to succeed because everyone is so competitive! One has to accept failure and learn from it; that is the only way to move forward. Nothing pays like hard work.”

She signs off with a message for students, “This is the time for you to learn everything that is possible to learn. Don’t study to make money for the future. It will never happen. Learn a subject only if you like it or are good at it. Sky is the limit for your success, enjoy and make the best of it.”

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 9:14:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/nothing-pays-like-hard-work/article18955060.ece

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