Destination Chennai

Ramya Nambessan  

It’s a now-familiar route. There’s been just a thin line separating the Tamil and Malayalam film industries. For decades, they’ve shared performers, directors and technicians, with each industry acquiring a special space on their résumés. From the days of the Travancore sisters Padmini, Lalitha and Ragini, siblings Ambika and Radha and Revathy to Nadiya, Nayantara, Asin and Amala Paul, there’s been a steady stream of actresses from Kerala creating their niche in Tamil films.

Nayantara and Amala Paul are now top-billed actors here, while the younger crop led by Ramya and Miya George is choosing projects with care. The latest to join the bandwagon is Manjima Mohan, who made her debut in Tamil and Telugu with last week’s release, Gautham Vasudev Menon’s Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada .

Ramya Nambessan

Actor since: 2007

Ticket to fame: Raman Thediya Seethai

I have worked in Malayalam films since 2004, and got busy there after Traffic.

How Kollywood happened: Actor-director Cheran saw my photograph and watched some of my movies. He called me to act in Raman... and that’s how I entered the Tamil film industry. I feel actors from Kerala are treated well here. They respect us as artistes and believe in our ability. My journey in tinseltown has been full of ups and downs, but I’ve kept going. After Raman... I did Ilaignan, Aata Nayagan and Kullanari Koottam, which did not fare well but got me a good name. Even now, despite being part of hits such as Pizza and Sethupathi, many still refer to me by my screen name Priya from Kullanari Koottam. I love the warmth with which they welcome actors here.

Language love: I’ve also scored here as a singer, with hits such as ‘Fy Fy Fy’, ‘Pogathe Pogathe’ and ‘Hit-u Song’. I’m also singing for Atharva’s Semma Botha Aagatha, in a Yuvan Shankar Raja composition.

Upcoming films: I’m working in an untitled thriller with Sibiraj, produced by Sathyaraj.

Manjima Mohan

Actor since: I was three. I worked till I was 10, took a break for 11 years and got back at 21.

Ticket to fame: Oru Vadakkan Selfie. After seeing this, Gautham Vasudev Menon called me for an audition and AYM happened.

Language love: Tamil was never difficult, because I was familiar with it. Malayalam and Tamil share a lot of similar-sounding words. I even managed to dub for the Tamil film, with some help from Gautham and his team.

Upcoming films: Not signed anything new. But, I have Mudisooda Mannan with Vikram Prabhu and a film with Udhayanidhi Stalin.

Anupama Parameswaran

Ticket to fame: Premam, Kodi

How Kollywood happened: All of a sudden. I didn’t have any time to prepare for my role in Kodi, my debut Kollywood flick. Actually, I was supposed to do a Telugu project that was postponed, so I ended up having dates… and that was when the makers of Kodi approached me. But I’m glad that this opportunity came by.

Language love: I love Tamil, though no one from my family speaks the language. From childhood, I’ve been watching Tamil films — I’m a big fan of Mani Ratnam and his films, especially Kannathil Muthamittal. During the shooting schedules of Kodi, I did find it tough, but slowly warmed up to it.

Upcoming films: I’m currently doing a Telugu film but I’d love to do more of Tamil and Malayalam projects as well.

Nikhila Vimal

Ticket to fame: Vetrivel

How Kollywood happened: I first got a chance to act in Engeyum Eppodhum, the character that Ananya eventually did, but I did not take it up as I was in Class XI. I went to meet the team, got jittery and left. I then decided to act in Onbadhu Kuzhi Sampath and Panju Mittai with Ma Ka Pa Anand, which is yet to release. I’d decided to go back to Malayalam, when Vetrivel came up, followed by Kidaari with the same team.

Language love: In the process of acting in these movies, I picked up the language with the help of assistant directors. I can fluently speak and dub in Tamil now.

Upcoming films: I’ve been getting the same kind of roles, playing a girl in a rural setting. I have nothing against it, but want to try something new. I’m starting work on a Malayalam film in December.

Parvathy Nair

Ticket to fame: Yennai Arindhaal

How Kollywood happened: Offers came without me really trying for it. Though I have always been a huge fan of Tamil cinema, I never approached anyone, or had a manager or godfather. Also, I was an engineering student and never planned a career in acting. But, perhaps, due to my ads and modelling stint, I started getting calls… I believe it was destined to happen and I’m delighted to be here.

Language love: The language itself is so interesting and musical. Both my modelling and acting careers kicked off in Chennai, so I will always have a beautiful connect with the city.

Upcoming films: Engitta Modhadhey, which is Eros’ first Tamil production, and Koditta Idangalai Nirappuga, directed by Parthiban.

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Printable version | Oct 29, 2020 8:57:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/Destination-Chennai/article16644608.ece

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