It seems like Tamil content creators aren’t using the actor in Aditi Balan to full potential. After her break-out performance in 2016’s Aruvi, Aditi is yet to make a feature film in Tamil and she agrees that it also has something to do with the wrongful notion that she only prefers doing roles that are serious. “Even when people meet me in real life, they are surprised to see me as a jovial individual. And all the scripts I got after Aruvi were in the same victim-revenge zone. So, I am unable to show my other shades,” she says.
This is even more surprising considering that the parameters with which Aditi chooses her scripts aren’t farfetched or too much to ask for. “ I never wanted to stick to just female-centric scripts or a particular genre either. I would prefer if the project either has a novel idea or a well-experienced team. Moreover, the character should be prominent; even if it has just five minutes of screen time, her presence should add value to the story.”
The actor just wrapped up a project with filmmaker Thangar Bachan in which she acts alongside veteran filmmaker-actor Bharathiraja. Aditi says that though the film has a simple story, working with such an experienced team meant more to her. “That was a really enriching experience, to just see someone like Bharathiraja sir act,” says Aditi, who will also be seen in the upcoming Samantha-starrer Shaakuntalam. “There, even if there is limited screen time, the character is pivotal to the story.”
For Story of Things, the Sony LIV anthology series set to come out this week, it was the concept by writer-director George K Antoney that intrigued Aditi. The series explores the relationship between material things and humans, and Aditi’s segment in the series, Cellular, features a mobile phone that has a mind of its own. “I loved the very name of my character, Vannamayil; she’s a young girl from the suburbs.”
Cellular deals with guilt and possessiveness, with the central focus being on the relationship between a possessive mother (played by Gautami Tadimalla) and her daughter. “And then there is this mobile phone that plays its own role. Out of the five stories, Cellular has a psychological aspect as well that has worked well for us,” reveals Aditi. The obvious route that any such story would take is to touch upon the complicated relationship that we share with our mobiles. Given all the reality hits brought about by the pandemic, the story might even get more relatable, but Aditi says that Cellular sticks to its story and doesn’t touch such tangents.
Post the pandemic, almost all of Aditi’s projects have been for OTTs. “I am glad because OTTs have definitely opened up opportunities for actors,” she says, adding that she believes streaming platforms will only strengthen in 2023. Aditi wishes that 2023 brings her more work, in particular, a light-hearted role to play. Being someone who doesn’t want to be chained to a pattern, she hopes to find projects in other languages as well. “I want to do a film in every language to see how other industries function, and to experience their culture.”
Any New Year resolutions? “ Eppo resolution eduthu velangirku? (When have New Year resolutions ever worked out? ) But I do wish to focus a bit more on my mind, body, and soul. And quite often, when I work a lot, all of these get sorted as well.”