Star at the marquee

Anu Sithara   | Photo Credit: Vishnu Prasad

Ramante Edenthottam makes you feel good about many things — the story, the people, the places, the performances and, of course, Malini, the protagonist. The grace and poise with which Anu Sithara has lived the life of Malini has made her the toast of tinsel town.

As she is being hailed for her performance, Anu says she is not used to so much of appreciation. “I have been in the industry since 2013. But I couldn’t make a lasting impression with my roles and not many people would recognise me when I went out. Now people walk up to me asking, ‘Are you not Malini?’ I am also excited about getting congratulatory messages and calls from people within the industry. The adulation is all new to me and I am very happy,” says the doe-eyed beauty during a conversation over phone from Chennai airport, while she was waiting for a flight to Kolkata.

She is on her way to the location of Captain, a biopic on late footballer VP Sathyan. While Jayasurya plays Sathyan, Anu enacts his wife, Anitha. Watching her erase templates of the ‘wife’ in Ramante Edenthottam, she is sure to bring a different dimension to Anitha as well and not remain as a cheerleader for the hero.

With great ease, Anu makes Ramante Edenthottam a woman’s journey of self-discovery. Married to Elvis Chummar, an unsuccessful film producer, played by Joju George in a stellar role, Malini, a dancer, seems to have forgotten the music in her life. Even when Elvis taunts her, cheats on her and mauls her self-respect, Malini seems to be living in a make-believe world of her own. It is when she meets Raman (Kunchacko Boban), that she is inspired to look within and discover a different Malini in herself.

Powerful role

As film critics and academics discuss her role and the story’s many aspects and laud the film and director Ranjith Sankar for creating a strong woman character, Anu admits that she had reservations about playing Malini.

“The character has so many layers. I was nervous when the role was offered to me. But it was my husband, Vishnu Prasad, who told Ranjith sir that I would do it,” she says.

Very unlike her on-screen husband Elvis? “Yes. I have a husband who is like Raman and not Elvis! We have been married for two years now and he has been my pillar of strength. In fact I couldn’t relate to Malini’s life at all except for the fact that both of us are dancers. Malini’s observations about life, her emotions and philosophy were alien to me. I don’t think deeply about so many things. So initially it was difficult for me to invest the right emotions in the character. It took a lot of effort from the director, my co-stars and the crew to make me live Malini,” says the 21-year-old from Wayanad. Anu says she can reel of a long list of scenes that were difficult for her to emote. “There is one scene when she tells Raman at his resort, ‘I wish I could disappear while I am here’. Ranjith sir wanted me to keep it subtle and I tried hard to be so,” she says.

Now that everyone is gushing about the breathtakingly beautiful frames shot in Vagamon, Anu feels the same. “In fact the place looks more beautiful on screen than how I saw it, thanks to the frames of Madhu sir [cinematographer Madhu Neelakantan]. Usually I don’t like going away from Wayanad for shoots. But when we were in Vagamon, I felt quite at home,” she says. She laughs off questions about her classic good looks that have also been the subject of discussions in social media.

Anu Sithara in a scene from Ramante Edenthottam

Anu Sithara in a scene from Ramante Edenthottam   | Photo Credit: Sinat Savier

“I should thank the people who made me look good. It’s just that my features were suited for the character and being a dancer in real life helped me make it believable.”

Dance has been part of her life since childhood and she finished her high school education from Kerala Kalamandalam with Mohiniyattam as her main subject. It was from the youth festival circuit that she got her entry into films. Her first film was Pottas Bomb and after that she did Oru Indian Pranayakatha, Anarkali, Happy Wedding and Fukri. “I hadn’t planned a career in movies. I just went with the flow. Dance remains my first love.”

Navarasa, a dance school she runs with her mother in Wayanad, is proof of her commitment to dance.

Anu Sithara

Anu Sithara   | Photo Credit: Manu Mulanthuruthy

All good things come in doubles and likewise another new film of Anu’s is also in theatres — Achayans. “I had shot for the movie before Ramante... It is a coincidence that both movies are playing in cinemas now. I play Prayaga, a happy-go-lucky girl, a close friend of Amala Paul’s character.” So has Malini has added to her responsibility as an actor? “Now everybody wants to know whether I would start cherry picking my characters! I don’t think so. I am aware of the kind of roles I can pull off and the kind of costumes that would suit me. I have my comfort zone and I will do only those films that give me satisfaction, irrespective of the length of the character,” she signs off.

Now, that is indeed very like Malini.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 8:57:16 AM |

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