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Four conservative values forms the backdrop of Akshara Haasan’s next film

Akshara Haasan in a still from ‘Achcham Madam Naanam Payirppu’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

It is hard to categorise or guess what Achcham Madam Naanam Payirppu (AMNP) is about. If you have watched the film’s trailer, it is clear that debutant director Raja Ramamurthy does not want you to get even a hint of the plot.

Starring Akshara Haasan, Usha Uthup and Malgudi Shubha among others, AMNP follows the story of a 19-year-old girl, Pavithra (played by Akshara), who hails from a conservative family. In a Zoom chat, Akshara and Raja discuss the upcoming film, scheduled to be released on a digital streaming platform soon. Excerpts:

Can you tell us what AMNP is about?

Raja: Growing up in our society, girls are brought up by parents with these four values: achcham (fear), madam (innocence), naanam (shy), payirppu (chaste). This is what she is told she requires to be a ‘good woman’. These value systems become the central argument in my storyline.

The cast seems unconventional. What made you choose these actors?

Raja: I wanted to cast against type. Like Akshara, whose character is completely the opposite to what she is in real life. With Usha ma’am, she plays a veteran Carnatic singer, but she is a rockstar in real life. Malgudi Shubha ma’am plays a character with evil shades but she is one of the sweetest human beings you will come across.

Was it tough playing Pavithra?

Akshara: It is a very contrasting role but Raja had written it so well, and he was clear about what was required of me. Life becomes easier for an actor when that is the case.

Akshara Haasan with Raja Ramamurthy while filming ‘Achcham Madam Naanam Payirppu’

Akshara Haasan with Raja Ramamurthy while filming ‘Achcham Madam Naanam Payirppu’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

How was it working with veterans like Usha Uthup and Malgudi Shubha?

Raja: It is extremely easy working with them because they are curious to learn new stuff. It was Shubha ma’am who kept the set alive.

Akshara: Shubha ma’am is positively contagious. Having such a person around would lighten up everyone’s moods. Usha ma’am is large-hearted and an extremely generous personality. She sang a song for all of us on the last day of shoot.

You are releasing the film on OTT platform. What are your two cents on the OTT vs theatre debate?

Raja: Until we find a vaccine, people will be comfortable watching films from the comfort of their homes. Theatres and OTT will have to co-exist. If a movie like Tenet didn’t do well because people did not want to take a chance with their lives, it speaks volumes. But this is also the time to start making movies for the big screen. I am not talking about the mass films we do with huge market heroes, but films that warrant a big screen watch.

Akshara: We have no choice due to COVID-19 but not everyone watches a lot of content online or subscribe to OTT platforms. However, it has definitely grown, and it is exposing people to newer filmmaking styles because of the wide range of content that is available.

What are your upcoming projects?

Akshara: There are a couple of stories under discussion but nothing much I can reveal now. I spent most of lockdown reading, writing and watching a lot of films on OTT platforms. I also kept myself active because it is easy to feel like kids when we have no work, and just sit at home and eat pizza. But as we grow older, we need to be more active. I have also recently started making preserves and jams, and that is keeping me busy.

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2020 2:21:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/four-conservative-values-forms-the-backdrop-of-akshara-haasans-next-film/article32908848.ece

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