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‘Kettiyolaanu Ente Malakha’ was a great experience, says Veena Nandhakumar

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The Malayalam actor quit a comfortable job with the Bank of America in Mumbai to arrive in Kochi and take a chance on her dream

Actor Veena Nandhakumar is nothing like the quiet and subdued Rincy of Kettiyolaanu Ente Malakha; Veena is confident and is very sure about what she wants — she intends to make a career in films. She quit a comfortable job with the Bank of America in Mumbai to take a chance on her dream. Landing up in Kochi, without a godfather or a surname, was her taking a chance. “There is nothing you cannot achieve if you put your heart to it.”

Landing Kettiyolaanu... was the result of belief in herself. Her debut film was Kadankatha (2017) with Roshan Mathew, which went unnoticed, thereafter it was a series for rejections at every casting call she responded to —“I was either too fair or didn’t look like a Malayali or that I could be a supporting actor....” Earlier this year she returned home to Mumbai realising that things weren’t panning out as she hoped. But dame luck had other plans, within 10 days, she got a call asking her to get back to Kochi. She had landed Kettiyolaanu..., it was a surprise. “It was tough, but I wasn’t ready to give up yet. I knew at some point I would get a break,” she says.

Happy with how the film has shaped up, and the response to it, she is glad she stuck. The character struck a chord with the audience, especially women who come up to her and congratulate her on her Rincy. She is being recognised and she admits, with a smile, that she is enjoying the attention. The film touches upon the sensitive topic of marital rape and how a couple deals with it. As preparation, Veena says, she kept to herself on the set “so that I would be in Rincy’s frame of mind and not get distracted, as I was asked to be subdued, confused, even and low-key as a character who has been through something like that would possibly be.”

‘Kettiyolaanu Ente Malakha’ was a great experience, says Veena Nandhakumar

She remembers her first shot, which was also the first time she met Asif Ali. He was supportive throughout filming, helping her at times when he would have wrapped up for the day. She remembers a shot which required Rincy to talk to Asif’s character, “The shot required only me, Asif wasn’t even in the shot. But he sat there so that it would be easy for me to look at him and talk, rather than imagine a non-existent person. He has acted in around 70-odd films, he didn’t have to do that, but he did.”

The appreciative calls have started coming, and so have the offers, but she wants to choose her next films carefully.

Veena had no prior acting experience before Kadankatha, which she landed when someone associated with the film chanced upon her photograph. That was her eureka moment, “Until then I never thought I could act. But once I tried it, I wanted to act. Everybody has the potential, they can do whatever they put their mind to,” she says. The English Literature graduate was preparing for her Civil Service Exams when she decided to work and study for the exams. “That didn’t work out very well as working and studying wasn’t happening. And then films happened.”

Although her family hails from Ottapalam, she was brought up in Mumbai where her father is a customs official and her mother, a homemaker. She has a brother who is in Merchant Navy.

What do they say about her drastic shift of goals — from Civil Service to films? She laughs: “I have always wanted to do something different and I am a rebel, my family knows that and they completely support me.”

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 8:18:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/kettiyolaanu-ente-malakha-was-a-much-awaited-break-says-actor-veena-nandhakumar/article30296492.ece

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