Recording inside her wardrobe is not new for actor-singer Mamta Mohandas. Her Instagram post of her doing so went viral as she posted it almost simultaneously with the release of her song ‘Ambili Rumaal’ in the film Lalbagh .
Singing after a break, Mamta’s rendition of the Rahul Raj-number got a rousing reception among music buffs. Speaking over a WhatsApp call from Los Angeles, Mamta says she discovered that her wardrobe could be an ideal recording studio four years ago. “I was living alone in Los Angeles and, sometimes, you feel the urge to sing and hear yourself. Since my apartment is not carpeted, no matter when and where I sang, noise from the outside intruded into the recording. That is when I tried the wardrobe, which is carpeted and it was evident that the recording was crystal-clear,” she explains.
It was during the post-production work of director Venu’s Carbon that the Malayalam film industry got to know about her wardrobe recording jugaad. Although it was shot in sync sound, the technicians found that Fahadh Faasil’s and her voices were almost inaudible during the scenes shot deep in the forest.
“The sound recordists were unable to recover the dialogues or erase the disturbances. It needed dubbing and I was already in Los Angeles. That is when I turned to my wardrobe for help and it worked. I used an app called Voice Record and my co-workers could not believe that I had not done the dubbing in a recording studio,” says Mamta.
So when it came to the song in Lalbagh , she had no difficulties at all. It was back to Mamta, the song and the wardrobe. And she surprised Rahul too with the clarity of the recording. Though she insists that Rahul had to work on the recording a bit, the melodious, melancholic duet in her smoky but dulcet notes with Zia Ul Haq has zoomed up on the charts.
She points out that living on her own for the last seven years has helped her experiment and discover such hacks. Although she was in Kochi from mid-March onwards and was in quarantine and lockdown due to the pandemic, Mamta returned to Los Angeles by May-end.
However, while many might feel upset, helpless, anxious and angry about the lockdown and the current situation, Mamta sees it as a period to be introspective. “When I am not working, my life is pretty much like in a lockdown. For nearly 32 days, I did not step out of my apartment. Moreover, I was spending time with my parents after a long time and I really cherished that. Never once did I feel bored or upset that I could not go out or socialise. We had bought a new apartment in Kochi and we were busy doing up its interiors. I would help my mother with a little cooking or cleaning, do my yoga, meditate... time just sped by,” she says.
She recalls how they lived on eggs, pulses and whatever was available in the house during that period. “My mother was extremely busy in the kitchen but I got my father into a physical fitness routine and meditation and he is super fit now,” she she says laughing.
In the meantime, Forensic , her film that released in March, was released on OTT platforms and now it looks like her new film Lalbagh will be premièred there.
Lalbagh , which has Mamta in the lead, is a thriller directed by Prasanth Murali Padmanabhan, with whom she had worked with in Paisa Paisa in 2013. The shooting of Lalbagh got over in December last and the film’s post-production work was finished recently. Shot completely in Bengaluru, the film has Mamta playing a nurse, Sarah, “who is dedicated to her work and her family.”
“The film opens with a murder. Sarah’s husband is found dead when there is a birthday party going on in their house and the guests are all close friends of the family. Sarah then joins hands with the police to track down the murderer. It is her quest to find the reason for her husband’s death,” says Mamta.
Scripted by the director himself, Lalbagh’ s cast includes Sijoy Varghese, VK Prakash, Rahul Madhav, Nandini Rai, and Neha Saxena. Says Mamta: “This is my third project with producer Raj Zachariah with whom I had worked with in Anwar and Paisa Paisa . It is a film that explores and delves into our definition of friendship and man-woman relationships. It dwells on ambition and family and the kind of superficial bonds we might develop and interact with in metros.”
Although Mamta has not been following all the OTT series and films, the actor says she does enjoy some of them. She says if something similar comes up, she would certainly look forward to working in them. “It would be a relief to create content without fear of censors and several other restrictions imposed on films. If interesting roles come my way, I would love to gain some traction on the OTT platforms,” says Mamta.