Manjima is her own muse

Manjima plays a role that’s a lot like the real her in Ippadai Vellum

Manjima Mohan is awaiting the release of her third Tamil film Ippadai Vellum, after Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada (AYM) and Sathriyan. The film is directed by Gaurav Narayanan and it also features Udhayanidhi Stalin and Soori. ‘Momo’, as she is fondly addressed by her friends and fans on social media, opens up for a chat.

How is your role in Ippadai Vellum different from your earlier films?

I look totally different in it compared to AYM, Sathriyan and Oru Vadakkan Selfie. I play a no-nonsense kind of a girl...someone you can’t mess around with. That’s how I am in real life too and the character was a lot like me. Director Gaurav is very particular about what he wants. He lets his actors perform their way, but won’t compromise on certain things. Ippadai Vellum is a more adventurous film compared to AYM and Sathriyan; the screenplay is packed. I couldn’t look down at my phone for a moment even during the narration. I hope it feels like that on screen too.

Did the failure of Sathriyan affect you?

It was disappointing, as my first two films were big hits. It wasn’t a bad film as such, but people felt that the screenplay was slow and that the dialogues were repetitive. Reviews spread fast and that’s how it is nowadays. But my performance was appreciated, and my friends tried to cheer me up. But it doesn’t make sense when the film isn’t accepted. But I came out of the disappointment after just a day. I’m more prepared now to face such phases in future.

You are returning to Malayalam with the Queen remake, curiously titled Zam Zam.

Zam Zam means the holy water of Mecca. My character has a Muslim background in the Malayalam version, while the rest of it is pretty much the same. We’ll be shooting in Europe next month, when Tamannaah will also be simultaneously shooting for the Telugu version. I’m curious to see how each of the four actors has interpreted the role.

Do you feel more responsible doing a highly celebrated film’s remake?

I’m neither tense nor overconfident about the remake. I will take it as it comes. There is no point trying to act like Kangana; she was extraordinary. I can do it my own way, within my limits.

The Malayalam industry is delivering extraordinary films for quite some time now…

It’s a good thing and it makes me proud. People comment that Kerala is the place to go, for good scripts. I’m returning after two years. I was criticised a lot for my first film and I actually thought people forgot me. That’s the scary part!

Can you rewind to the most challenging, hilarious and embarrassing moments in your career so far?

When AYM’s release kept getting postponed for over two years, I used to have sleepless nights. That was a very challenging and painful phase.

Coming to hilarious, during the making of Ippadai Vellum, I used to sit with Udhay and Soori, and we were pulling each other’s legs, gossiping about others on set and passing mean comments.

And, I find it really irritating and slightly embarrassing when people approach me in public and act like they don’t know me.

Unlike a few years back, quite a few heroines who are over 30 are ruling the roost now in the South. How do you see that?

It’s definitely a healthy sign. As long as you pick the right film, maintain your looks and perform well, you can stay on for long. Age doesn’t matter any more, I feel. All of them are doing big films now, and with age, they seem to be becoming even more beautiful and desirable. They are setting the bar very high for the girls who are coming up.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 6:46:44 PM |

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