Interview | Movies

'Nayanthara is a perfectionist': Smruthi Venkat on working in 'Mookuthi Amman'

Smruthi Venkat

Smruthi Venkat   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The 'Thadam' actor, who is part of RJ Balaji’s Nayanthara-starrer, tells us why the Tamil film industry should stop looking at her as just an ‘innocent’ girl

Let us assume that it is the look of innocence on her face that brought Smruthi Venkat her first acting offer — six years ago in Vishnu Vishal’s Mundasupatti.

She had to turn it down because the then 20-year-old had yet to graduate college, and Smruthi’s parents were dead against her pursuing a career in movies. Life, however, has a design of its own, and five years later, the film industry is where the journey took her. This time though, she says, with a broad smile, her parents had given up.

“They thought, ‘Okay, we cannot control this girl’. They were also confident that I could handle myself ,” she adds.

It may have been the same look of innocence that made filmmaker Magizh Thirumeni cast her as the demure Anandi, in last year’s hit film Thadam. A year on, she is wary of anyone using the word ‘innocent’ around her because of the stereotypical roles that it brings her way.

“I did not get a commercial film offer after Thadam. I am disappointed that people judge you based on the role. Even in the two other films I’m working on at the moment, I play an innocent girl,” she says.

Those two films are Theerpugal Virkapadum starring actor Sathyaraj in the lead, and the much anticipated film by RJ Balaji, Mookuthi Amman. Says Smruthi of her role in the latter, which has Nayanthara in the titular role, “It is one of the best teams I’ve worked with. This is definitely not an Amman film in the way you imagine. There is no good versus evil. It is a fun film, and I’m sure people are eager to watch Nayanthara play Amman.”

Moving up

Her desire to be a part of commercial movies does not mean she is okay being the “prop” in a film.

Smruthi Venkat

Smruthi Venkat   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

She wants to improve her craft, and though the roles she has taken up so far may not offer the screen time she desires, Smruthi chooses them because she gets to work with veterans like Sathyaraj and Urvashi (in Mookuthi Amman). It also helps that she has interacted with filmmakers of different calibre and style.

“Magizh sir would tell me everything about a character, breaking down things from top to bottom. Why the character is this way, and how she would react etc. With Balaji, it is all about reacting to what he or other characters in the film does. The first couple of days it was tough. Once I got the hang of the character, the reactions would come naturally,” she says.

Besides, working with the ‘Lady Superstar’ was a learning curve in itself.

“She (Nayanthara) is a perfectionist. She is never late to the sets and between changes, she works very quick. In front of the camera, she knows where her position ought to be. One cannot find a flaw in the way she works. For me, it is all about learning by looking at people [like her],” the actor adds.

Besides these two films, the actor also has Vanam with 8 Thottakkal fame Vetri in the lead.

The learning process extends beyond the screen as well. For someone finding her way around the Tamil film industry with no one to cast a guiding light, Smruthi admits that the proposition appears daunting.

“It is difficult. I make many mistakes and I don’t even realise until it blows up big. It is quite scary. You wouldn’t know how people judge you, and I, as a person, I’m quite open. I talk about things without constraints. In this industry, that is something you have to be careful about. I don’t know if I will ever learn to restrain myself, but it is a learning process,” she says.

When movies are not in her head, the actor’s mind is taken over by food.

“I love to go to restaurants and explore food. I am a big time foodie. I love Italian cuisine and pastries but now I’m on a no- sugar diet,” she says. On her Instagram, the actor posts pictures of her pet beagle, with whom she spends most of her time at home. “His name is Rowdy, and he acts just like one,” she adds.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 6:22:29 AM |

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