Quick talk | Movies

Nivedhithaa Sathish feels fortunate about the reception to ‘Sethum Aayiram Pon’

Nivedhithaa Sathish was last seen in the indie feature ‘Sethum Aayiram Pon’, which is streaming on Netflix

Nivedhithaa Sathish was last seen in the indie feature ‘Sethum Aayiram Pon’, which is streaming on Netflix   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The 21-year-old, whose performance in the Tamil indie feature on Netflix earned her appreciation, discusses shooting the film, and where her career is headed

Unlike many of us, Nivedhithaa Sathish is managing the lockdown very well.

The 21-year-old actor, who was last seen in the indie film Sethum Aayiram Pon, has been binge-watching Netflix shows, and making Tik Tok videos with her younger sibling.

“I’m sort of used to being like this,” she says, adding that as actors the schedule calls for working continuously for weeks or months or allows space to sit at home and do nothing for days.

She, however, has used the downtime to reconnect with a childhood passion — sketching. On her Instagram account, the actor recently shared a few sketches that she had finished recently, one of which she even managed to sell.

“One of my friends bought it for ₹40,000. That is the only pocket money I made during this period,” she laughs.

On the career front, Nivedhithaa had a decent end to 2019 with Halitha Shameem’s Sillu Karupatti. The positive reception that Sethum Aayiram Pon has garnered (the film released on Netflix) makes one wonder if she is content traversing the offbeat trail in films.


“I did not decide on choosing the offbeat. If I am working on a project, I want it to feel like the first two days of falling in love. I should be really excited about being with the team. But if a big banner with big stars or directors approach me, I don’t mind doing it,” she says. Excerpts from an interview:

How did Sethum Aayiram Pon come to be?

I was shooting for Sillu Karupatti at the time, and I went for this audition when I had a break in between. The director (Anand Ravichandran) had been searching for a lead actor for four or five months, but the same evening he got back and said ‘We like you for the role’.

Nivedhithaa Sathish

Nivedhithaa Sathish   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

It is an interesting script...

I got pretty emotional when the story was narrated to me. I’m very close to my grandparents. I grew up with them because my parents have always been travelling, working and staying abroad. So, when I head the script, I wanted to do it. I didn’t need to take references from anywhere else; I drew it from my own life from when I used to spend time with my grandma.

The film was shot in less than three weeks. That takes a lot of planning...

We had rehearsals for 10-12 days. We had to in order to get the long single takes right; some of them were 15-16 minutes long, and there were budget constraints. We had to be prepared before heading out to Aappanoor.

Shooting in a remote location like Aappanoor has its own challenges, doesn’t it?

There aren’t many people who live there. It was difficult to see more than 20-30 people. Now I speak good Tamil but it was hard to understand their dialect. Aappanoor is around 40 kilometres from Paramakudi. The time we shot there was in April-May last year, and the climate was horrid. Because we were on a budget, we could not afford certain luxuries [of a film set]. I was told that the place hadn’t gotten any decent rainfall in 70 years.

Nivedhithaa Sathish

Nivedhithaa Sathish   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

That sounds difficult...

It felt like 50 degrees shooting there. Also, we were shooting in sync sound. That means no dubbing afterwards. We had to be perfect, and it caused a lot of villagers to be angry with us.

How come?

There are only about 20-30 houses in all, and even if we were shooting some distance away, if someone had turned up the volume on their television, we could hear it. We used to beg them to switch it off. For instance, the man whose house was opposite mine (the house shown as hers in the film) was watching TV, and he refused to turn it off. It was crazy; we had to speak to his wife to convince him, and quickly finish our shot!

Would you say films like Sillu Karupatti and Sethum Aayiram Pon are calculated bets? It is not often a young actor goes down this path...

I didn’t know the films would be received well but for which I’m fortunate. I would not choose to work with a random team is how I want to answer it. What I have in mind is that I will have a good filmography.

For instance, Halitha wrote Kaaka Kadi (her short in the anthology Sillu Karupatti) for me. Madhu (her character’s name in Kaaka Kadi) is who I am as a person. Even if I do 50 films now, if someone asks me which one character is the closest to me, I’d have to say Madhu. In fact, my actual name is Madhu. My parents changed my name when they enrolled me in school.

Nivedhithaa Sathish

Nivedhithaa Sathish   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

You had barely finished school when you made your debut in Magalir Mattum. Did you find time to finish college?

I enrolled in a Visual Communication degree at a private college in Chennai. I always wanted a Vis-Com degree because I’m good at sketching. But I got the offer to be a part of Sillu Karupatti in my second year, and then Sethum Aayiram Pon and other offers. I hardly went to college, and I still have not finished all my papers. But I think I will (laughs).

What other projects do you have lined up?

I have one film with Jyotika, Samuthirakani and Sasikumar (directed by R Saravanan). I play her daughter in the film. There is another one, which I’m not supposed to talk about, and a web series. But I’m glad to breakthrough into mainstream films, finally.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 10:26:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/nivedhithaa-sathish-feels-fortunate-about-the-reception-to-sethum-aayiram-pon/article31309417.ece

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