Priya Bhavani Shankar is not your average artiste from television

The actor is part of S J Suryah’s ‘Monster’ which released over the weekend

Updated - April 21, 2020 04:18 pm IST

Published - May 18, 2019 01:30 pm IST

Priya Bhavani Shankar

Priya Bhavani Shankar

Not many people remember Priya Bhavani Shankar from her days as a newsreader on a 24/7 Tamil news channel.

The actor, who has earned positive reviews for her portrayal of Mekala in this weekend’s release, the S J Suryah-starrer — Monster , became a household name after appearing as Priya Arjun in the teleserial Kalyanam Mudhal Kaadhal Varai .

Subsequently, she made her film debut in Meyaadha Maan (2017), and followed it up with a meaty role in Pandiraj’s rural family drama Kadaikutty Singam (2018). Excerpts from an interview.

You’re one of the few who’ve made a successful leap from TV to the big screen.

Yes, and I don’t want to be an average artiste who made that transition from television. But I owe much to director Karthik Subbaraj (who co-produced Meyaadha Maan ). I don’t think any other producer would have promoted a debuting actor as much as he did.

On S J Suryah suggesting you could be the next Vidya Balan...

[Suryah] is a magnanimous person. It was a nice gesture. I don’t know what made him say that. But he believes that if I push myself a little bit, I have the potential [to emulate Vidya Balan].

Priya Bhavani Shankar

Priya Bhavani Shankar

What are your upcoming projects?

There is Kuruthi Aattam with Atharvaa. I’m also a part of Jiiva and Arulnithi’s rom-com movie. I’m paired with Arulnithi in the film. There is Vaan with Dulquer Salmaan for which shooting has yet to start. I’ve signed two more projects — one each in Tamil and Telugu, with big production houses. Official announcements on those films will happen soon. I’m also part of a sitcom produced by Kavithalaya for Amazon Prime.

That’s an impressive lineup. But you’d almost quit acting before Meyaadha Maan happened...

I was going through a bad phase personally, and I just wanted to keep calm. A lot of TV work can become monotonous beyond a point. At that time, movies were never an option for me, and whatever offers I’d received weren’t so alluring. I was pretty content with my life. That was when Meyaadha Maan happened and I just wanted to give it a try. But it turned out well [for me].

Priya Bhavani Shankar with Karunakaran (L) and S J Suryah (C) in ‘Monster’

Priya Bhavani Shankar with Karunakaran (L) and S J Suryah (C) in ‘Monster’

You’ve been vocal about not showing skin...

I don’t want to regret or feel awkward sitting watching one of my movies with my in-laws, a few years down the line. I’ve worn modern clothes since college. But if skin show is what’s going to make me a dream girl, I don’t want it.

An actor or director you’d like to work with?

I’d like to work with Madhavan because I think he’s such a positive person. A director would be Gautham Menon. The women characters in his films have a brain! (laughs) He gives them a strong voice too.

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