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'Soorarai Pottru' star Aparna Balamurali feels at home in both Malayalam and Tamil

Aparna Balamurali

Aparna Balamurali   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Aparna Balamurali has been making big strides in tinseltown. After a fine performance in Rajiv Menon’s musical Sarvam Thaala Mayam, the actor returns to Tamil cinema with the upcoming Suriya-starrer Soorarai Pottru, based on the life of Captain G R Gopinath, founder of Air Deccan. “Soorarai Pottru is a golden opportunity and it has been a delight to essay the role. It’s a big step up in my career,” says Aparna over phone from Thrissur.

At home in both Malayalam and Tamil, the young actor has come a long way since her endearing role as Jimsy in the acclaimed Fahadh Faasil-starrer Maheshinte Prathikaaram (2016). However, despite the considerable experience she has gained by now, Aparna says she rather felt like “a newcomer” with Soorarai Pottru because of the preparations involved. She plays Bommi, a Madurai girl modelled after Gopinath’s real wife. “Through my role, we get to see how big an influence his wife played in his success story,” she says, describing Bommi “a strong character with a bubbly nature”.

Aparna says she had to be “both mentally and physically” prepared for Bommi. “It has been about two years, starting with the audition in Chennai. Mentally, it was more like I had to let myself into it (role). For that, I took a rigorous workshop with veteran actor and theatre person Kalairani who helped me get into the skin of the character,” says the 24-year-old.

'Soorarai Pottru' star Aparna Balamurali feels at home in both Malayalam and Tamil

In the years in-between, Aparna did work on other projects such as the Malayalam films, Allu Ramendran and Mr. and Mrs. Rowdy. Though each role had its own set of demands were different for each roles, she insists that the jugglery did not really affect her.

Aparna is all praise for director Sudha Kongara’s attention to detail and for making her feel comfortable. “For instance, Sudha ma’am gave meticulous attention to my costumes. The hand-worked saris I wear were tailor-made for each of the scenes. I’m grateful to her for having bettered my skills,” says Aparna, calling Soorarai Pottru “a motivational story”.

The film was shot chiefly in Madurai and Chennai. Though familiar with the language, this time, however, Aparna had to put in extra effort to get the dialogues right, having dubbed for Bommi herself. “I speak Tamil quite well. My mom and dad sing a lot of Tamil songs and I picked up the language while growing up. But perfecting the Madurai slang was a bit tricky,” she says with a laugh.

Aparna Balamurali

Aparna Balamurali   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Juggling between Malayalam and Tamil, Aparna feels that the demands are different in each. “ I’m more comfortable in Malayalam, perhaps because it’s my mother tongue. Whereas in Tamil, even though I can speak the language, I’ve to first learn and understand my dialogues clearly. Only then will I get the modulation right. Hence, I’ve to be more systematic there,” she explains.

Aparna, who made her Kollywood début 8 Thottakkal, has not yet signed any new projects and is “first waiting for the response to Soorarai Pottru”. She will be next seen in Malayalam in Thankam, in which she teams up with Fahadh Faasil yet again.

It is not only with her acting chops that Aparna has made a mark but also with her silver-toned voice, having done a bit of playback singing in Tamil and Malayalam. Perhaps, music is in her blood — the Padma Shri-winning late composer and singer K P Udhayabanu is her great-uncle. Music-wise, Aparna says she is "trying to develop something on my own", looking at bringing out singles and starting a YouTube channel sooner than later. "But, right now, I feel comfortable with both acting and singing and there's no pressure on either. However, music has always been there since my childhood, thanks to my parents and it will always be there," she says.

A student of architecture, Aparna has been otherwise busy with finishing her final-year thesis during the pandemic-induced lockdown. “In fact, I had earlier taken a two-year break from academics to focus on movies,” she signs off. Apart from trying her hand at cooking too, the actor has been practising music during the lockdown.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2020 3:00:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/soorarai-pottru-star-aparna-balamurali-feels-at-home-in-both-malayalam-and-tamil/article32219423.ece

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