What are Kollywood stars learning this lockdown season?

Kollywood stars are using this period to brush up their other skills   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Being grounded is never fun. Normal life is affected, even for celebrities who aren’t quite used to said life. And at a time when we don’t quite know when the concept of normalcy is likely to return, Tamil film personalities have taken up different interests, away from the glare of cameras and arc lights.

Like actor-composer GV Prakash Kumar, who has gone back to video-gaming with a vengeance during the lockdown. “I have no other choice now but to play video games,” says Prakash, whose normal work schedule doesn’t leave him enough time to engage in this childhood passion. “I work out in my house. I have a gym set up here. I’m also watching movies and listening to music,” he adds. When we reached out to him, Prakash was playing Tennis World Tour: Roland-Garros edition on his favourite PS4 console. “I’m also playing Call of Duty: WWII,” he says. When we suggest trying out FIFA, Prakash, who admits to not having played the popular football game, responds: “FIFA is supposed to be good. Maybe, I will give it a shot.”

GV Prakash Kumar

GV Prakash Kumar   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Besides video games, the composer says that he thought he’d pick up a guitar and learn how to play the instrument during this time, but the severe restrictions placed on movement of people on the streets means that Prakash will have to give it a pass. Wouldn’t a composer be able to teach himself how to play one? He laughs. “Yeah, but without a tutor it will be tough to get the tone and temper right. It only comes with good positioning,” he says, insisting that there is something he won’t even bother trying during lockdown. “Cooking. I used to like watching the Australian MasterChef series. But I’m not good at cooking.”

For director Sam Anton, though, the lockdown has come at a bad time. “I was in discussion for my next film,” he says, adding that the situation has forced him to have script writing sessions over WhatsApp calls. “I’m writing from 10 to 12 in the morning and after 7 pm in the evening.” What does he do in the meantime? Perhaps, this is now time to touch upon his cooking skills.... “Haha, nope!” he says. “My wife does not let me inside the kitchen because I make a mess. I had to walk a mile to get some bread now,” he says. While it is easy getting used to catering food on a film set, Sam says he is trying to eat healthy at least for the period of lockdown. “I’m trying to lose weight,” he says, before pausing to reiterate the word: “TRYING”.

Vishnu Vishal

Vishnu Vishal   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Losing weight is no problem for Vishnu Vishal. The actor, last seen in the smash hit Ratsasan (2018), has been in a fighting fit condition for some time. His workout and fitness regimen videos attract a lot of viewers on his Instagram and Twitter profiles. However, aside of workouts, Vishnu Vishal has been spending time with his parents, trying to keep the positive spirits high about him and the family. “I’m also thinking of trying to learn some cooking,” he admits. So, exactly how bad is he at cooking at the moment, we ask. “Haha, I’m really bad with cooking. But I haven’t started yet [to learn]. As of now, I can cook some yummy eggs and make myself some sandwiches,” he says. Will that be enough to get him over the next 20 days? He laughs. “Mom is there. But I do want to learn a dish or two,” he adds.

Ponniyin Selvan actor Ashwin Kakumanu is trying something a bit different. He is spending time glued in front of his computer, as he attempts to “brush up on using Final Cut Pro X”. With the Mani Ratnam film now standing postponed for a lot longer than expected due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the actor has found time to edit a pilot video he shot last year. “I had shot it as a concept. I was editing it, but got busy with becoming a father and then work.” He also has other plans. “I was going to start learning the guitar,” he says, adding, “The guitar has always looked cool and the sound of it is really romantic. I was supposed to learn playing the guitar for a project that got shelved. My father-in-law used to play it. I figured it would be a nice way to learn... from apps and watching YouTube tutorials.”

Yashika Aannand, actress

Yashika Aannand

Yashika Aannand   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

I’m exercising a lot, and experimenting with my fitness by learning CrossFit and focussing on my kick workouts. On the other hand, I’ve finally begun to learn to cook as well, starting off with simple recipes. I noticed a lot of people posting easy instructions for beginners in the kitchen to follow online, and really felt that I should take it up. It’s been surreal for me, as this lockdown feels almost exactly like my time in the Bigg Boss house! Sealed inside the house, with nobody but your family for company, and you cook, clean and fend for yourself: the only difference is that, thankfully, we have our gadgets here to be connected to the outside world. I have four films lined up this year, including Ivan Than Uthaman, the shooting of which was completed. We have to wait and see what happens with them; keeping fingers crossed!

Harish Kalyan, actor

Harish Kalyan

Harish Kalyan   | Photo Credit: L_SRINIVASAN

I’m using this time to be productive and decided to take up cooking. I’ve started preparing my own dishes. It’s not like I don’t know the basics. But I want to try out something that’s a little more. For instance, I made some curries and had it with rice. I also made bread upma with eggs. I think it’s essential for people to learn the basics of cooking, at least for survival reasons. Cooking is definitely not an easy job. That’s what I’ve realised. Reading books is another thing I’m seriously giving a thought to. In fact, I’m literally forcing myself to take a book and have started reading after a long time. I think this quarantine period is going to change our lives for the better.

Shraddha Srinath, actress

What are Kollywood stars learning this lockdown season?

I've been surprisingly leading a very disciplined schedule of late. I get a really good night’s sleep now, with no alarm, cause there’s no need to get up early! Then I ensure I work out twice a day: an intense session in the morning and a lighter one in the evening, getting my 10,000 steps in with a walk while maintaining social distancing of course.

I’m also really enjoying helping my mom in the kitchen and marvelling at her make her signature dishes; the plan is to start baking next as I’ve been really inspired by bakers I see on Instagram.  In the evening, my whole family also bonds over movies and old Hindi songs. But my favourite activity during this lockdown is ultimately cleaning! I’ve been vacuuming the house thoroughly every day and it looks beautiful — it’s almost sort of therapeutic in a way — and I’m relishing this downtime.

Shweta Mohan, playback singer

Shweta Mohan

Shweta Mohan   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

As singers, we travel a lot, and we use that time for listening to various forms of music. But in those times, we don’t get the space to practise. I’m using this time to practise, practise and practise. When I have recordings, practise becomes difficult because my voice is under a lot of strain... but now, thanks to the free time, I can brush up my vocal skills. I have started revising some old varnams and keerthanams that I learnt when I was younger. I’m learning all these in the hope that someday soon, I will get to a stage where I can perform a full-fledged classical performance.

PS Mithran, director

Director PS Mithran

Director PS Mithran   | Photo Credit: K_V_Srinivasan

I don’t think I will ever make a documentary but I’m using this time to equip myself with a lot of research material from documentaries. I have a long watchlist of documentaries that have the potential to be turned into a dramatic story... so am ticking them all away now. In the pre-OTT days, accessibility to good quality documentaries was a challenge, but now, it’s just a click away. I feel that these documentaries are like reading books; you get more information in lesser time. I’m currently watching ‘Don’t F**K with the Cats’, a docu on someone killing a cat and how a group of people track him down. I have a huge watchlist from various subjects, mainly crime thrillers and historical subjects.

Nivetha Pethuraj, actress

Nivetha Pethuraj

Nivetha Pethuraj   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

I’ve started painting again; it’s something I used to enjoy doing earlier and now I have the time to indulge in it. I’ve already posted a couple of my recent works on Instagram. Another interest of mine is yoga: in fact, I’ve always wanted to be a yoga teacher! So every evening, I’m doing a live on Instagram where I demonstrate basic poses — sun salutations — that even beginners can pick up. I’m making this a daily affair, and asking people to practise along with me. On the work front, there are two Telugu films currently stalled due to the lockdown, so here’s hoping things get sorted soon.

Ron Ethan Yohan, music composer

Ron Ethan Yohaan

Ron Ethan Yohaan   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

I am utilising this period primarily to play. I had bought some toys sometime back. I hadn’t had the time to play because of the pending assignments. Now that I have the luxury of time, I’m learning my new gear with the manual. In addition to this, I’m also learning other stuff.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2021 2:46:55 PM |

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