Cinema

American connection

Pooja Kumar with Kamal Haasan in Uttama Villain.

Pooja Kumar with Kamal Haasan in Uttama Villain.  

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Going underwater in Vishwaroopam 2 is likely to get Pooja Kumar a host of fans. The girl from Hollywood tells Sudhir Srinivasan why you don’t say no to Kamal

Pooja Kumar admits she hit the jackpot with Vishwaroopam, a film that saw her return to Tamil films after 13 long years. “When Kamal approaches you, you don’t say no,” she says, concisely explaining why she chose Vishwaroopam for a comeback. Looking back, she confesses that debuting with Kadhal Rojave in 2000 was ‘quite dumb’. “I was an outsider, a person who had been raised in the U.S., and it was all new for me.” She then went on to act in a few Hollywood films including Flavors, Night of Henna, and more recently Man on a Ledge (2012). Then came Vishwaroopam in 2013 that made her a famous face. Trained in Kuchipudi, Bharatanatyam and Kathak, she had no dances in Vishwaroopam but more than makes up for it with three in Uttama Villain. And her excitement is quite obvious — after all, Hollywood could hardly tap her dancing skills! Interestingly, she studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, a fact she believes helped her land roles in both the Kamal starrers. “Thanks to my training and experience there, I’m able to bring an academic perspective to my characters. I am encouraged to research my characters, break them down… it’s my job as actor.”

And it’s her scuba diving certification that helped her do the underwater action scenes in Vishwaroopam II. No stunt doubles for her. “I may just be the first ever heroine to do it in India,” she exults.

Pooja travels between the U.S. and India and admits it is difficult, but she can’t refuse offers from either Hollywood or Kollywood. She is taking Tamil classes for an hour each week, and surprises me with “ Epdi irukkinga? Naan nalla irukken!” in quite a natural Tamil accent with no rolling of the r’s. “I don’t use prompters when shooting. I’d rather spend time reading the lines in English and getting comfortable with them. This way, my performance stays uncompromised.”

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 4:03:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/american-connection/article6578237.ece

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