Cinema

She serves a slice of horror

Parvathy Omanakuttan

Parvathy Omanakuttan  

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Parvathy Omanakuttan, who stars in the Hindi remake of Tamil hit Pizza, scares sudhish kamath with spooky behind-the-scenes tales

It wasn’t the easiest of journeys, she admits. Parvathy Omanakuttan may have won the country’s top beauty pageant and also ended up as first runner-up at Miss World 2008, but it has taken her six long years to get a break in Bollywood. “I was busy with my fashion career but in terms of films, it wasn’t an easy journey at all because beauty pageants are no longer a gateway to films. I was offered roles that were not really great. I was waiting for a good launch. In films, it doesn’t go the way you want it to,” says Parvathy, the heroine of Pizza, the official Hindi remake of Karthik Subbaraj’s cult Tamil horror thriller.

Of course, she has seen the original. “I saw it only when I was called for the audition. When Bejoy Nambiar said he would like me to audition for the film, I said I would love to see the film first to understand the character better. When I saw the film, I was like: Wow… fabulous, it would be great in Hindi.”

“My character is more involved in this film than the original. We have not changed a lot, but quite a few scenes were modified to add the thrill and suspense element,” she says. When we speak, she hasn’t yet seen the Hindi version directed by Akshay Akkineni. “I am going to see it this evening,” she says.

The young actor who has played in Billa 2 and the Malayalam film KQ is not exactly a fan of horror. “It’s not like I hunt down horror films to watch. I like to watch good films. There have been very good films in Hollywood in the last two years… I liked The Conjuring and Paranormal Activity. The one horror movie that impacted me a lot when I was growing up was Ram Gopal Varma’s Raat. But then Pizza is not a horror film as such. There’s more to it.”

She might not be a horror film buff, but Parvathy does believe in ghosts. “Someone told me there is a spirit around me that guides me and protects me. I pray to God and believe that God is with me. But to know that there’s someone around you is spooky.

And a couple of people have told me that. I believe in spirits. I believe there is a world outside of ours where spirits live. If you see Hindu tradition, there are a lot of rites and rituals that are performed when people die. There is a reason behind all that. It’s probably scientific. I do believe in the supernatural. I was born on Friday the 13th,” she laughs.

Thankfully, though, she’s not easily scared. “I don’t mind being alone at home. I don’t believe in the kind of ghosts we see in the movies. I don’t believe that they walk around in white saris. I don’t think spirits have a form. That’s why I was spooked when I saw Paranormal Activity. Every time the curtains fly, you wonder if it was the wind or was it haunted? Okay, what was that sound coming from the bathroom?”

Everybody has fears, she says. “But people have different ways of coping. When I watch horror films in the theatres, I saw people laughing every time they were scared. It’s a defence mechanism. Everyone has that fear within them, but have different ways of dealing with it.”

Pizza is not a run-of-the-mill horror film, says Parvathy. “Indian cinema has not experimented too much with horror. After Ramsey Brothers, they have looked more funny than scary! There was a set of horror directors who came up with the same clichéd things… Or they would add more sex and sleaze.

Or song and dance. For a horror film, you don’t need things that take you away from the story. Pizza is an attempt to bring something different to the plate.”

Any spooks during the shoot? “Oh, yes. The first day of shoot, a light bulb fell where I was standing. It spooked all of us. The second day, the same thing happened with the director.”

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 8:25:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/she-serves-a-slice-of-horror/article6229084.ece

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