W hen Malar smiled, we swooned. When Anjali wept, we wanted to weep with her. Malar and Anjali are two versions of herself, says Sai Pallavi. “I was just being myself.”
The actor, who has been a sensation in Kerala since the release of Alphonse Putharen’s Premam in 2015, admits she is still amused by all the attention. “I love it that people loved my acting, but I don’t really know what I did,” she says.
After being the muse in Premam , she works her charm in Sameer Thahir’s Kali as the calm and composed Anjali, a perfect antidote to her husband Siddharth’s (Dulquer Salmaan) mercurial temperament.
Speaking over phone from Georgia, where she is pursuing her final year in medicine, she says cinema was purely accidental, but while the “process” is on, she is thoroughly enjoying it.
Excerpts from an interview
ThatdappankuthuinPremamwas totally cool ….
(Laughs). When I was doing it, I didn’t think so. It’s not like I am the best dancer. In fact, it was not even a style I am comfortable with. It was Alphonse’s magic. He just turned the whole thing on its head. But I love dancing and I dance for my own happiness. Unfortunately, I am not trained, but I consider my mom my guru. I had always wanted to do something that involved dancing.
[ Sai Pallavi was one of the most popular contestants in Vijay TV’s dance reality show , ‘ Ungalil Yaar Adutha Prabhu Deva’ ]
You don’t have a background in films, yet you seem to possess a natural flair for acting. Where do you get that from?
I don’t know. I don’t know how to act. I just behaved the way I would if I were Malar or Anjali in real life. They are the kind of women I see in day-to-day life, who I could easily relate to. In Malar, there was this simple, compassionate teacher. And in Anjali there is this supportive wife. Both were very relatable characters for me. If I had been married to a guy who had a temper problem that is exactly how I’d have reacted. I’ve turned down a few roles because I couldn’t see myself in them.
How wasPremamdifferent fromKalifor you as an actor?
Premam didn’t feel like work at all (I was having fun), Kali was different. When you work with someone like Dulquer Salmaan, you tend to get a bit intimidated. The shoot had to be wrapped up in 35 days as I had to go back to Georgia and the whole team was working around my schedule. There were days when the shooting would start at 9 a.m. and go on till 3 a.m. I would get really tense, but the entire team supported me, especially Dulquer, who made things easier for me. Some of the scenes were taxing. I never knew I could cry on screen with people watching me. I am humbled by the experience. That way, each movie is a personal experience.
You dubbed in Malayalam forKali. How difficult/easy was it?
I can understand Malayalam, but speaking is entirely different. I cannot speak it at all and I had to do several retakes as some of the dialogues had to be delivered fast. And it was tough! I was worried if I was delaying the others.
Have you signed any other films?
I have my eyes on a few projects, but I am taking it slow. I have to finish my studies first.
You have maintained the ‘no-make-up’ look inKali. Was that your decision?
Sameer did ask me if I wanted make-up. I tried it on, but felt I looked better without it and he agreed. I guess I will have to thank Alphonse for that. He made me confident about my flaws. Just like any other girl, I used to hate pimples. I have been careful about my diet and what not... but my episodic pimples would just decide to have a party on my face at the most inopportune time!
When Alphonse said he wanted the natural look for Premam , I was not sure at all. But it helped me become a more confident person. And I guess that has helped a lot of young girls improve their self esteem. It is important, especially in these times when there is so much social pressure among young girls to look perfect.
I have never used make up in my life. I’m not fond of it at all. I love myself the way I am and I try my best not to use it – the only things I use are sun screen and eyeliner. But for a recent magazine photo-shoot, I had to use it. In the case of films, if the director wants me to wear make-up, I would not oppose. But ultimately, it is not important. Beauty is about who you are and what you do.
What are your other interests?
I love travelling... I travel with my mom, I dance, I watch films and soaps on TV. I like being by myself.
Do you see a future for yourself in cinema?
It was not planned at all and I know movies are a place where new talents come in every day. It is only going to last for a while and all one can do is enjoy the process. I’ll take it as it comes. Primarily, I will be a doctor.