With STARS in her eyes

Aparna Balamurali Photo courtesy: Ajmal Latheef  

Aparna Balamurali hasn’t yet come to terms with her celebrity status. She gushes about meeting Mohanlal, Vikram, Mammootty and meeting the who’s who of Malayalam cinema. She confesses that she becomes shy and embarrassed when fans come and greet her.

It has been a dream-like journey for Aparna, who is three films old, the latest being Oru Muthassi Gadha (OMG) that is getting good reviews.

The 21-year-old is super excited talking about her tryst with tinsel town. Her debut in Oru Second Class Yathra was low key, but she nailed it as the spirited, vivacious Jimsy opposite Fahadh Faasil in Maheshinte Prathikaram.

“Jimsy made me more responsible. I wasn’t very serious about movies till then. I had not decided about making a career as an actress. But Jimsy gave me so much of appreciation that it changed my life altogether,” says Aparna, a native of Thrissur.

When OMG was offered to her, Aparna says she had no reason to say no. “First it was a Jude Anthany movie. I loved his Ohm Shanthi Oshaana. It was fun shooting for the movie. Although he is know for being short-tempered, I was lucky that he never got angry with me. That is something I proudly tell everyone! The subject also appealed to me. Initially I had the role of only the grand daughter, Alice, of the lead character Leelamma (Rajini Chandy). Later I was offered to play Leelamma’s younger version as well,” she says.

The youngster adds that the movie has been a learning experience for her. “It has a social message for us youngsters. The situation that the grandmother is in can happen to any of us when we get old. That is perhaps why the movie has been loved by people of all ages,” she says.

Aparna, a trained classical singer, has crooned a duet in the movie with Vineeth Sreenivasan, incidentally picturised on the duo. “The song has me in a vintage look. I thoroughly enjoyed the making process of the song,” Aparna says. Aparna had earlier sung in Maheshinte Prathikaram and Pa. Va.

Music has been all around her during her growing up years. Her father, K. P. Balamurali, is a composer and has many albums to his credit, while her mother, Sobha Balamurali, a lawyer, has sung for a couple of movies. Also, K. P Udayabhanu is her father’s uncle. “Music is very much part of my life. I am now learning from Karthika Vaidyanathan,” she says. But if asked to choose between music and movies, it would be difficult. “It is through films that I became a singer, so I guess both are important for me.”

She is a trained dancer as well and has learnt dance for over a decade before she took a break to concentrate on studies. She is a third year student in architecture at Global Institute of Architecture at Palakkad. Incidentally it was through one of her teachers in college, Unnimaya (wife of scriptwriter Syam Pushkaran) that she got a chance to audition for Maheshinte Prathikaram.

“I opted for architecture because it calls for creativity. And it is when you learn the subject that you get to experiment a lot and try new things. That’s why I chose to learn the subject. However I have taken a break for a few months to complete some projects,” says Aparna.

Having done roles of substance, the youngster says that she can’t thank her stars enough.

“Till now I have done good roles, ones that are close to real life and bold as well. I have been really lucky on that front. Opportunities came my way before I knew it. I was not very nervous about facing the camera. Rather, I was not conscious about it. May be because I didn’t think a lot about what I was doing,” she says.

Aparna is currently doing two projects in Malayalam, Sarvopari Palakkaran with Anoop Menon and Thrissivaperoor Kliptham with Asif Ali.

Meanwhile she will also be seen as a lead in two Tamil movies, 8 Thottakkal and an yet-untitled movie.

Short takes

* Aparna started out as a child artiste, in the movie Yathra Thudarunnu and a short film, Innalaye Thedi.

* She had her fan moment when she met her favourite actor Vikram and clicked a photo. Now she is waiting to meet her favourite actress, Nayantara, whom she absolutely adores for “her sheer screen presence and fashion sense.”

* Shreya Ghosal is her favourite singer “for her voice and being so versatile in all languages.”