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Adding colour to Malar

Pallavi, 23, has also signed up for her next Malayalam film, with Dulquer Salmaan as the lead.

Pallavi, 23, has also signed up for her next Malayalam film, with Dulquer Salmaan as the lead.  

When in school, Sai Pallavi would hesitate to step out of the house, because all attention would be drawn to her face… specifically, her pimples. Today, after the super success of Alphonse Putharen’s Premam, she’s being seen as the actress who was courageous enough to appear on screen, pimples and all.

Pallavi, 23, has also signed up for her next Malayalam film, with Dulquer Salmaan as the lead. It is being directed by Sameer Thahir, who made the road movie, Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi and handled the cinematography of Bangalore Days. “I loved the script, and somehow convinced my Dean to give me a month’s leave in November. I’ll finish shooting and rush right back to Georgia,” she says.

But movies are the last thing on the actor’s mind now. She’s studying hard for her sixth-year medical exams in Georgia, far away from the Premam madness. But, echoes of the adulation and whistles still reach her.

Pallavi shot for Premam almost two years ago. She still can’t believe that people actually liked her in the film. “On the release day, I called up Nivin and Alphonse and wept because I was convinced my role as ‘Malar Teacher’ would be panned. I was proven wrong. Alphonse wanted me to appear natural on screen, because he said it would give people confidence. Ironically, it gave me confidence. I don’t hide anymore,” she laughs.

Many in Tamil Nadu would remember Pallavi as the girl who shone on the dance show, Ungalil Yaar Adutha Prabhu Deva. She also took part in the Telugu show Dhee. “I was keen on dancing, and acting offers were coming in. I was ready to enter the industry, but my parents felt I had to get educated. I protested, but now, I see their logic. I was immature and would not have had the courage to say ‘no’. Now, I know that however big a film, you have every right over how you want to be seen on screen. And, it helps I have a career, because I would not have to compromise for a role.”

Her local friends in Georgia have seen the Premam videos on YouTube and have been appreciative. Sai Pallavi is waiting to show them the movie once the DVDs are out. Till then, the focus is on her studies. “I’ll take up more work post June after my exams,” she says.

Even today, nearly 150 days after its release, the audience erupts into whistles when Pallavi does a mean ‘dabbankuthu’ on screen. “It’s one style I’m just not comfortable in, but the director was confident I could pull it off. It also helped establish my character as a dancer. I was apprehensive about people’s reactions to a demure teacher dancing like this on screen. But it worked.”Pallavi’s husky voice has charmed all too. She controls her laughter, saying,

“All credit to the director. When I was a kid, and would answer the home phone, the newspaper anna or milk anna would say: ‘Thambi, amma kitte phone kodu’. I grew up believing I sounded like a boy.”

Though she has made a mark in cinema, Pallavi is firm she will practise medicine. “I was drawn to medicine because I’m fond of serving. In college, we go to the orphanage every week, see patients first-hand… I’m happy I’ll be in a position where I can use my artistic abilities to help further my service.”

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2020 4:54:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/actress-sai-pallavi-on-premam/article7805886.ece

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