Soaking in the sun

New role Amanda Ryan is a Reiki master and she also practises yoga   | Photo Credit: Photo: by author

Amanda Ryan, a British actor who is waiting to read Arundhati Roy’s next book, is holidaying in Kerala. This vegetarian says she’s fallen in love with Kerala food and even shares a recipe!

Pert and pretty, Amanda Ryan, very British and an actor, relishes the ginger tea she sips at Thani Illam, a homestay near Perumbavoor. On holiday, she is just enjoying the quiet and the rustic setting she chose on the internet.

“I’ve been to Goa, but that is not my idea of a holiday. I want something different, like this”, Amanda says, sitting in front of the old house, enjoying the ambience of the village, “with soft light falling all over between the trees”, a world far removed from the one she knows, in London.

Her movie, “Sarkle” shone at the Edinburgh International Film Festival recently where it had a sell-out screening. It is now showing at cinemas in the United Kingdom.

“Sparkle” was made by the writer-director team of Neil Hunter and Tom Hunsinger, whose last movie, “Lawless Heart”, was acclaimed as the best British film of 2001.

“For ‘Sparkle’, we all contributed to the script during the discussion. We were allowed to improvise too, something that is not done over there. It was a novel experience as we all thought it was our very own film.”

Amanda plays the plum role of Kate in the film. The role is very romantic and funny as well and the guy keeps the mother and daughter (Kate) guessing where his heart lies! Amanda is a presence on the small screen as well. On Channel 4, in the 16-part serial, “Shameless”, which started on New Year, she plays a cop. “It is a once-a-week serial and is shown at 10 pm. Adults only, you know, because it is naughty, there are swear words and...,” the English girl clad in a Kerala sari explains, with a giggle.

In the early days of her career, Amanda played a small role in Shekhar Kapur’s “Elizabeth” and “Brittanic”. “In India, I guess the director calls the shots, but in the UK, it is the producer. I saw a shooting in Bollywood and I don’t think I will fit here, doing the dances etc.”

Amanda did her acting course at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, before entering cinema. It’s a very adventurous field and I like it.” In India for the second time, but the first time in Kerala, this pure vegetarian has fallen in love with the food here.

“I love Kerala food and I also love the buses in Kerala. The women are very friendly. There is camaraderie among them that I have not seen elsewhere.”

Amanda says a lot of people in the West have turned vegetarian. “It’s not true that there are only baked beans and potatoes for vegetarians. In cities there are quite a few options. In my house in London I have my own vegetable garden , because I like organic food. Of course I have to buy vegetables too. I eat a lot of crunchy salads and also cook curries. I love coconuts and brown rice, which I eat there.”

She grows cabbage, pumpkin, zucchini and carrots in her garden. Eating pumpkin seeds is also good, says Amanda. Breakfast is always fruit.

She reels off a recipe. “Chop sweet potato, carrots, beet root, zucchini, tomatoes. Cook with cumin seeds, sesame seeds and pepper. This goes well with brown rice, she says. Amanda adores the idlis and dosas in Kerala. As she is alone, her two-week stay all over the State will be at homestays, where she can stay with people who will look after her.

Talking of how Aymenem found a place in her itinerary, Amanda says: “I loved Arundhati Roy’s ‘God of Small things’. I am waiting for her to write her next book.” Yoga is high on her daily routine and Amanda is a reiki master too.

And her New Year wish? “To be joyously swept off my feet by Mr Right, whom I have yet to meet.” Mr. Right will not be an actor, she has decided, because “most male actors are like big children with huge egos, I think,” and the small made, beautiful actor flashes her charming smile.