Was that your dream come true making your acting debut with director Gautham Menon’s Neethane Ponvasantham and Yeto Vellipoyindhi Manasu?
A debutant could not have asked for a bigger break! In my case it was a double whammy as I not only got a bilingual Gautham Menon film but an Isaignani Ilaiyaraja musical as well. This was backed by a lovely cast: Jiiva, Samantha, Santhanam, Nani and Krishnudu. It was truly a dream come true!!
Being the daughter of a celebrity, were you interested in acting during childhood or did your dad suggest an acting career?
My dad Mohan Raman has always allowed me to pursue my interests and passion. He knew I was extremely passionate about theatre and acting. He was so delighted and surprised when I got the call from Gautham sir’s office. None of us expected it. He promptly gave a go ahead for the audition of Neethane en Ponvasantham (NEP) and the rest is history.
But why did you choose theatre first? You could have directly approached directors for a career in cinema, right?
I never knew I would get into cinema in the first place. I never have gone looking for roles and I never will. I have been doing theatre for the past eight years and acting has always been a part of me. Stage is my first love. Theatre is what landed me the role in NEP. Otherwise I doubt I would have got the film.
Does coming from a theatre background help you with delivering a much better performance?
Absolutely! In theatre there is no “cut”. The actor must have the presence of mind to be able to improvise on the spot. My experience in theatre has improved my improvisation skills and removed any inhibitions I had. And that definitely makes my performance more natural.
You may have been asked this question already, but how was it being Jesse on screen?
Ha ha. It was great. That scene was actually added during the shoot. Gautham sir saw the chemistry Santhanam and I shared and inserted the scene. It was so much fun shooting it and the audience reacted very positively. That scene has definitely made the audience remember me.
Santhanam gave you enough screen space which is a kind gesture. Tell us more about your interactions with him
He is a lovely person to work with. I always enjoy shooting with him and we clicked from the very first time we met. I can talk about anything to him and he is so humble. Not once did he look at me as a debutant. He treated me like a professional actor and has no airs. He would come up to me and ask for suggestions and which dialogue delivery or punch works best.
My role model is Aachi Manorama. She is a classic example of an actor who not only did rib tickling comedy in films like Michael Madhana Kamaraj but also serious roles in films like Chinna Thambi.
Did you look forward to pairing opposite Santhanam again in TVSK?
Sundar C sir had actually given me only the role of Hansika’s friend. But after seeing my performance in NEP, he decided to somehow link me with Santhanam and gave the story a twist. Till the end, even the audience did not know I was his pair! It was a lot of fun and always a treat working with him. I really enjoyed shooting TVSK. Siddharth, Santhanam, Ganesh and Hansika were so nice and helpful. Sundar sir shoots at lightning speed and is great fun to work with.
Now, you are in a NTR project and the director had delivered a blockbuster last year. Are you excited or tense?
I’m extremely anxious and excited about Ramayya Vasthavayya (RV)! It will be my first straight Telugu film. YVM was a bilingual and my character was accepted well. RV’s story is very cute and I’m sure the audience will enjoy it. It’s my second time with Samantha and NTR is so sweet. Harish sir has had a lot of confidence in me to pull off this character. I am confident of the project and hopefully it should create a space for me in Tollywood.
Whom do you consider your role models in this industry?
My role model is Aachi Manorama. She is a classic example of an actor who not only did rib tickling comedy in films like Michael Madhana Kamaraj but also serious roles in films like Chinna Thambi. I hope to achieve at least 10% of what she delivered. My second inspiration is of course my father. He is my guiding light.
Your future plans and projects…
I am doing Ajith sir’s film directed by Siva of Siruthai fame. My character is very different in this film. I am also doing Malini 22 Palayamkotai directed by veteran actress Sripriya. A few other Tamil films are still in talks. In Telugu, apart from Ramayya Vasthavayya, I am also doing Weekend Love directed by Nagu Garava starring Adith Arun.
PHOTOGRAPHY SHAILESH K NADAR
POST-PRODUCTION BABU & MOHAN
SPECIAL THANKS KARTHICK PSK (FOTON STUDIO)