Niveditha: I am not comfortable kissing on screen
Niveditha (earlier Smitha) won the coveted state award for the best supporting actress from the Government of Karnataka for her role in Kavitha Lankesh's Avva a couple of years ago. The kissing scenes picturised on her and Duniya Vijay in the movie created quite a sensation then.
When the state award failed to fetch her good roles, she changed her name to Niveditha, advised by numerology and astrology experts.
She then acted in the Tamil films Kathai and Porkalam. She plays the title role in the Kannada film Parie that releases this Friday.
In this interview with Srikanth Srinivasa, Niveditha, talks about her career, the kissing scene that put her on the spotlight and Parie.
What is Parie all about?
Parie is based on the Kannada novel Bharadwaj. It is about village and city life set against the backdrop of the liquor mafia.
The film turns the spotlight on Lambanis, a tribal community of North Karnataka, their lifestyle and culture mixed with the lifestyle and culture of the Brahmins.
What is your role in the film?
I play the title role of Parie who is a Lambani girl. I fall in love with Bharadwaj, a Brahmin boy. That becomes the cause for anxiety and revolt in both families.
Every role that I have done is very special to me. No two roles were similar. It is my effort as well to try and be different from the earlier village girl roles that I have played.
'Every role that I have done is very special to me'
How did you prepare for the tribal girl's role?
After the script was ready, we went to the location and did some photo shoots and interacted with a few Lambanis. I went through some of the Lambani videos on Youtube.
The main learning happened when we shot with the tribals in their thanda (camp). The villagers are very easy to get along with because they don't have inhibitions. We played with them, had fun with them and got along with them while getting a peek into their lifestyle.
We took some cinematic liberties in terms of costume to make it look more colourful.
Why did you change your name to Niveditha? Has the change of name helped?
I am now Niveditha for all cinematic reasons. There were a lot of considerations, including some advice from elders who said my name didn't go well with me.
I love my name Smitha which means smile. I love to put smiles on people's faces as much as I love to be loved.
I have not seen any change in my life because of the change in my name. I should have thought of a shorter name because it is easier to call me by my real name.
'As of now, there are no concrete film offers on hand'
Why has it taken so long for you to get offers in Kannada especially after getting a state award?
Awards rarely get converted into film offers. People appreciated my performance and that gave me a head up that I am in the right direction.
Offers have neither dried up nor are they overflowing. I did a Tamil film after finishing the Kannada film Dina, which didn't release. I kept getting offers in Tamil that took some time off from Kannada films.
As of now, there are no concrete film offers on hand.
The kissing scene in Avva made a big splash. With hindsight, would you say it was a good decision to do those scenes?
I got a lot of recognition with Avva. I was in tears when the movie was released as I had not seen myself in that way on screen. I did not turn up at the press meet that followed the film's release.
When I saw the movie with the audience, I was surprised over the reaction that I got for the scenes. I got into a shell as I expected bad reviews from the media. I thought that my career was over as an actor.
So I was surprised to read the reviews that praised my performance. They ignored the kissing scene in the movie in their reviews.With hindsight, it is great that I did that role.
The audience should not have any expectations from Parie'
So are you now game to doing kissing scenes?
No. I am not very comfortable doing kissing scenes. I am committed to someone in my life who wouldn't like me to do such scenes. Kissing is a very intimate emotion.
If it is a very inevitable situation, I may do it. I did get a few offers that required me to do kissing scenes. I refused them. For Avva, it was the team that mattered to me the most.
What can the audiences expect from Parie?
The audiences should not go to the theatre with any expectations.