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'It's exciting to work in different languages'

Last updated on: November 22, 2011 11:22 IST

'It's exciting to work in different languages'

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Radhika Rajamani in Hyderabad

Noted filmmaker Selvaraghavan's new Tamil film Mayakkam Enna is releasing this week. Telugu film star Richa makes her debut in Tamil cinema with this film.

In this interview with Radhika Rajamani, she talks about the experience of the film and what it's like switching between languages and regions.

How did your first foray into Tamil cinema go?

It has been wonderful to step into a new industry where people have so enthusiastically accepted me. At the same time, I am not leaving one industry for another. I plan to keep working in Telugu films while working in Tamil, and even Hindi.

Did you shoot Mayakkam Enna and Osthe back-to-back?      

Yes. The schedules were insane, but kept me in high spirits. At one point, I would be in the peaceful serenity of Mysore, the next, in a cosy little green neighbourhood in Kannur or a set-house in Chennai. I was continuously adjusting between the climates, but the time went by so fast that I hardly noticed.

Both my directors, Dharani Sir (Osthe) and Selva Sir (Mayakkam Enna) were extremely efficient in the way they worked, so I was able to complete shooting for two films in record-time.


Image: Richa

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'Selva Sir is a complete taskmaster'

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Was it exciting to sign a film with Selvaraghavan as he treads a slightly different path in cinema?

Selva Sir is a brilliant director -- unconventional yet sensible, a complete task-master, and won't settle for anything less than what he envisions.

I saw two of his earlier films, Kaadal Kondein and 7-G Rainbow Colony, and knew he was in a different league. So, of course, I was delighted when I got a call from Selva Sir's office to play the lead in his film with Dhanush.

It came out of the blue and I couldn't fathom how fast it happened as I found myself in Kannur, in Kerala, shooting some ridiculously intense scenes just a couple of days after meeting him in his office. It has indeed been an honour working with him.

Was the script of Mayakkam Enna the crucial factor in your signing the film?

Definitely. The script is the main driver for me when it comes to selecting films. When you have a story with an impact, it makes it fulfilling to be a part of it.

Shooting for a film means dedication for months, sometimes years. So you might as well be involved with something you believe in so you can work with full conviction.

After hearing the narration of Mayakkam Enna's script from Selva Sir, I found the story to be extremely touching, powerful and realistic, something that a lot of people from different backgrounds will be able to relate to.

Selva Sir does have a unique style and makes sure his stories as well as his characters are multi-dimensional. So I was sold right from the beginning!


Image: Dhanush and Richa in Mayakkam Enna

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'Dhanush was always reassuring and helpful'

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What kind of role do you play in Mayakkam Enna?

My character's name is Yamini, and she is a simple yet complex character. She's not your typical, commercially glamorous girl, but is strong-willed and has a really powerful personality.

She is seen in various different phases of life, which women of all ages will be able to connect with. She is an independent woman, but always sticks by and supports the one she loves.

The character demands as much in terms of performance as Dhanush's character, so it was indeed an extremely challenging role to play, but Selva Sir made sure the performance was uncompromised.

How was it acting with the National Award winner Dhanush in the film?

It has been a wonderful experience and complete honour to work with a talent like Dhanush. Despite being a National Award winner and having years of experience in acting, he is extremely simple and humble.

He never takes his work for granted and has a commendable work ethic and professionalism.

Any time I would get caught with a difficult scene, he was always reassuring and helpful. I think he acted exceptionally well in his role in this film...which, of course, isn't a surprise!


Image: Dhanush and Richa in Mayakkam Enna

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'Dhanush was always reassuring and helpful'

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Does Selvaraghavan challenge you as a director?

Selva Sir will not be satisfied till he gets only the best. And he certainly knows how to extract the best from his artistes. He has a way of tapping into your psyche and making you believe the character you are playing.

After getting familiar and comfortable with his timing sense -- with expressions and dialogue delivery -- it becomes smooth sailing.

He gave me the liberty to incorporate my own natural mannerisms for the character. He complimented me telling me that I caught on to his timing very quickly, which is something not many artistes he's worked with have achieved in the past. He is very encouraging and is crystal clear in his direction, which is very helpful.

Overall how was it acting in a Selvaraghavan film?

Wonderful, and completely exceeded my expectations. This film really brought the entire team together, as we've shared so many great experiences from the start.

We spent so much time together, from our first train ride from Chennai to Kannur, to wrapping up at AVM Studios that it really feels like I've known my co-actors for years.

Everyone did their part and gave their complete soul to their performances and I think we complemented each other very well on screen. I think Selva Sir is happy with the end result, even in terms of how close we all became as a team.


Image: A scene from Mayakkam Enna

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'I plan to keep working in Telugu films'

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What are your future projects in Tamil?

I am currently working on a Telugu project opposite Prabhas and a Hindi film opposite Neil Nitin Mukesh, so I have not yet confirmed my next Tamil project. I hope audiences will like my performance in Mayakkam Enna and my commercial side in Osthe so I keep getting versatile roles!

Would you want to juggle Tamil and Telugu films?

I would want to juggle as many languages as I can! It's exciting working in different languages and cultures; it will always be beneficial for your personal growth as well.

You learn so many things from working in different industries, connect with so many more people and call multiple places your 'home'!

I've got Tamil and Telugu connections as I lived in Coimbatore for the first three years of my life and my grandparents have lived in Hyderabad for 20 years!


Image: A scene from Mayakkam Enna

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