rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Movies » 'I never expected the National Award'

'I never expected the National Award'

Last updated on: June 21, 2011 11:19 IST

'I never expected the National Award'

     Next

Next
A Ganesh Nadar in Chennai

Saranya Ponvannan, who won this year's National Award for best actress for her scintillating performance in the Tamil film Thenmerku Paruvakatru made her debut way back in 1987 as Kamal Haasan's heroine in Mani Ratnam's Nayagan.

After playing the lead role in a few films, she disappeared only to come back to act in character roles. Some of her memorable performances include Ameer's Ram and Cheran's Thavamai Thavamirunthu.

She is the daughter of the Malayalam film director A B Raj and is married to Tamil actor Ponvannan.

In an exclusive interview, she spoke to A Ganesh Nadar about her long career and winning the National Award.

Your first film was with Mani Rathnam in Nayagan. What was it like working with him?

It was great working with him. His Mouna Ragam had just released and people were crazy about him. I was in college then but he treated me like a school girl and I looked upon him as a teacher. He used to explain what I had to do and then let me do it the way I saw it. He gave me a lot of space. I would say it was easy working with him.

How was it working with Kamal Haasan, that too, in your first film?

He was great. He was a superstar. He was the heart-throb  of all the college girls. I learnt dedication from him. He used to give me ideas about acting. I was proud of the fact that I was acting with a great star.


Image: Saranya Ponvannan

     Next

'I am the luckiest artiste who really justified her performance'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

After your marriage in 1995, you did not act for many years and then you appeared in the television comedy Veetuku Veedu Looty. Did you enjoy working on the small screen?

When I heard the story, I thought I would not fit into comedy. K Balachandran's daughter-in-law Gita Kailasam was the producer of the serial. I had great difficulty adjusting to the character as I had never done comedy before. She insisted that I do it and finally it came out very well.

Tell us about your role in Thenmerku Paruvakatru which fetched you a National Award.

It is the story of a rustic village woman. She is a hard working woman who brings up her son alone. She is very protective of her son. Women are strong willed in that village. It was a difficult role. I had to look rude which I am not.

Usually heroines get the award for best actress. How come a 'character' role got the award?

I am the luckiest artiste who really justified her performance. Even the jury felt that they don't have to give it to a heroine.


Image: Saranya Ponvannan

Prev     Next

'I like to watch myself in comedy roles'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Do you enjoy playing motherly roles?

In the beginning I accepted mother roles as I was already married. I was not looking at the future. I used to do the roles to the best of my ability. Sincerity and dedication paid dividends. I got many awards. 'Do not make too many plans' is my motto.

Will we see you in similar roles in the future?

I don't think of what I will do in the future. I will continue to act and do it well.

We have seen you in serious roles and we have seen you in comedy roles, which do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy working in serious roles but I like to watch myself in comedy roles. It is easier to make people cry than to make them laugh. I like Meera Jasmine. I have cried watching her movies. I have also cried when I see Urvashi crying on screen. I am happy that I can do both.


Image: Saranya Ponvannan

Prev     Next

'If I get a good role, I will do a Hindi film'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

When will we see you in a negative role?

I am open to it. If I get such a role, I will do it. I love to do different roles that people enjoy watching.

You have acted in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam films. What are the differences in the way films are made in these four languages?

I am happy and comfortable in Tamil as I know the language. In the Telugu film industry, people worship film stars. In the Malayalam film industry they have a tendency to underestimate you. Kannada is a simple and quiet industry.

Have you thought about acting in Hindi films?

No. I have not thought about that. But if I get a good role, I will do it.


Image: Saranya Ponvannan

Prev     Next

'I will not direct films or do anything else in cinema'

Prev     More
Prev

More

You have been getting awards regularly and now the National film award too. What more do you want to achieve?

I never expected to win the National Award. I live in the present. I look forward only for my children. I want to make my husband happy. It was he who told me to work after marriage. He encouraged me at every step.

You have been working since 1987; what are the changes you have seen in the film industry?

The greatest change is the 'monitor' on the sets which is sometimes irritating. The director used to speak to you personally, but now they talk to you on the mike. These days there are also caravans on the sets. It's more natural cinema these days. Actors wear little make up which was not there in the earlier days of the Tamil industry.

You have acted in around 100 movies. Which role did you enjoy the most?

All my mother roles were different and exciting. I think people liked me the most in Kalaivani. I also enjoyed doing it.

What are your future plans?

I will only be an actress. I will not direct films or do anything else in cinema. Even my children want me to act so I will continue to relax and act. I will enjoy myself but continue acting seriously.

Image: Saranya Ponvannan

Prev     More