Swetha Menon: I am born sexy
After a couple of glamorous roles in Hindi cinema, Swetha Menon has returned to Malayalam movies, and has been doing some fabulous roles. The latest in the list is the new version of the Bharathan-Padmarajan classic Rathinirvedam, directed by T K Rajeev Kumar.
The former Miss India second runner-up (after Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai) had made her movie debut in the Malayalam film Anaswaram in 1991.
Meghna George caught up with the actress on the sets of Rathiirvedam, and quizzed her about her film, her glamourous image and more.
You are doing a role which was earlier done by Jayabharathi in Rathinirvedam. Is that an advantage?
Yes and no. The plus point is that we have a set pattern before us. The flip side is that there would be obvious comparisons. A legend like Bharathan has directed the original and naturally T K Rajeev Kumar will have to live up to certain expectations.
A wonderful actor like Jayabharathi has done the role, which puts me under test. The same applies for Sreejith, who is doing the role played by Krishnachandran in the earlier version.
Still, the script by Padmarajan has not been altered much and that means half the job is done. And then I think luck will decide the fate of the film.
Image: Swetha Menon in Rathinirvedam
'I realised the heroines of those days got stronger and more daring roles'
Have you seen the earlier Rathinirvedam?
No. I have decided not to deliberately, as the body language, dialogue delivery and mannerisms during that period were completely different. Frankly, I was not aware about the film until the offer came to me. As I learned more about it, I realised that the heroines of those days got stronger and more daring roles.
How prepared were you while joining the Rathinirvedam set, to play the protagonist, Rathi?
I had just completed Salt N Pepper, which was a comedy. We had discussed about this film earlier and decided to come here without any preconceived notion. We wanted to mould the character according to the environment here.
This movie is about adolescent love. It is the purest love and there is this thin line that separates adolescent love and lust.
Image: A scene from T D Dasan
'I want to do roles which are completely different from each other'
How do you feel when you are doing such a wide variety of roles, most of which belong to different shades?
I feel really lucky and of course, it's all God's grace. I was looking forward to such variety in the characters and as a result, I have been getting some really good roles like the characters in Paradesi and Paleri Manikyam. I want to do roles which are completely different from each other.
Anaswaram happened many years ago and after a while, you were doing glamorous roles in Hindi movies. Do you feel you were late in getting this kind of recognition in Malayalam?
Not at all. It was all planned. When I was doing glamourous roles, I was consciously doing it and today when I am doing these kinds of roles, I am still conscious about them.
Which are your roles in Malayalam that you consider really good?
Paradesi was really different and gave me an opportunity to present myself in a completely different avatar. Then films like Paleri manikyam and T D Dasan Std VI B are there. Actually I am enjoying all these movies (Smiles). It is difficult for me to pick some names.
Image: A scene from City of God
'I am not just an actor, I am a woman as well'
There have been reports that the recent controversy regarding Kayam, where your pictures from the poster was used to advertise a sex enhancer drug, was actually a publicity tool for marketing the film. What is your take on that?
If the filing of the case against it was a publicity stunt, I could have done it in Hindi. Then I would have received national attention, right? The case is very much valid. I want to fight it out and want to know the truth. I am not just an actor, I am a woman as well. , I have a family. I am answerable to my parents. If someone had to do it, they should have come and told me before. I have filed the case as a woman and as a citizen.
Do people take actors who play glamorous roles for granted, perhaps the way it happened in this incident?
See, maybe they should have felt that since I am doing glamorous roles, it would be okay with me. I have been asked if I could do a Kama Sutra ad, then why am I having a problem now? I had done the Kama Sutra ad consciously. I did an ad, got paid for it and I had done it as a model.
Image: Swetha Menon
'I think women are dying to be sexy'
Do you feel like going back to Hindi now?
No. People have this perception that it is easy doing glamorous roles. It is more difficult than what it seems. Glamour is certainly not just about some outfits or the lack of it. It is more about maintaining glamour. I have been lazy of late, but it doesn't mean I have given up on glamour completely.
Of course, I am still doing lots of glamorous roles. That glamour tinge is there in most of my roles. I think that will not leave me.
How tough it is to be sexy?I think women are dying to be sexy. I am born sexy (Laughs).
Image: Swetha Menon