'I don't do movies for the awards'
Popular actress Padmapriya, who was singled out for special mention by the National Film awards jury recently for performances in various roles, is not one to wallow in self-pity after having missed out on the top honour but has remained focused on movies which, she says, drives her.
"I am never disappointed in life it is the movies which keep me going not the awards. What you talked about Pokkisham (Tamil) being neglected by all Award ceremonies in Tamil Nadu. If I take all these things, the burdens of the world on my shoulders, I'll stop working," the actress whose next Bollywood movie is Rakta Charitra told PTI.
The jury made a special mention for the "range and skill of an actor to portray varied characters in films of different languages". Padmapriya had essayed different roles in Pazhassi Raja, Kutty Srank (both Malayalam) and Pokkisham (Tamil). Kutty Srank in fact got the award for the best feature film.
On the Kerala state film jury not adjudging her the best actress, (she won only supporting actress award), she said, "It does not make a figment of difference to a person like me. I don't do movies for the awards. The awards are made for the films. The films are not made for the awards."
'I've been receiving awards since I started acting'
Padmapriya, as she is popularly known, has won several awards from media and private organisations for her performances in Malayalam blockbuster Pazhassi Raja, Kutty Srank and Bhoomi Malayalam.
This includes a Filmfare Award for the best supporting actress in Pazhassi Raja.
Asked about her receiving awards one after the other these days, she retorted: "It is just not these days... since I started (acting)."
She had been to Kerala a few days ago for receiving the 'Bhima-Surya' best actress award for Pazhassi Raja and Bhoomi Malayalam.
Image: Padmapriya in Pazhassi Raja
'All my directors have tried to draw the best out of me at that point of time'
Right from her first Malayalam movie Kaazcha six years ago (in which she won the Asianet film award for the best new face of 2004), Padmapriya has played varied characters, especially in Malayalam films.
In Pazhassi Raja directed by Hariharan, she was the tribal Neeli who fights the British, sword et al.She familiarised herself with martial arts to play the demanding role and also learnt 'Kalaripayattu'.
She enacted the role of a love-lorn girl in the Cheran directed Pokkisham which won her rave reviews. In Kutty Srank, directed by Shanji N Karun, she was a woman drawn towards Buddhism. "It is too complex (a character)... I still have not figured out what it is so don't ask me."
"I am a director's actor. It is a director's medium, definitely. That doesn't mean I stop using my head. It is a very unified process. Really what we shoot is not what finally comes out," Padmapriya said.
"All my directors have tried to draw the best out of me at that point of time. Hariharan sir and Shaji are no exceptions. They come with a totally different body of experience. Also the context in which you are making the film becomes important. I guess the quality of the output also depends on the inputs that go into it. The characters itself are very mystical in their own way. I guess it is a combination of all of them put together," she said.
'Mammootty is just too big to be bothering about the awards'
Asked if she was disappointed about Mammootty, who starred in Pazhassi Raja and Kutty Srank, not getting the National best actor award, Padmapriya said she didn't know what he felt.
"You know what? He has got 25 years of experience and three National awards. I think he is just too big to be bothering about the awards. It is not as if I am trying to demean the awards but trying to make it sound as it is primary to our existence is stupid. Something that is worth gets appreciated, it definitely is worth it."
Pazhassi Raja has been selected for the Fukuoka Film Festival in Japan. Padmapriya has proved her mettle in other languages as well.
In Tamil, she impressed in films like, Satham Podathey, Thavamai Thavamirundhu, Mirugam and Pokkisham. She made her Bollywood debut last year with Striker opposite Siddharth.
Padmapriya, an MBA graduate, is now concentrating on her law exams. "Taking up new projects only after that."