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Praveena conquers Tamil TV

Last updated on: January 5, 2011 12:57 IST

Praveena conquers Tamil TV

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Pavithra Srinivasan in Chennai

Popular television and film artist Praveena won the Kerala State Award and Film Critics Award twice. Recently, she was seen in Adoor Gopalakrishnan's Naalu Penningal.

Though she is well known for her roles in Malayalam serials, the past year or so has seen her making her way into Tamil households as well, thanks to the serial Maharani.

In an exclusive chat with rediff.com, Praveena describes her journey in her prettily accented Malayalam, fielding queries all the while on her other projects.

Tell us something about your film and TV background.

I came into the industry when I was 17 years old. And it's been 10 years here. 10 very fruitful years. So far, I have done around 20 to 25 Malayalam films. All of them have been serious, what you would call classic movies, and I have managed to be recognised through awards and appreciation for them.

Kaliyoonjal was the fist movie I acted in, opposite Dileep. Agnisakshi, Lakshmiyum Vasanthiyum Pinna Gnanum, English Medium are some of the other films I did.

I'm also involved in dubbing. I have lent my voice to actresses like Kavya Madhavan (Vaasthavam), Manisha Koirala (Electra), Sada (Novel), Jyothirmayi (Ente Veedu Appuvinteyum) and others. I have performed classical bhajans and songs in more than 50 countries. I have even worked as programme producer in Radio Gulf.

Right now, though, I am involved in television. T Padmanabhan's novel Gowri was adapted to TV, and I made my debut in it. After that, I did Doordharshan's music-based Sapthswarangal. So far, I've done four-five mega-serials like Swapnam, Meghom, Swaram and Mounam.


Image: A scene from Maharani

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'Maharani is a remake of the Malayalam serial Manasaputhri'

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What is Maharani about?

Maharani is a remake of the Malayalam serial Manasaputhri. I'm doing the same role here that I did in that serial.

I play Sandhya, who is the mother of Maha, a girl who, by circumstances, is forced to be a maid in her own home. Then there is Rani, the adopted daughter of Sandhya, who suddenly finds out that she may not belong in the household at all. The problems between the two girls are the backbone of the serial.

How did you find it working in Tamil?

Very difficult [laughs]. I couldn't understand the language. Not one word! Thankfully, I could manage with the dialogues. I did not find it very difficult with the crew so many of them were part of the Malayalam serial's cast. The director is a family friend from Trivandrum; the camera-man and others are people I have known for a long time. So I did not feel out of place. Things are a bit better now.


Image: A scene from Maharani

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'Audience reaction to Maharani is positive'

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What is the audience reaction to Maharani, and your work in it?

Very positive. People love the serial, and the way the characters are etched. I have mails and letters pouring in from all over. People from countries like Canada, Australia, who watch the serial ask about the 'girl playing Sandhya'. When they realise it's me, Praveena, they recognise me from my previous work. They post messages on my Facebook and Twitter accounts, talking about their appreciation for my work. Those are the moments when I understand how fortunate I am.

People do have one question for me, though: why have I opted to play a 'mother' character when I'm not that old? Many of my fans keep asking me that question. They are very sad. And I say that it was because of the character; it is an important role and I like playing it. And they have accepted it.


Image: A scene from Maharani

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'I have avoided getting typecast, and I will avoid it, in the future'

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What other projects are you working on?

At the moment, I am doing another mega-serial in Malayalam, called Devi Mahatmyam. It is based on stories about the Goddess Devi, and I play the role of the Amman. I find it very satisfying. 

I have been offered other roles in Tamil, but they're all similar to the role I play in Maharani, which is why I have not taken up any other Tamil serial. So far, I have avoided getting typecast, and I will avoid it, in the future. But I am always open to meaningful, interesting roles. When I am offered one, I will definitely take it.

Catch Maharani from Monday to Friday at 7 pm, on Vijay TV.


Image: A scene from Maharani

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