Channelling Saraswathi, Lakshmi and Durga!
Abhirami Mega Mall, in Purasawalkam High Road (Chennai) is brimming with activity. A huge banner proclaims the success of Abhirami Ramanathan's mega Tamil serial Abhirami, with lead actress Gowthami proudly posing in four different looks.
She's a traditional housewife, a daring Collector, a rough-and-tough woman and a strangely quirky girl wearing temple jewellery. The cast, crew and producers mill around, while on-lookers gawk at the celebrities.
The serial has so far focused on child marriages and its effect on the society, as exhibited by its central character Abhirami.
After 57 successful episodes, the serial is now changing direction -- Gowthami will play additional characters as well. This is, reportedly, the first time a female artiste is playing three roles simultaneously.
Amidst all the bustle and avid fans, Gowthami, dressed exquisitely in a black-and-gold outfit, made some time for an exclusive chat with rediff.com. Excerpts:
Catch Abhirami at 9.30 pm, Mondays to Thursdays, on Kalaignar TV.
'I am incredibly lucky to play a character like this'
What exactly is Abhirami all about?
My character, Abhirami, enters her household as a bride, the result of a child marriage. She might be married into a traditional family and bound by its rules and restrictions, but she has a definite presence. She won't stand for injustice, and will raise a voice against unfairness whenever she can.
She's fearless that way, and she shows a new path for other women as well. She says and does what she feels is right. As a result, she faces a lot of problems, and is caught in complicated situations that involve difficult choices. I am incredibly lucky to play a character like this.
You're about to play a couple of more roles in the serial soon, aren't you?
True. In addition to Abhirami, I'm playing Saranya, a Collector. She's a very honest and just person. The kind of woman who won't hesitate to punish even her husband, if he commits a crime. She is a very kind and loving person within her home, though.
I also play Nanda, a rough girl who takes up arms when she comes across injustice being done to a woman. She's a fiery spirit -- she reacts instantly. It is exhilarating to play differing roles like these -- very interesting. In fact, each of my roles is said to be a representation of the goddesses Lakshmi, Saraswathi and Durga.
Each role focuses on one particular character trait, like anger, compassion, and strength.
Image: A scene from Abhirami
'I have used pistols in films before, so I didn't find it very strange, this time'
You handle fire-arms as Nanda. How did it feel to pick up a pistol?
I have used pistols in films before, so I didn't find it very strange, this time. I hope it looks convincing on-screen, though!
This is your first foray into Tamil television, isn't it?
Yes. Until now, my daughter needed my care and attention, so I couldn't work much for almost 10 years. Now, she can do everything pretty much by herself. In fact, she was the reason I even entered television. She would say, "Go out a bit, Amma. I want to see you on TV!" And so I thought, why not?
Are you doing any other project on television? What about movies?
Not at the moment, no. I am, however, eager for interesting roles. It's the same with movies too. I'm waiting for the right opportunities and characters. I'm ready for something new.
Image: A scene from Abhirami