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'Working in a Tamil film is less stressful'

December 14, 2013 17:30 IST

'Working in a Tamil film is less stressful'

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S Saraswathi in Chennai

Shamna Kasim, aka Poorna, a talented actress from Kannur, in Kerala, made her debut in Tamil cinema with Bharath starrer Muniyandi Vilangiyal Moonramaandu

Poorna has worked in several Malayalam films, is a huge hit in the Telugu film industry, and has also worked in a couple of Kannada films. 

A trained classical dancer, Poorna's powerful performance in the recently released Thagararu earned her a lot of attention and made her popular overnight. She was also appreciated for her performance in director Karu Pazhaniyapan's Janal Oram

With two hits in a row, and awaiting the release of Padam Pesum and Arjunan Kadhali, Poorna is all set to take the Tamil film industry by storm.

Here Poorna talks to S Saraswathi about her success.

How does it feel to have two back-to-back hits, Janal Oram and Thagararu?

I did not have any releases last year and with 2013 coming to an end, I was actually hoping for the release of at least one of my films. So it was really a huge surprise that both the films released within a week of each other.

I am so happy with the positive response. To be honest, I had lost my confidence and really needed a hit.

It feels great when people congratulate you and tell you how much they enjoyed the performance.  

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Image: Poorna


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'People who are close to me know what a sweet person I am!'

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How did you bag the role in Thagararu?

Director Ganesh Vinaayac told me that actor Pooja, who was his first choice for the role, recommended my name. 

She had some problem with the dates and suggested that the director watch my performance in Drohi.

He liked my performance. When he met me, he was quite impressed with my attitude and felt that I would be the right choice.

I was totally attracted to the project from the moment I heard about the character.

Impressed with your attitude…so are you like Meenakshi in Thagararu?

Not at all, people who are close to me know what a sweet person I am!

But others who don’t know me, especially people from the film industry, think that I have an attitude. 

I seem to give out this vibe of being very proud and arrogant. I really don’t understand why.

Maybe it is my looks or my dress sense. Whatever the reason; people always seem to maintain their distance with me.


Image: Poorna and Arulnithi in Thagararu


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'The climax scene was undoubtedly the most challenging'

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Didnt it worry you that your character had negative shades?

It scared me a lot. I was sure that people were going to hate me.  But I also knew that we rarely get an opportunity to play such a strong female character. 

In Thimiru, Sriya Reddy’s character was totally negative, more like a villain, right from the start. But my character, Meenakshi, is a bold young Madurai girl, who is desperately in love with Saravanan (Arulnithi) and he too reciprocates her love. 

She becomes negative only in the latter part of the movie. I hope that people understand that it was all for love.

Which scene did you find the most challenging?

The climax scene was undoubtedly the most challenging.

We were shooting on a busy street in Madurai with a huge crowd of people watching us, amidst pouring rain.

It was so cold, I was literally shivering, and the scene required me to loudly shout out an obscene word and at the same time kick one of the characters!

It was quite embarrassing with the crowd watching your every move; I was dressed in a sari, soaking wet, rain pouring down my face, trying to kick someone.


Image: Poorna and Arulnithi in Thagararu


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'I had to kick Pawan during the climax scene'

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Tell us about your co-star Arulnithi. Was he intimidated by your role? 

Arulnithi is just like the character he plays in the film, very friendly, warm and extremely down to earth.

Not many heroes would accept a film with such a strong female character, but he was so encouraging.

He was not present when we shot the climax.  But later, when he watched the scene, he called me from the editing room to tell me that I had done an outstanding job, and he was very happy for me.

There are very few female characters in the film. How was it like working on the sets?

The whole team was so friendly, especially the director.  He was very understanding and always treated me well. 

I especially have to thank Pawan, who I had to kick during the climax scene. 

This was my first experience of a fight sequence and I did not know any particular technique to kick without causing pain.

We had to shoot the scene several times to get it right and I was actually kicking him quite hard. I felt so bad and kept apologising, but he was so sweet, never said a word about it. 


Image: Poorna and Arulnithi in Thagararu


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'I played the female lead for the first time in a Tamil film'

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Tell us about your character in Janal Oram.

Janal Oram is set in the backdrop of a village and I play the role of a homely school teacher.

My character Nirmalais the epitome of sweetness, very simple and unassuming, completely different from Meenakshi, who is more complex and bold.

You have worked in Malayalam, Telugu and Tamil films, where do you feel the most comfortable?

I played the female lead for the first time in a Tamil film starring Bharath, Muniyandi Vilangyial Moonramandu. So Tamil will always be dearer to me. 

Even today, working in a Tamil film is far less stressful. I also love coming to Chennai. I feel very comfortable here.


Image: Poorna


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'Dancing on stage helps me relax'

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What are you working on currently?

Currently, I am busy with a couple of Telugu films, Nuvvala Nenila opposite Varun Sandesh, and director Ravi Babu's Laddu Babu with Allari Naresh. 

Do you still find time to pursue your passion for dance?

I love dancing, but nowadays cinema has become just as important. Today, people know me as a dancer only because of my films.

Some day, I want to be a dance teacher and choreographer. Whatever my schedule, I keep myself free for at least one dance show every month.

Dancing on stage helps me relax; it is as though all my stress and tension just melt away.

 


Image: Poorna


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