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Parvathy: Dhanush is a very private person

Last updated on: July 15, 2013 10:26 IST

Parvathy: Dhanush is a very private person



Parvathy Menon made a huge impact on Tamil cinema with her very powerful performance in the film Poo.

A very choosy actress, she did very few Tamil films after that though she has had a few successful films in Kannada.

Now, she is back in Bharat Bala's much awaited Maryaan, with Dhanush.

In this interview, the actress talks about her experience of working in the film.

When I spoke to Bharat Bala, he said he chose you after seeing you in Poo. Did he tell you that?

Initially, he didn't but he said so later.

Perhaps he didn't want me to be distracted by his reason for the choice.

He just said, I have seen your work but I want to see how well you will capture Panimalar (her character in Maryaan ). Later he said, I appreciated you as Mari in Poo but I don't want even a shred of her in Panimalar.

Image: Parvathy with Dhanush in Maryaan


'Bhaat Bala will not tell you how to act or what expression to give'

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What did he tell you about Panimalar and Maryaan?

He is one director who will not tell you how to act or what expression to give.

He had a vision in his head of how the emotions would be.

He may not tell you how the character must move or behave, but he is very sure about the emotions they go through.

What he told me was that Panimalar is strength. That is what she symbolises. After that, it was a journey we embarked on together to know more about her.

What did he tell you about the film?

He said it was a story of survival and there was this woman that Maryaan was in love with.

She also loved him madly. It was their love that made him survive in his struggle. 

I also feel that if I am in love with someone, no matter how far away he is, we will feel the emotions. That was what Maryaan felt. I just connected with that thought. 

I just heard this and I was in the film. I didn't know anything else about Panimalar and I found out more about her as we proceeded. 

However cinematic and dramatic the situations are, I wanted logic in everything she does. I have to know the real Panimalar and till I know her, I will be a pain for the director.



Image: Parvathy in Maryaan

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'My character in Maryaan is someone I want to become'

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Did you have a lot of questions about your character?

Yes, I had. I wanted to know who she was, what she did, what her actions were that symbolised their love.

After our discussion, he would send me the various drafts of the script so that I followed the way she was created and how she grew.

She was a woman in love and she was one who embraced her vulnerability. What I found out about her was that she was brave enough to be vulnerable. She was courageous enough to put herself in tough situations because she was in love.

We are often so inhibited that we do not want to get hurt. But she had no such fears. She made vulnerability her strength and not weakness.

Once I understood her strength, I could understand who she was, how she walks, talks and feels.

Was it easy to become her?

In a way, yes. That is because she was somebody I aspire to become. After each movie, I try to find a new focus and it was a beautiful psychological journey.

The location was simply amazing and it did something to every single person associated with the film. The waves, the salty winds, the fish that we got there, the heat… all did something to me so that I became Panimalar.

Though it was physically draining, it had a positive effect on me. Once I reached the location, I forgot who I was; I was Panimalar totally. Just standing near the sea and wetting my feet was enough for the transformation. The first thing I used to do every day was go there and wet my feet. I did the make-up only after that.

Though I don’t know how to swim, I took a dip in the ocean to know her, and that was liberating for me.

Another thing I did was I wrote every day as the character; her thoughts, her feelings, everything. It helped me a lot.

Image: Parvathy in Maryaan

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'I learned to cook while working on this film'

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Now that the film is over, what's next?

I am a different person. Being Panimalar, working in the film, with all the people, I feel I have grown up, emotionally and creatively.

Grown as an artist or as a person?

As an artist, definitely.

I understood that you need to learn a lot about the craft if you want to be a good actor. I learnt a lot about camera, direction, editing, and all this helps me in my craft.

As a person, I am more free. With each character I do, I am more and more free. I am becoming a hippie/gypsy. I like to travel, I like to be alone.

What were the physical hardships you had to go through while acting in Maryaan?

I had this fear of water and after the film I am at peace with water. I too had underwater shots in the Andamans. It was a humbling experience. We had experts from abroad to help us, and they were all 20-25-year-olds but so calm and wise!

That was because they had seen the ocean and its calmness and the life underneath.

What else did the film help you to understand?

I used to go every day to the house of the fishermen, sit there with them, clean fish, cut fish, make fish curry, wash clothes, carry water.

I also learnt to make things with palm leaves. That was something Panimalar does. I also learnt to cook.

Image: Parvathy in Maryaan

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'My creative energy is not satisfied just by acting'

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You are in a song that was shot in the desert. How was that experience?

Namibia was hot and cold at the same time. That was the first shot of me as Panimalar. When you start with a song, it is tough to pin down the character.

It is for a particular reason that I enter with a song.

Love had to reverberate through her. I had to run in the desert, on the 'sand to get the shot right. By the end, I had no energy to run and I cried.

Did you have any interesting interactions with your co-star and National Award winner Dhanush?

Dhanush is a very private person.

There are people who discuss their work but Dhanush does his homework well and expects everybody to do their job well. I would say we had these surprising improvisations here and there.

We never sat together and discussed the scenes but the scenes between Maryaan and Panimalar were so intense that the director would feel if there was no passion in the eye contact.

Will you ever become a filmmaker?

I hope so because my creative energy is not satisfied just by acting.

Image: Parvathy in Maryaan
Photographs: Sreeram Selvaraj

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