The actresses come forward and say they don't want to be an accessory: Nithya Menen
Nithya Menen It spreads effortlessly through Indian cinema, making films in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and even Hindi. Despite having just over a decade of experience in the industry, Nithya has an impressive filmography, playing a variety of stylish characters. Although he was away for a year, he is now back in Kollywood with Mysskin Psychopath , whose advance was launched recently. Ask him why he didn't deal with Tamil projects for a while and he smiles: They ask me this question of all industries. If I go to Kerala, they ask me why I am not taking Malayalam movies. The same happens in other places, too. And now, people also want to see me in Hindi movies. But yes, I don't think it has anything to do with any language. I can be a bit selective and I could be making less movies, but I don't pay much attention to the language of the movie I'm doing. ” All this and more in a conversation with Nithya ...
The teaser of Psychopath is quite intriguing. What made you pick this film?
I received a call from Mysskin sir one day. He said that he was making this film and there was this character that he wanted me to play. Mysskin sir had spoken about the film to PC Sreeram sir and he had suggested my name to him. In fact, Mysskin sir mentioned that he hadn’t seen any of my films, but PC sir told that I am a good performer, and that was why he was calling me. He gave me the gist. There are two characters in the film - one is mine and the other one is played by Aditi (Rao Hydari). Once I heard the narration, I told him that I will do it. The role that I am playing is very different; it’s not that of a traditional heroine at all. My character is a physically difficult one to play. Unfortunately, I can't reveal anything more about it as it might give away too much.
Mysskin is considered quite unconventional and eccentric. What was it like working with him?
Well ... eccentric only for those who do not understand or are not accustomed to real cinema. Many people are used to the formula way of making movies. But a true genius will never work in a formulated way. They will be unpredictable and he was just that. I will not describe him as eccentric, at least in regard to his work.
I found him to be one of the most sensitive directors I have worked with. He is understanding, humane and loving. That is my experience of working with Mysskin. He is a bit of a rebel, but in terms of making the film, I truly enjoyed his craft. The experience was nourishing and we got along famously well.
There is also a stir over Iron Lady. When do you go to the floors?
The director, Priyadhaarshini, and I recently had a meeting. I had to inform myself about what was happening. Well, this is not an easy movie. The scale of the film is large, not only in terms of filming, but also in terms of details. Many permits are needed. On the creative side, Priyadhaarshini is extremely concentrated and gives him a lot of confidence. She does her research. His work is meticulous. It has a lot of internal information and has added many details to the script. A biographical film should not be a film about things everyone knows. There are some very personal things about Amma. Of course, casting is paramount for this movie and putting it all together will take time. This film needs more time for preproduction work than for the production itself. They are getting the right actors for the right roles and there is no commitment in that. Priyadhaarshini told me that he wants to make a good movie and is not working at any time. We will start filming next year.
Are you doing any preparation work to play Jayalalithaa?
No, that is not necessary for me. I know both the Tamils and the Bharatanatyam.
Did you have a hard time making a movie about Amma?
Initially I wanted to meet the director and politely refuse as I wasn't sure I could do it. But only that meeting with Priyadhaarshini instantly changed his mind. She presented everything in a practical and meticulous way. I trusted her for some reason and that doesn't always happen with a first time director. That shows how far she has gone for the movie. She is bold and confident. I felt that she could achieve this.
You have made a variety of movies. What makes you say yes to a story?
People come and narrate their story. If I get excited, I do it. It does not involve as much thinking as people think there is. There is no major analysis. Of course, I have a checklist. For instance, I look at the person who is pitching and look for his/her sensibility. If it doesn’t seem sensible or doesn’t match with my sensibilities, it is a no. I look for a genuine filmmaker, see what they want to say in the story and look at whether they are approaching it in an honest way. I also check if they are giving me a character that is out of the ordinary. For example, the role I am doing in Psychopath is something that I have never played before. For an actor, that sort of variety and diversity is important. It can be a simple romantic comedy, but if I enjoy the narration, by the end of it, I’ll agree to do the film.
Some of the characters you have played have been complex. How to get into a paper?
Hmm ... I'm not a method actor. They have a way of approaching a role, but I am more spontaneous. I go to the set, I see the scene and I assimilate everything. As soon as I hear a story, it's ready. Even if I said no to a movie, the story will stay with me. I can see the whole movie in my head. I can visualize the character and see it vividly in my head. In fact, keep playing in my head for weeks or months. I live with that in thought. Even when I'm acting, I don't call it that, since I'm living that role and that comes from deep inside. I am trying to do something that I am not. It is not a method, but spontaneity.
So, do you watch your movies to see how it went?
No way. In fact, I haven't seen many of my movies. During the launch, I will be working elsewhere or I will be busy with some other session. I don't consider it mandatory to watch a movie of mine. Only when we have a premiere or if we all see our movie, I see them. For me, you don't have to watch the movie.
There has been much talk about how women are portrayed in the cinema today. Do you see any changes?
Absolutely. I see many changes. There are many films focused on women. In addition, awareness is spreading between actresses and industry people; Doing what was done a decade ago is not good enough. Actresses also show up and say they don't want to be an accessory.
What are your next movies?
Right now, I am making two Telugu movies. One of them is a beautiful, surreal, romantic comedy, directed by my best friend Ani Sasi; My role in the movie will be a surprise. Another is about a mother and a daughter. Of course, there is Iron Lady, and one more project that I can't reveal much about now.
You also ventured into Bollywood this year with Mission Mangal. How was the experience?
Oh, that was a brilliant experience. The atmosphere seemed friendly and easy. There were zero crashed tantrums. Although we had big stars like Akshay Kumar and Vidya Balan in the project, none of us had the feeling that they were stars on the set. I found it commendable. They were all normal and friendly people. The seven of us were very similar to a group, we were encouraged and spread happiness.