My biggest accolade so far has to be when my son came back home from the premiere of my first film and fought with me about the actions of the character I played. I couldn’t attend it and he was too young to understand that the Iyer- mami on screen was not the same as his mother. That episode brought me immense joy.
I dreamt of making it big in the celluloid world and leading the life of a celebrity since my childhood. But hailing from an orthodox family, I believed that would be far from reality. Hence I chose to pursue a career as a newscaster, so I could be close to the world of glitz and glam, on TV, yet not be shunned by my father. However, I realised, it was all in my head. Little did I know that a few years and films later, my father would encourage me to do more of it!
Born and brought up in Pondicherry, I knew I had to move to Chennai to turn my dreams into reality and pursuing a Master’s Degree in Social Work gave me the opportunity to do so. However, since I’d reach campus only at 8:30 every night after presenting the news, the hostel restrictions made it impossible for me to continue the course and I quit. I spent a lot of time rehearsing and honing my news reading skills – everything from my Tamil pronunciations to occasionally making eye contact with my mirror, a pretence camera, to seem professional. The day of my DD auditions arrived and it was a rollercoaster of emotions.
While I aced the voice test and had complete control over my diction and pronunciation, every time I was made to face the camera, I froze. Despite failing twice, with words of encouragement from my examiner, I performed well the third time and made it! I started my career as a newsreader. My stint with DD allowed me to host numerous shows, where I met K Balachandar sir, who offered me a lead role in his upcoming women centric film. However, I told him that I was pregnant with my second child and might not be able to take up the role. Unfortunately, not much later, I lost the child. After recovering from that unfathomable loss, it occurred to me that I could talk to him about the role, but by then, a different actor was chosen for it. However, he offered me the role of a cook who travels with the main lead. Who could say no to working under the genius director! So, I took it up. That’s how my celluloid dream was realized and my role as Kokila in Kalki is still remembered! After movies, the transition into the world of theatre wasn’t hard. From a workshop to a full-fledged acting troupe didn’t take too long, thanks to KB sir.
After all these years, an honour I continue to speak of with great pride, was that of working with Jayalalitha Amma. It was her motherly aura that made me write to her about my wish to join her party and work under her umbrella. After meeting and speaking to me, she soon embraced me within her party and announced me as her star speaker. Voicing out opinions that I personally believed in made me very happy! I guess it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say there’s nothing from my life that I regret! Overcoming fear is the first step to achieving your dreams and goals, I guess!
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