November 9, 2017 7:46:45 pm
Padmapriya made her debut as a female lead in Bollywood with Saif Ali Khan starrer Chef. Her character was received warmly. In this interview with indianexpress.com, the actor talks about her dreams and aspirations, and why she wants to do more of Hindi cinema now that she has done many South Indian films.
Here are some excerpts from the interview:
Chef brought you recognition in Hindi films. How was it working with Saif Ali Khan?
I didn’t know I would become an actor, first of all. And, I didn’t know I was cast opposite Saif Ali Khan in Chef, as I had signed the film much earlier. It was a pleasant surprise working with Saif. It was great because I had seen his work from the time I was young. He has grown as an actor, and I am looking forward for his other upcoming films now. Chef was my first official major role in a Hindi film. I had worked in Striker before, but Chef is special. It was my debut film. When you have a meaty character to play opposite an actor you like, it becomes a memorable experience. The movie was close and warm as the cast was not huge. It was a cozy set.
You looked very organic in Chef. Your character was received well too.
About looking organic, there are two things – one that I have done Malayalam films. These films are mostly based on reality, so it is not out of the ordinary for me to do it. We prep for our characters, and it comes very naturally for the actors who have done South Indian films. Apart from that, the second thing that is commendable is that Raja Krishna Menon tried to get that ‘organic’ bit in the film. We didn’t even try to make all of it look real. It was real for us, and that reflects in the film. We spent a lot of time doing workshops, not acting workshops per se, but we spent a lot of time reading and emoting the lines. We had read our lines so many times that we had become the characters we were portraying.
It is not that I have not done unreal characters. Here a certain skill is required to do that, and I really enjoy doing that as well. Radha Menon was also fictional to me. I don’t think I would be able to behave with my ex-husband if I had one, the way she does. There is a certain fictional element that goes in playing a common person.
You have done number of Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu films. Did you always plan to do Hindi films or it just came along?
Actually, I am a typical middle-class girl. I didn’t ever know I was going to be an actor. However, before even getting into acting, I had started training myself in different forms of dancing. I started learning dancing when I was three years old, and I started modelling when I was eleven years old. I started performing in theatre when I was a teenager, so even when acting was not a plan, it was all taking me towards films. At 20-21, I finally started believing that I can be an actor. It took me six films to realise that there is something like film acting as a profession. Even as I started acting in films, I took a two year break and did my Masters in Public Administration.
The Malayalam or the Kerala film industry is a great training ground for any actor, for any kind of cinema. Preparing for the film, acting workshops come very naturally to us. If I had to plan my career as an actor then I would have done Hindi films first, because I have grown up to Hindi films, and I read, write and talk in Hindi. After that I would have dabbled in Malayalam and Tamil films.
My focus today will definitely be more towards Hindi films, as I have already done a lot of Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu films. I have grown up in the Hindi language, so it is my spoken language apart from English. I haven’t played characters from other parts of the country. I have either played a Malayali or a Tamil character. You can’t plan a Kashmiri in a Tamil film, it would look odd, but you can do that in a Hindi film, or I can play a Punjabi girl, since I know the dialect. I want to be a pan India actor now, and Hindi cinema gives the scope to do so much more.
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