She's worked with Mamooty, Mohanlal and Suresh Gopi and now she's all set to take Bollywood by storm. Padmapriya speaks to Roshmilla Bhattacharya.
So, yet another South actress is all set to storm Bollywood?
I may be a Tamilian, but Hindi is the only language I speak. My father was in the army and was mostly posted up north. So, I have grown up on regular Bollywood fare.
From Guru Dutt to Shah Rukh Khan, from Meena Kumari and Smita Patil to Kajol, I've seen all their movies and I have loved them all. Had I planned a career in acting, I might have started out with a Hindi movie.
You mean you didn't plan on becoming an actress?
I have an MBA degree and was working as a risk consultant with GE. I was modelling on the side. One fine day I was offered this Telugu film. Then, came a Malayalam movie on the Gujarat earthquake with Mamooty. Kaazhcha was a blockbuster and suddenly I was flooded with roles.
I was pretty flippant through the first three to four movies. In fact, while doing Kaazhcha I was so preoccupied with getting back to my familiar world, that I wasn't even aware I was working with one of the Super Ms.
We were shooting in the backwaters of Kerela and would go on long boat rides. (Smiles) I treated the shoot like a picnic. Subsequently, I worked with the other Super M, Mohanlal, and Suresh Gopi as well.
It's surprising that despite being a topranking star down South you've chosen to make your Bollywood debut with a small, off-beat film, Striker.
I had no plans of getting into Bollywood. When I got the call from Chandan Arora, I was in a quandary. But the temptation of working with Chandan and Siddharth was irresistible.
I've had a soft corner for Sid long before Rang de Basanti and all my scenes in the film are with him. I've grown up on commercial Hindi movies and with my modelling background, I know I'll get to run-around-the-conifers too.
Striker revolves around a carrom player?
Yeah, but thank God I don't need to play any carrom. It hurts my fingers. I prefer chess. I'm this Koli fishergirl.. the only quirky, glamourous character, who is the life of this film. We shot in the chawls of Malwani. Mumbai has a flavour and energy that's unique to it.
With Asin, Sriya, Nayantara and even Deepika Padukone moving into Hindi films, how do you view the competition from down South?
Deepika has already moved ahead of us. Also, there are no similarities there. I'm more like a bubbly Kajol or a Rani Mukerji. As for the others, well, there's competition all around. Not just from the south but even from the north. It's national!
Will it be goodbye to South films now?
A Malayalam film doesn't entail more than 20-25 days shoot and an extra five days for promotion. So I can easily wrap up three Malayalam films in a year and still have plenty of dates to spare for Hindi and Tamil movies.
While working on the Tamil film Mirugam, you'd alleged that the director Swamy had beaten you up.
It wasn't an allegation, it was a fact based on which certain actions were taken. But I don't want to go into that now. The litigation is done with and one of the terms agreed on was that neither party would bring up the issue again.