Keerthy Suresh’s filmography can now be split into a pre-Nadigaiyar Thilagam and post-Nadigaiyar Thilagam phase. Known initially for her cutesy roles in star vehicles, there was much scepticism about the young actor pulling off the role of Savitri, but her stellar performance silenced all her critics. Nadigaiyar Thilagam’s success has increased her responsibility, she admits. “Everyone has been asking me what I’ll do next. Even I haven’t thought so much about it,” she says with a smile. But the actor asserts that she will use the leverage to maintain a balance between good commercial cinema and content-driven films.
Excerpts from a conversation:
‘My character in Sandakozhi 2 is completely different from Meera Jasmine’s in the original’
‘It is a totally different character. You can’t say that I am replacing her. Even before I heard the story, I knew the character would be different. We all know how Meera Jasmine’s character was in the first film and how everyone loved it. Knowing that people would expect something good from the sequel as well, I was sure Linguswamy sir would have written a different character. Linguswamy sir acts out everything when he narrates including the slang the character speaks in. I could see that my character was well-written. The next step was for me to perform it well.’
‘Linguswamy sir’s heroines are always different’
‘Sandakozhi is a brand unto itself and Linguswamy sir is known to give his heroines significant roles. I wasn’t sure if I would get enough scope with a village character. I was still nervous when I went to the sets. It took me two to three days to settle in. It is a step ahead to speak in a certain slang, with that body language, be in that flow… live as that character basically. I hope it works with the audience.’
‘Chembaruthi is a character that personally satisfied me’
‘Not all commercial films have or need to make enough space for a female lead. In Sandakozhi 2 though, I have good space. That is why I am excited about this project. If the characterisation is good, the onus then shifts to the actor to portray it well. The viewer would want to see more of that character. My role in Sandakozhi is a bit like that. After my role in Nadigaiyar Thilagam, Chembaruthi is a character that I’m really satisfied about. I am really happy about being part of a brand like Sandakozhi, and feel grateful about having got a good character in the film.’
This was originally written for The New Indian Express. You can find it here.