RITZ catches up with Madonna during the launch of her band, ‘Everafter’
Madonna Sebastian made her debut in the Malayalam blockbuster film ‘Premam’ with Nivin Pauly in the lead. The movie that stole the hearts of the Malayali audience, shot her to fame and her next project, ‘King Liar’ opposite Dileep fortified her destiny. Her entry into Kollywood with the movie, ‘Kadhalum Kadandhu Pogum’ and now, Tollywood, with the Telugu remake of ‘Premam’, has catapulted her status to a starlet with a promising future in the south. RITZ catches up with her during the launch of her band, ‘Everafter’ at Radisson Blu in Kochi.
Congratulations on the launch of your music band, ‘Everafter’. Were you always passionate about music?
Yes, I would say that I had a musical upbringing as my parents were very passionate about music. I was a very shy kid and my parents would coax me to get on stage. Although I was nervous, they always encouraged me to do shows and as I grew up, my orientation gradually changed. Now, music has become one of my strongest passions. I have trained in Carnatic and Western Music. Subramaniam Sir, son of Mavelikkara Ponnama was my guru and he has been a huge influence on me.
How did you get into music professionally?
Well, I used to perform from the time I was in school. I hosted a couple of shows on TV and then worked with Roby Abraham for the Malayalam movie, ‘You too Brutus!’ after which we did the show, Music Mojo. Later, I got a chance to work with Gopi Sundar, Deepak Dev, Sejo John and Suraj. In fact, Alphonse Puthren saw me on television and that’s how he got in touch with me for ‘Premam’. I never really thought of acting as a profession. The ‘Premam’ team was so impressive that I didn’t need to think twice. I auditioned and got the role!
Premam was your first movie. How did it happen and how has life changed after the epic success of the film?
Life changed right after ‘Premam’ got good reviews. ‘King Liar’ with Dileep, my next Malayalam movie also won good reviews and people are recognising me now. My entry into the movie industry has helped my singing career too. I think people recognise me and are more open to giving me opportunities.
Do you prefer playback singing to acting?
I enjoy doing both. I don’t think I can give up either of them. Like I said, films have absolutely helped me in my singing career. I am hoping to do more roles and grow as an actor and do quality work.
Tell us about the band.
It was a dream for each one of us in the ‘Everafter’ team to form a band. We have known each other for a year or two but it’s only now that it all fell into place. We love the chemistry we share. Our music has been inspired by bands like Coldplay, Led Zeppelin and Nirvana. We have been practising for almost a year and now we are ready to go live!
Your Tamil movie, Kadhalum Kadhandu Pogum, was a hit. How different is Kollywood? Are you comfortable with the language?
Yes, I understand Tamil but am not really fluent in speaking the language. Maybe with a couple of movies, I will learn it. Be it Mollywood or Kollywood, every director’s camp is different so I can’t really speak of the difference it terms of industry. But yes, the way each camp works is different.
How do you choose your projects? What preparations do you undertake before taking up a role?
While choosing a project, I feel the director of the movie is the most important factor. I believe that directors like Mani Ratnam or for that matter, Alphonse Puthren or Anwar Rasheed can really tap into the ‘actor’ in you. They know what exactly they want from the actor and explain every little detail. That makes it much easier for us as actors and also makes it a great learning experience.
What kind of homework do you do before starting your shoot?
The first thing is to sit down with the director and discuss at length about every detail of the character, physical and psychological. I also watch multiple movies that have roles similar to what I am to portray.
Your biggest fear while facing the camera?
My biggest fear would be not being able to deliver up to my director’s expectations! I need the director to be happy and satisfied with my performance.
Are you keen on modelling?
No, not at all. I have trained under Dalu, fashion choreographer and director to learn the right body language for modelling but am not really keen on taking it as a profession.
What are your upcoming projects?
I am doing the role of ‘Celine’ again in the Telugu version of Premam. I am also doing a Tamil movie with Director K V Anand.
Who is your inspiration?
I grew up watching Hollywood movies as my dad is a big fan of Hollywood films and so I would say a lot of Hollywood actors inspire me. In terms of music, Celine Dion and Shakira have been my all-time favourites. I am a big fan of Rahman Sir.