“It’s Not All About Glam!” – Ann Sheetal Reveals!

The Actress opens up about her first movie, her beauty regime & much more!

Tall, ravishing and graceful, her maiden date with Cinema instantly shot her to stardom! The Mollywood horror thriller, ‘Ezra’, with Prithviraj Sukumaran, Priya Anand and Sudev Nair was a dream debut and literally, a stepping stone for this young starlet who had just passed out of Barry John acting studio, Mumbai. While doing an exclusive fashion shoot with Ritz, Ann Sheetal opens up about her first movie, her beauty regime and her next venture with Dulquar Salman.

Interview: Riya Sonny Datson

Photography: Shafi Shakkeer

Styling: Femi Kalista

Venue: Fragrant Nature, Mattancherry

Make Up: Subi Ganesh

Hair Styling: Grace Saloon and Spa

Costume Courtesy: Kalista

Footwear: Aldo, Lulu Mall

How did you decide to pursue a career in acting?

From a young age, I was always intrigued by movies and wanted to know more about it; but never did I ever imagine that I would face the camera one day! Though I started to get offers while I was in college, my parents insisted that I finish my graduation. I also felt that I needed to learn about the craft before taking it up professionally and that’s when I decided to join Barry John. I got the offer while I was just finishing my course and I was more than thrilled to be a part of such a great team!

How was your first experience?

I was very scared! Though I had taken acting classes, things seemed different when it actually came to work. At the acting studio, we are comfortable within our own peer group. But while on the sets, I was with a team who were already experts in the field. So I had my own inhibitions but they made me feel very comfortable and I must say, once I started, I really enjoyed the experience!

As the very first role you were portraying, did you have any inhibitions about taking up the character of a young girl who was getting pregnant out of wedlock?

Honestly, I didn’t give it too much thought. We were always told at the acting school that we must always think of the character as a part of the story. So to me, she was just a character that I had to portray. I felt blessed to get such good opportunity and to work with such a wonderful team. My only concern was to play it to perfection.

There were rumours of spooky events happening on the sets of Ezra. Were they true?

Yes, it was during the shoot at the old bungalow at the Fort Kochi location. During the very first day, we had many glitches while trying to shoot the scene when the ghost jumps up. So, the next day we got a priest to come and pray on the sets. While the prayer was happening, lights were flickering and the generator stopped working. I didn’t feel scared but yes it seemed pretty unusual.

You have won much critical acclaim for your character in the movie. Was it difficult to play the role?

Yes, the hardest part was to get under the skin of the character and understand her actions especially since the story was from a much earlier time period; to think as to why the girl was in love with the Jew boy and why she got pregnant out of wedlock. The emotional scenes where she confronts her parents were also a bit overwhelming as I had to react to the strong emotions portrayed by my parents. The scene was just explained to us with very little instructions on how to portray it. So we had the freedom to think and explore our own style of acting.

The role required you to be very unglamorous. Were you comfortable with the look?

I must admit that it was a shock initially but then when I understood the character, I knew that look was exactly what was required of me. You cannot expect a poor peasant girl from a bygone era to be well groomed. I am glad I took up the role for now I know I can take up different shades.

One thing you learnt from Ezra..

That looks don’t matter! You don’t need to be a glam doll to make an impact.

The most memorable compliment you received after Ezra…

As I walked out after the first screening of the movie, one of the boys from the audience came upto me and said, ‘your performance really moved me to tears..’ and I was floored!

We hear that you are working with Salam Bukari in his directorial debut with Dulquer Salman.

Yes I am very excited about the project as it’s a wonderful crew and cast. We haven’t started shoot yet so I won’t be able to comment about it right now. But yes, I am really looking forward to doing this project.

Has the celebrity tagged changed your lifestyle?

Not really. I still continue to hang around with friends and enjoy doing the things I used to do earlier.

What are your interests outside of movies?

I am very passionate about sketching, dancing, traveling and photography. My mom says I started to sketch even before I started writing the alphabets. If I were not into movies, I would have definitely been behind the easel or the camera.

Favourite holiday destination?

Israel – It was not just spiritual but a beautiful cultural experience!

Favourite Movie?

‘Yeh jawaani hai deewaani’ is my favourite movie. Love everything about this peppy movie!

Any idols?

Not really. I look for different characteristics in people which I try to imbibe. There are many people from whom I draw inspiration.

What’s your secret beauty regime?

Nothing very elaborate actually. I eat only what I require and work out a lot. I make it a point to drink lots of water and have lots of fresh veggies and fruits.

Favourite dish?

My Mum’s fish curry!!

What is your Style Mantra?

Anything that is comfortable, casual and chic!

What is the one fashion accessory that you just can’t do without?

Ear Rings! Have a weakness for them – so much so that I have my own collection.

Favourite Designer?

I admire Sabyasachi’s creations a lot!

Dream role?

Right now I want to push myself beyond my limits and explore my potential to do different roles.