MeenAviyal Magic – A Chat With Vaishnavi Venugopal!

The web series that received 1 million views features Archana Kavi, Arun Kurian and Vaishnavi Venugopal!

She is the new kid on the block who has been making her mark in Mollywood with her subtle yet significant performances. Being the niece of National award winning director Jayaraj, it comes as no surprise that she has a fondness for Cinema. She made her acting debut with Jayaraj’s ‘Bhayanakam’, which had Renji Panicker and Asha Sarath doing the lead roles.  Her performance in the hit movie, June won her much critical acclaim and with the web series, Meen Aviyal crossing 1 million views, there is no looking back for Vaishnavi Venugopal!   

Interview: Riya Sonny Datson

Photography: Nitheesh Ayyod

With a journalism and mass communication background, how did films happen?

It was never planned though there were talks and discussions about Cinema all along. After my studies, I moved to Mumbai for work but I realised that a desk job is not what I want to do. My family, especially my parents have been very supportive of my joining films from the beginning. So when my uncle asked me to make a debut in his project, Bhayanakam, I decided to give it a shot.

Did you have any fears while facing the camera for the first time?

Yes, I had my fears throughout the shoot of Bhayanakam and June. I need some time to get in sync with the character but thankfully, I was lucky that I always got a crew who would try to make me feel comfortable. Ahammed Kabeer, the director of June was especially confident that he would get me to do it right.

The blockbuster hit ‘June’ was a nostalgic film, how was the experience working with a younger crew?

I was most tensed on the sets of Bhayanakam as I was working with such a seasoned crew. Though it was a brief role, it was a great start and an amazing learning experience. My next project was the short film which was completed in a single day. It was during the shoot of that project that I met Ahammed Kabeer. In fact, quite a few from that project eventually became a part of June’s crew, so it was comfortable working with a familiar team. We had an acting workshop with Siddharth Shiva that helped to break the ice and reduce our stress levels. Rajeesha Vijayan was also very supportive all along encouraging us and giving us tips. One of the best parts about doing June was that it felt like we were going back to school. I was sporting short hair just like how I was in school, we would wear our uniform every morning and a vehicle would come to pick us up. It felt as if I was going back to my childhood days. Throughout the movie, we were not given the script, so it was a spontaneous kind of acting, which was a fun experience all together.

Tell us about the trending webseries, Meen Aviyal.

For Meen Aviyal, we shot for around ten to eleven days but it didn’t feel like a shoot at all. We were staying at the apartment where we were shooting, so we would just wake up in the morning, change and get ready for shoot. In the evening, we would call it a wrap and just relax. It was extremely comfortable to work with Archana and Arun too. We would make spot improvisations and everyone would just tune in accordingly. We were like family and we became so close that it didn’t feel like work. We didn’t want the shoot to wrap up. My most memorable moment was when the crew threw a surprise birthday party for me one night. It was a lot of fun. I made new friends and we continue to keep in touch.

One thing you like most about Meen Aviyal …..

I think the Sibling love-hate bond was very well conveyed through this series. It had the connect with the youngsters, which I think is what made it so popular.

What are your interests outside of movies?

I studied dance while in school and was always active in extra-curricular activities. But as I grew up, I was more inclined to cinematic dance. Whenever there is a wedding or a function, I am the first one to take the lead and form a troupe. I got my team from Meen Aviyal to perform for our friend’s wedding and it was loads of fun. I love music too. Though am not trained singer, singing on stage is my fascination and so, whenever I get a chance to sing with karaoke, I always make use of the opportunity.

What is next?

I am listening to scripts but haven’t committed to anything yet as I would like to focus on doing good roles now.

Rapid Fire:

  • In My Bag Always: Chocolate & Lipstick
  • Crazy About: Shopping & Travel
  • Can’t do without: My Phone
  • Vaishnavi in three words: Fun loving, Talkative and Lazy
  • I love: Food!!
  • Nickname: Vaishu
  • Relationship status: Single
  • Crave for: Doughnuts
  • Dream Holiday: Exploring Mauritius all by myself!
  • Dream role: Action oriented role