Reach For The Stars : A Chat With Prayaga Martin

The beautiful actress talks about her passion for Cinema, fashion and more! 

She tasted success at the tender age of 18 while donning the title role in Mysskin’s Kollywood flick, ‘Pisaasu’. Her homeland, Kerala, came calling next and since then, there has been no looking back for this bubbly actress. She has had the opportunity to work with some of the stalwarts in the industry and she is all set to scale new heights. Her confidence is contagious and yet she is well grounded and aware of the ebb and flow of the film industry! RITZ is in conversation with the beautiful, talented and confident, Prayaga Martin!

Interview: Riya Sonny Datson    

Photography: Shafi Shakkeer

Styling: Akhil  Anandan and Remya Rajan

Make Up: Subi Ganesh

Hair Styling: Fammy Antony

Costume Courtesy: T & M by Maria.Tiya.Maria

Jewellery: M.O.D Signature Jewellery

Footwear : Metro 

Location: Kochi Marriott Hotel

Has Cinema always been your dream?

No, not at all. While at school, I was the head girl and used to do well at speech and extempore. My teachers used to say that I would make a good lawyer and I wanted to follow a career in law too. Then I started to get offers in modelling and though, initially, I turned them down, I realised I was saying no to golden opportunities that people were really yearning for. Slowly, I decided to try my hand at modelling and then, movies happened. Since I always had an inclination to art, Cinema became my passion and now, I know that this is the best career choice for me!

Are you very selective about your films?

I think it’s been a natural progression for me. I was fortunate that good projects came my way when I started out. But now, I feel there is a necessity to be selective because I have learnt that success or failure depends on your choices. So it is important to choose good roles and scripts.

What kind of scripts interest you?

That’s a tough question to answer. Well, I am open to doing different kinds of roles and I don’t like to restrict myself. At this stage in my career, I am open to doing any interesting role except ones with negative shades.

How do you prepare for your roles?

The most important thing is understanding the script. Because, at the end of the day, cinema is not just about you or your role. You have to be aware of all the other characters around you, the circumstances, the background and so many other factors that contribute to the story. Only then, can you get under the skin of your character. Of course, I feel costumes and make up help a lot because they really help you to ‘feel’ the character. Also, I think preparation for a role is really a knack, different people have different techniques and I have my own way of handling it.

A lot of actors say that they are a ‘Director’s Actor’. Do you agree?

An actor is always a director’s artist. The Director is the captain of the ship and for any actor, it is important to understand the role just as the director has conceived it in his mind. Which is why communication with the director is so very vital. I always try to see the character through the director’s eyes. I feel that no matter at which stage of your career you are in, every actor is first the Director’s artist, only once you understand what he wants you to portray, can you add your improvisations.

You have had the opportunity to do some interesting roles in a short span of time. Which would be your favourite role till date?

Every character I have played has been special to me but the roles I have played in the movies that are yet to be released are the ones closest to me.

Tell us about your upcoming movies.

Helena is the character I play in Ramleela opposite Dilip. She is a bold and daring woman of the 21st century who sets herself at par with men and has no regrets that she is a woman. Then there is Vishwasapoorvam Mansoor, where I play Mumtaz. She is also a strong woman in terms of her experiences. She has gone through a lot of pain and turmoil and has survived all of it with grace. Though she goes through a lot of emotions, she doesn’t let it affect her and is very composed. These two roles have been very close to me for there is a lot of depth to the character that I play.

At any point in your career, have you felt that you were portraying yourself?

I think with every character, there has been certain circumstances where I could relate to the situation or the character but not really one where I felt I was portraying myself.

Any Dream role?

Dream roles have been conceived as extraordinary roles played to perfection by senior stars.  For me, I would like to do a role that has never been portrayed, something that no one has done before!

Are you very fashion conscious? What is your fashion mantra?

While I am conscious of fashion trends, I don’t follow trends blindly. My fashion mantra would be to believe in yourself, to be aware of yourself and your body so that you can wear clothing that suits you.

Of late, there have been a lot of incidents where women have been facing a lot of abuse in the film industry. Do you feel it is getting difficult to work in the industry now?

No, not at all. If you communicate, behave well and be professional, then half the problems are solved. No matter what the situation, if you can justify yourself or if there is righteousness on your side, then there is nothing to worry about. Success and failure are two sides of the same coin. A crisis happens to everyone at some point or the other, it is the way one handles the situation that matters.

When I faced an issue, I knew I was right so I didn’t really care about the allegations in the social media. But I chose to come out in the open and speak about it, and instantly, the social media supported me. When and how you handle a situation or a crisis is very important.

You completed your degree recently. If it had not been movies, what would have been your career choice?

I just completed my degree in communicative English and media studies and I am very happy to say that I never flunked in a single subject through my degree. I definitely want to pursue my studies. From my childhood days, I have always been interested in art. I have always loved music, painting and even writing.  Cinema is an amalgamation of several fields, art, science, photography and so much more. If not as an actor, I would have definitely come into the industry one way or other for I strongly feel that this is where I belong. Yes, it is a very difficult career choice for there is a lot of hard work, manual work, stress and long working hours but this is what I love doing.

Inspiration?

I have no role models. Whenever I meet someone, the first thought that comes to my mind is, ‘How did that person reach where he is today?’ I feel everyone around me has something in them that inspires me in some way or the other. It could be my co-star, my makeup artist or my hair stylist – there is always something positive in everyone that can inspire us.

What has been you biggest learnings from Cinema?

The exposure that one gets in the film industry is what thrills me!  Every film is a new environment, new crew, new script, it’s absolutely refreshing and the exposure that you get here is unrivalled. So much so, that I haven’t really missed my college days or time with my peers. I have also learnt a lot of important human values like humility, patience, being respectful and grounded. In the school of Cinema, I am just a beginner and I know that I have a long way to go!

Rapid Fire:

  • I Love God
  • I Detest Negative vibes
  • I Am On my journey of self-exploration
  • I Desire Tranquillity
  • I Admire Wisdom