The hot starlet has three back to back releases lined up already!
In a very short span of time, this young actor has carved a niche for herself. This year, four of her much awaited movies are set for back to back release! Each of them are unique and challenging in its own way and Samyuktha Menon can’t wait to see her movies come alive on screen! RITZ has a freewheeling chat with the beautiful actress who is ready for some serious action in Mollywood!
Interview: Riya Sonny Datson
Photography: Shafi Shakkeer
Photography Assistants: Anwar, Hadil
Costumes and Styling: Janki Prakash
Jewelry: Adona Diamonds
Makeup: Subi Ganesh
Location: Courtyard by Marriott Kochi Airport hotel
Tell us about your role in ‘Theevandi’ opposite Tovino Thomas.
After watching the initial teasers, I think the audience have a misconception that it is a romantic movie. Yes, it has romance, humour and family drama but it is set in the backdrop of political satire. I play the role of a village damsel, whose father is a member of a political party. She falls in love with an unemployed young man (played by Tovino), who happens to be a chain smoker and hence the nickname ‘theevandi’. We had an awesome time shooting for the movie and all I can say is that the 47 days of our shoot were the happiest days of my life!
Director Fellini, his core team and Tovino were already great friends…so I was the only one who seemed to be ‘new on the block’. Initially, I was apprehensive about breaking the ice and being a part of the team but it all fell into place easily and we had a great rapport throughout the shoot. It didn’t feel like a typical film making process as we had detailed discussions through each scene of the movie. Everyone seemed proactive and there was a great sync within the team. On the whole, it was a beautiful movie under a top production banner with some of the top actors and a wonderful crew! To me, it felt like a perfect package of happiness and vacation!
How was the experience working with Tovino Thomas?
This is the first time I am acting with a top star. On my way to the location, I was wondering about how Tovino would be. But I was in for a surprise. He is very down to earth and treats everyone right from his co-stars to the production boys with the same kind of respect and love. I felt extremely comfortable working with him.
It was extremely difficult!! We have around seven scenes where I am slapping him and that meant doing atleast 15 takes to get it all right! Imagine my plight…I was extremely uncomfortable but thanks to Tovino, he made me feel completely at ease.
‘Lilly’ by E4 Entertainments seems like a very challenging role….
Yes, it was a very challenging role. I would say, this is as realistic as it gets. The film portrays the story of a pregnant woman who is protecting herself and her unborn baby from her enemies. There is a certain amount of violence and bloodshed and we are waiting for the censorship. It is expected to reach theatres in September. ‘Lilly’ is the foundation of my career as it was the first movie where I actually got to explore the nuances of film making. It made me fall in love with Cinema! It is only because of my performance in Lilly that I got my break in ‘Theevandi’. The director and producer really prepared me for the role, I was involved in the pre-production for almost 3 months – watching movies,
taking part in workshops and interacting with the team. By the time we started shoot, I became so involved that I was really beginning to walk and move around like a pregnant woman. I really began to experience motherhood emotionally. Even after we wrapped up, it took me almost 2 months to get out of the skin of the character! So in many ways, Lilly is very special to me. It is produced under E4 experiment wing of E4 entertainment which is a new segment. It is definitely a unique movie. If it succeeds, it will definitely be a milestone not just for us but for Malayalam Cinema.
You have also completed a Tamil movie with Krishna Kulasekaran…
Yes, we completed filming for Kiranchand Sir’s movie last year but due to unexpected issues, the film’s release got delayed. But it is releasing very soon. I am really looking forward to it.
Do have any fears while facing the camera?
Not at all!! I have never had any stage fright since childhood. I have always loved the stage! Someone once told me that when you look into the camera, you are looking at billions of people! Though the thought stuck to me, I have never had any fear of the camera. Even when it comes to life, I did like to take things as it comes…I have read in a book that life should be like driving in the dark. When you drive at night, the headlight lets you see a maximum of what is 200m ahead of you but you can’t see beyond that until you travel further. And that’s
exactly how I would like to see life, I just need to know about the present for now, will take the rest as it comes!
Any roles that you really want to portray?
I love the suspense and unpredictability of Cinema. I never knew which movie is coming my way or which role I was going to take up. I don’t know if the audience will accept it but that’s the thrill of it! I would like to take it as it comes.
The last we chatted you were pursuing BA Economics…
I have dropped the course. Only because I felt that I needed to focus on what I love doing. If there is a plan B, then I feel I wouldn’t give plan A my 100 percent! For now, Cinema is my passion and my only plan. I don’t want to focus on anything else!
How does it feel to be a part of such great projects?
I don’t know if this is what is destiny. I still can’t believe that I am an actress and that I have already completed working for three different films. I don’t know if it will sink in either. I am enjoying the process of film making now but I have lots more to learn. I am reading books, watching movies and I have started to focus more on what I need to do.
Are you conscious of beauty and fitness?
Yes, very conscious! I have come to realise that everything that tastes good can’t be healthy – be it sugar, salt or spice! You need to have food that will help you stay healthy and fit! I stay away from sugar and fried items now. My food habits have changed a lot but I have no regrets!
I have signed a movie with Dulquer Salman. I have some interesting offers and I am expecting to sign new projects very soon.
- My dream: To sponsor a child/ Start a palliative care for the elderly!
- My passion: Films
- ‘Me’ time: Traveling
- My Ideal Holiday: Rishikesh
- My fashion Statement: Anything comfortable
- Unforgettable movie: Orphan
- My obsession: My life
- My proud possession: Lilly
- Secret indulgence: Secret!