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An actress who plays her roles with aplomb

S.R. Ashok Kumar

"For `Thavamai Thavamirunthu' I had to do a bit of homework. I observed people in Karaikudi. Only after doing that was I able to do the role justice."



Saranya

Saranya started her career rather young but with a bang. Her first Tamil film was `Nayagan,' the blockbuster based on Mumbai Tamil don Varadaraja Mudaliar, opposite Kamal Haasan. From then on she has done some wonderful roles; most recently she played the role of a mother in `Thavamai Thavamirunthu' to rave reviews. Saranya talks about her life, ambition and also her experiences in the film industry.

I take life as it comes and my first priority is my home. Cooking, stitching, rangoli and taking care of my children are things that give me satisfaction.

I did `Nayagan' in 1987. Till now I have finished nearly 75 films in different languages.

`Nayagan' was selected as one of the 100 best films in the world and gave me global recognition. My recent memorable roles were in `Ram' and the just-released `Thavamai Thavamirunthu.'

I did not feel bad about doing mother roles. I am happy having done good character roles. I need not feel ashamed of my films in front of my children or grandchildren as all the films I have done till now are very good. I had the opportunity to do only meaningful, message-oriented, neat and clean films. Sure, I got some `running round the trees' roles after `Nayagan.' But my taste does not run to such movies, so I did not do many such movies.

In `Thavamai Thavamirunthu' I did the mother role with a challenge. I am an urban woman, playing the role of a village mother.

I finished my schooling and then Nutrition and Dietetics at the Women's Christian College. So when the role of a village mother came in Cheran's film I had to do a little bit of homework on the character. I observed people in Karaikudi. ... how they talked, walked and sat. I even paid attention to how they wore a sari.

Only after doing that was I able to do the role justice. Many people have appreciated my performance in the movie, including one woman who said that I would certainly get the national award for my performance.

In Hindi, my favourite stars are Smita Patil and Jaya Bhaduri. My all time favourite is Sridevi. Among males, my favourites are Sanjeev Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan. In Tamil films, it's Rajnikant and Kamal Haasan, mainly for his comedy performances in `Kalyana Raman' and `Avvai Shanmughi.'

For nearly five years I have been babysitting at home. One day Geetha Kailasam from Minnbimbangal called me to do "Veetukku Veedu Lootty". I asked her whether I would be able to do justice to a comedy role.

She gave me the confidence that I could; my husband, Ponvannan, also told me that I could perform comedy with ease.

I don't have to prove my talents or my potential any more. After doing mother roles people may want me to typecast me in the role. I am ready to do them but I would also like to do some meaningful roles, that a woman of 35 can perform. I would like to work with the best directors, who can give me good roles and who will spur me to work with enthusiasm.

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