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Stepping into a new phase

P.K. AJITH KUMAR

Lakshmi Gopalaswamy has become a familiar face on the small screen thanks to ‘Thakadhimi,’ a dance-based reality show on Asianet.


Two of her films, ‘Thaniye’ and ‘Paradeshi,’ were screened at the 12th International Film Festival of Kerala.


Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash

Eloquent eyes: Lakshmi Gopalaswamy is back in the reckoning in Malayalam films after her sterling performance in ‘Thaniye’ and ‘Paradeshi.’

Her new role has Lakshmi Gopalaswamy appearing as one of the judges of ‘Thakadhimi,’ a dance-based reality show on Asianet. Her Malayalam may not quite be perfect, but her eyes speak eloquently. Two of her films, ‘Thaniye’ ; and ‘Paradeshi,’ were screened at the 12th International Film Festival of Kerala, which concludes in Thiruvananthapuram today.

Lakshmi is indeed glad that she is back in the reckoning in the entertainment sphere of Kerala.

Learning experience

“I am glad I am doing ‘Thakadhimi.’ I enjoy it a great deal. Closely watching the dancers perform has also been a learning experience for me. I am impressed by many of these young dancers, some of whom come from humble backgrounds. Somebody is a mason while some other dancer works in a small restaurant. This is the first time I am working on a reality show and I have had a good time so far,” she says.

The show is also a reminder that Malayalam cinema has not tapped this actor enough. Why Lakshmi has been featured in only about a dozen films in seven years is something of a mystery. The trained dancer began her career well with ‘Arayannangalude Veedu’ and ‘Kochu Kochu Santhoshangal.’ “Even I am surprised that I could do only a few Malayalam films. Maybe things would change now, with the kind of appreciation I have been getting for ‘Thaniye’ and ‘Paradeshi,’” she hopes.

In ‘Thaniye’ she acts as a home nurse who looks after a lonely, elderly man, while ‘Paradeshi’ has her acting as a Muslim woman.

“I was confident that I would look the character, but the way my role shaped up was bit of a surprise,” admits Lakshmi. She acknowledges the help she received from Mohanlal during the making of ‘Paradeshi.’ “He gave hints that helped me in a big way. He had suggested that I sing aloud, not just mime, while shooting for the song ‘Thattam pidich...’ Maybe that’s the reason why the song came out well on the screen. For my performance in ‘Thaniye,’ I should give full credit to Nedumudi Venu.”

Another role close to her heart is that of the young dancer whose artistic ambitions are thwarted by her husband in ‘Kochu Kochu Santhoshangal.’

“I have been learning Bharatanatyam from the age of eight. Dance would always be my first love and I must say my status as an actor in Malayalam has helped me in my career as a dancer,” she says. Except in Karnataka, her home State, Lakshmi is nearly always mistaken for a Malayali girl.

She was cast in ‘Arayannangalude Veedu’ because Blessy suggested her name to Lohithadas after watching her television ad for a tea company. She admits she hasn’t picked the right movie all the time after that.

“Maybe playing the mother of a grown-up boy in ‘Boyfriend’ so early in my career was not the wisest thing to do, but that film helped me grow as an actor,” she says. Lakshmi has been acting in a Tamil serial ‘Lakshmi,’ on Sun TV for the last one year.

“The serial is pretty popular and I am playing a character so unlike me that I have to ask myself if it is really me,” she says. As far as television is concerned, she prefers something like ‘Thakadhimi,’ though.

“All the dancers are good, but I don’t know why some of our boys are still fascinated so much by break dance. I hope they appreciate the amazing depth and variety of Indian classical dance too. And I know, eventually it would be the viewers who would choose the winner; I hope they vote for the best dancer. As judges we could help them make the right choice,” says Lakshmi.

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