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In a class of her own

VIJAY GEORGE

Yesteryear actor Shari is back in Mollywood after a hiatus.



Roles of substance: ‘Chocolate’ saw Shari make a comeback to Malayalam films.

Her passion for cinema that saw her give some fine performances in her heyday is still intact. Back in Mollywood after a hiatus, the light-eyed Shari says she is excited to be back on the big screen.

“I’m happy doing what I love the most – acting in Malayalam films. I wondered if the younger generation would recognise me, but I was overwhelmed by the passion with which they speak about the films I did in the late Eighties,” says Shari.

It was her love for classical dance that brought her close to tinsel world. “Also, my grandmother was an actor and she encouraged me to work in this field. Although I did act in some Tamil films after being introduced in Malayalam by director Padmarajan in ‘Deshadanakkili Karayarilla,’ I decided to be a Malayali at heart,” says Shari who grew up in Chennai.

Best role

Her best role, till date, is, perhaps, her character in Padmarajan’s ‘Namukku Parkkan Munthirithoppukal.’ The role of Sophia, a never-say-die girl who lives in perpetual fear of her stepfather, fetched her a State Award for the best actress in 1986.

Shari believes that the stories in those days had more depth. But she is quick to point out: “The whole concept of entertainment has got a new meaning now and the stories we see now may be the need of the hour as well.”

Shari has to her credit some fine performances in films such as ‘Oru Maymasappulariyil,’ ‘Ponmuttayidunna Tharavu,’ ‘Nombarathippoovu,’ ‘Aparan’ and ‘Jathakam’ among others.

She has also acted in some Tamil and Telugu movies. She moved away from the arc lights after her marriage and made her comeback in Malayalam last year with the blockbuster ‘Chocolate.’

“It was a surprise for me as the location for ‘Chocolate’ was in Ernakulam, where I had started my career in Malayalam. The difference was that I was playing a student then, and in ‘Chocolate,’ my role was that of the principal of a college,” she laughs.

She is now acting in V.K. Prakash’s ‘Positive’ after a role in the recently released ‘Novel.’ Shari says she was waiting for the right role to make her return to Mollywood.

A privilege

“Looking back, I consider myself lucky to have got the kind of roles I essayed in my films. It is a privilege to have been introduced by such a gifted filmmaker like Padmarajan. I had no clue about acting when I first faced the camera and he instilled the confidence in me. I had a tomboyish character with some lengthy dialogues in my first film and the whole unit helped me in bringing out my best,” she recalls.

In fact, it was Padmarajan and cinematographer Venu who told her to stop wearing contact lenses to hide her light-coloured eyes.

“As some of my Tamil directors had suggested hiding my light-coloured eyes, I used to wear contact lenses while facing the camera. However, during the shoot, cinematographer Venu spotted this and Padmarajan convinced me that my eyes suited my looks. He told me that it was, in fact, the colour of my eyes that prompted him to choose me for the role,” she says.

Does she feel odd when her heroes of those days continue romancing young stars while she is getting into character roles? “Absolutely not. I am only bothered about my roles,” she maintains.

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