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Nadia spelt fun

INTERVIEW The star of the 80s, Nadia Moidu, talks about her films and family

Trendsetter Nadia Moithu

Images of a stylishly dressed, hip girl riding a bicycle with neighbourhood kids flashed through my mind as I waited for actor Nadia Moidu in the hotel lobby. She emerges from the dimly lit corridor on the dot, looking every inch like ‘Girlie&# 8217; — the character she played in her debut film Nokkethadoorathu Kannum Nattu.

The Kerala-born Mumbaikar was introduced to films by Fazil with whom she had three consecutive hits.

“Fazil uncle launched me simultaneously in Malayalam and Tamil,” she says. Poove Poochoodava, the Tamil version of Nokkethadoorathu… was her first Tamil film.

She went on to give many a hit in Tamil and Malayalam including Shyama, Vannu Kandu Keezhadakki, Panchagni, Uyire Unakkaga, Paadu Nilave, Nilave Malare and Anbulla Appa. Nadia became the symbol of the cosmopolitan middle-class girl.

As one of the blogs about her says, “The so-called middle class heroines (in the films) of the 1980s always had a miserable time. They either lived for their family, or were slaves to their ever-dominating husbands.” Until Nadia came into the picture. Cinema suddenly realised that middle class characters could also mean fun, cool clothes and loving families. Says Nadia: “I don’t know if I redefined any images, but I enjoyed playing all my roles. And I am one person who finds joy in whatever I do. I have also had a middle-class upbringing, and I cherish those values. It taught me to give more and take less. And, I did whatever I believed in. It gave me happiness and I could show that on screen as well.”

Dress code

And whatever she was on screen soon became the trend of the season. “I do believe in dressing up. No matter where you are and what you do, you need to follow a dress code. Luckily, the roles I played had scope to dress up. But I have always made it a point to be minimalist. I was aware that my dressing style was being imitated, so I was extra careful about it.”

But then what made her take the decision to give up that joy?

“I was in love. My boyfriend was in the U.S. when I was working in films. And, we communicated only through an occasional phone call and letter. After a point, we both got a little insecure about being so far away from each other. So we decided to get married.” Nadia then, abruptly cut her rising career graph. She returned to films after a gap of almost two decades with the lead role in the Tamil film M Kumaran Son of Mahalakshmi.

“My husband pushed me into films this time. But I am not actively into acting, since I have two girls to bring up. I don’t believe in the numbers game. I am here to do quality work and I am sure whatever you do with commitment will be recognised and remembered.”

Well, one can see that she is right. Though she never worked with the big names in Tamil cinema, she had a remarkable career in the 1980s. “I was offered films with Kamal Hassan. And Mani Ratnam had approached me for Mouna Ragam. I declined both since I was busy with other projects.

“Actually, it didn’t occur to me that I haven’t worked with the so-called doyens until it was pointed out to me now. I was that content with my work,” she says.


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