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Beyond movies

Beyond the glitz of cinema, Nithya Menen hopes to start a school and teach children



Play act Nitya Menen

It wouldn't be inappropriate to call Nithya Menen ‘a reluctant actress'. She is passionate about cinema but is far removed from the quest for stardom. “I studied journalism and was idealistic as a student. In course of time, I learnt that there's a lot of politics and it's not easy to put forth your point of view as an investigative journalist. The next option, I thought, would be to become a filmmaker and give voice to my opinion. I never thought I'd end up as an actress,” she says.

The bubbly actor who was part of this year's biggest surprise hit, “Ala Modalaindi” speaks her mind, even if its means being politically incorrect.

In town to promote her new film, “180,” she says, “I was eight years old when I was offered a film. And before I knew it, I was acting in Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu movies. People in Andhra Pradesh treat me like a girl next door after ‘Ala Modalaindi'. Despite all this, I can't help feel that cinema is not where I want to be. I have different dreams for myself — I love to teach children and hope to start a school some day; I'd love to work with animals. At one point I wanted to be a wildlife photographer. I also love to travel, so maybe I'd do travel writing….”

This reluctant actor, however, has shown a natural flair for acting and has 13 films to her credit in the last six years. She can do an out-of-the-box project like “Kerala Café” (Malayalam), a hard hitting “Veppam” (this Tamil film starring her and Nani will be dubbed in Telugu as “Sega”), a breezy “Ala Modalaindi”, a period drama like Santhosh Sivan's “Urumi” (Malayalam) and a romantic bilingual like “180”.

“It's been a pleasure to get such a range of films,” Nithya says.

“Santosh Sivan believes in making his actors emote spontaneously. Director Jayendra had a different approach. In ‘180', I am an inquisitive journalist who meets Siddharth.Nithya is not a bundle of nerves before a big release. “At times I don't even watch my movies. I hate to see myself on screen. I can only find faults,” she laughs. She adds that she doesn't believe in rehearsing before a scene.

“I believe there are two kinds of actors — method actors and the spontaneous. I am spontaneous and it has worked for me. You are either a born actor or you aren't.”

Often compared to actor Soundarya, she takes it as a compliment. “Since Soundarya, perhaps there hasn't been anyone that people could relate to.

She was loved and respected,” she says. Apart from two Malayalam films, a Telugu film, “Ishq” , co-starring Nitin, is on the cards.

SANGEETHA DEVI DUNDOO

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