I am basically a quiet person and like to remain at home. The music system is my best companion and I hear music 6-7 hours everyday.
How was the transition, from Hindi to Tamil?
Language was initially a problem. I have overcome that. Even if I had made a success of Hindi films I don't think I would have done films like say, "Kushi," "Kakka Kakka," "Paerazhagan" and "Chandramukhi."
From "Vaali" to "Chandramukhi" you have come a long way.
Well, I have actually grown only in the past two years. In "Vaali," I did a guest role and "Kushi" earned me the bubbly girl tag. Things changed after "Kakka Kakka" and "Paerazhagan." And "Chandramukhi" has made people sit up and take notice. Now the offers I get are for meaningful roles.
The "Chandramukhi" background?
Oh, it was pure luck. It is common knowledge that Simran was considered first and then it came to me. I grabbed the offer. I was on cloud nine although I felt nervous about acting with Rajnikanth. But things turned out very well and it is easily the best I've done so far. I thank Rajni for giving the title role to the female star. But then he has never shied away from giving prominence to women in his films Vijayashanti in "Mannan" and Ramya in "Padayappa," for instance, were given equal importance.
Thanks also to Prabhu and Ramkumar and of course director Vasu. All of them were confident that I'd do justice to the role. Vasu, especially, was very helpful. I saw Shobana in "Manichitrathazhu." It was a magnificent performance. But Vasu didn't want me to imitate her. He wanted something different and enacted the scenes. I just followed his instructions.
Did you feel badly that you were only the second choice?
Frankly, yes. After all I've worked here for seven years and have been loyal to the Tamil industry. But once work started all the negative thoughts vanished.
Have you seen the film in a cinema hall?
Yes, nine times, in disguise. And I loved every minute of it. I was moved to tears each time the audience applauded my performance. Not every girl gets a role like this in her career.
Nagma and you are entirely different. Can you elaborate?
Nagma started her career in Telugu and remained at the top for nine years. I started in Tamil. They are two different cultures and we evolved as different actors. Nagma has some Tamil hits to her credit "Kadhalan," "Badsha" and others. I think comparisons are meaningless.
What do you think is necessary for an artiste in Tamil and do the norms vary in Hindi?
There is a vast difference between Hindi and Tamil. For Hindi your first film must be a hit. But here it is the performance that counts. My first film, "Poovellam Kettuppar," did not do well commercially but I was noticed.
In Hindi, looks and glamour matter. Here if you find a place in people's heart you're fairly secure. They remember you for the good roles you have played.
Has "Chandramukhi's" success changed your perceptions, about choosing roles?
Well, one has to be realistic. While every role cannot be "Chandramukhi," I'd like to avoid the routine come-dance-disappear kind. I'd definitely look out for meaty stuff.
At present, I'm doing a film with Kamal Hassan which offers me good scope.
Do you believe in ghosts?
Yes, I do. Recently I saw "Vasthu Sastra" and did not sleep for three nights.
Actors turn to production and direction. Do you have an inclination towards either of these departments?
I have not given it a thought right now. Direction no, production may be later.
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