A Walk with ‘Gautami’ into the unexplored world of ‘Namadhu’
The state of heartsease prevail as you stride through the lanes of East Coast Road, especially when you glimpse on the lazy clouds and soothing breeze brushing your senses, it’s a delight that every Chennaite would never want to miss. And then, it turned to be more splendiferous to have an interaction with the industry’s reigning queen Gautami, who has found no ends to her curiosities and passion, when it comes to cinema. With an ambience brimming with serenity with trees and fresh air, I got more enlivened with this interaction, which wasn’t just about her upcoming film ‘Namadhu’, but it was more inspirational to listen to the words on her journey of roller-coaster ride and life changing moments too.
Your comeback in acting is indeed a great excitement for the fans, which are enjoying your proficient performance on the screens. So what propelled you to choose ‘Namadhu’?
To put in a better way, I would say the ‘Project’ chose me instead of me picking it up. When director Chandrashekar Yeleti approached me with the script with a motive to cast me for a lead, I was in a state of incredulous thought and instantly asked him, “Why me when there are lots of actors who would do best than me?” To my surprise, he totted up saying that I was the first one who came to his mind for the role of ‘Gayathri’ as he started writing the script before two years.
So what was the first and foremost appeal that you felt with the character ‘Gayathri’?
To be honest, I would say ‘Character’ comes second and my first priority was what the film is all about. I have grown past the stage, where I have done many films and diversified roles too. The film ‘Namadhu’ has lots of components that ascribe it to be an unparalleled film and everything remains to be in right proportions. The film has a big star-cast and it’s an anthology that would have a strong premise of plot and narration.
In depth or at some extent, does the character ‘Gayathri’ reflect your real life?
Undoubtedly, there would be some reflections, but it’s not about playing my real life role. As you grow and live your life, you assimilate your life experiences. Everyone goes through ups and downs in their lives and I am not exception. It’s how we take it when we look back down the memory lane tells who we are. It gradually adds more facets to your performance. As I told, that doesn’t mean I am projecting my real life character. It’s a role ideated by the director and I have to play it, bringing his vision into reality.
So who are the actors accompanying your part of story in ‘Namadhu’?
My portions would have Urvashi with me and then there is the most iconic actor Gollapudi Maruthi Rao and few more characters. I would say, it was really an amazing experience to work with them.
Getting a little away from the zone of cinema, so how do you feel about your life now?
Life has been a roller coaster and I have been through ups and down. I feel so good now to back in films. I have a great love for cinema. I am always so curious to find myself behind or before the camera. Moreover, I feel like today is the most exciting time in Cinema. I wouldn’t say the growth of audiences has become enormous for they’ve always been there at best numbers, but their scope has enlarged. At the pinnacle of Globalization, we find the audiences in a much expanded panorama through Smartphone.
For anyone, it’s a dream yearned and pondered relentlessly – Meeting the spiritual icon like Dalai Lama… How were those moments?
He is someone more about humanity and nature. When you someone to influence to the course of world affairs, entire people, so many individuals with so much of goodwill and love, but with gentleness. It’s really remarkable.
Was it a life changing moment for you?
Of course, these are the moments that make you remember there is so much in the world to get inspired and achieve. We are caught up like frogs in the well preoccupied with our own crisis. It is when you meet people like them, who are actually belonging to the world, it reminds you to get out of this, open your eyes and lead a bigger life.
As an actor, have you ever believed there is a huge responsibility towards people and society?
Undoubtedly! I am not going to tell the brand name. But there was a brand going to launch the product of Face Bleach and they wanted me to be their ambassador. I gave my resentments saying “I am not going to do this and don’t believe in such concepts. This is not something I would tell the girl or endorse saying that if you’re this colour, you’re not good enough. This is surely damaging not just the girls, but entire human being.
So how about writing your autobiography or biography on Kamal Haasan sir?
Kamal Haasan! I just leave it to him and I am not someone who isn’t going to dictate my own daughter itself. As far as I am concerned, I would definitely try my hand at writing.
Heroines of your times, like Suhasini Manirathnam and Rohini have explored new arena of films by making movies. Do you plan up such experiments in near future?
Oh no! They’re seniors to me and I don’t want to compare myself with them. They were seniors when I was just beginning my filmdom. But on my part, I feel Sky is the limit and that’s a good way to live. Let’s see what’s in store for future.
Switching back to the film ‘Namadhu’, how did you find the technical crew to work with?
One thing that audiences would feel special about this film is that even the well known places in city would look like a new explored backdrop. Cinematographer Rahul has carved a niche with his visual sense although he is young in age working on his third movie. His dedication is so immense and you won’t hear his voice at whispering state. He remains so silent, but never gives into compromises. Even the small and minutest details, he would make sure of scrupulous efforts of getting the perfect results. Music Director Mahesh, yet another young technician in the team has worked his best on musical part.
Being a trilingual film, would the backdrops of the film remains as a barrier for audiences of different regions to relate with.
That’s the beauty of this film as it will suit any regional backdrops. The film has a universal subject and people you see here would be reflection of normal Indians. As an audience, everyone will recognize some part of the film coinciding or reflecting their very own lives.
Couple of lines you would tell about ‘Namadhu’ as an audience…
What I would sincerely tell the audience is this is a film that has to be watched. It’s not for the story, but the kind of cinema. It belongs to the very mainstream league and not an art kind of movie. It will definitely reach out to the entire family. Something that everyone would relate with, laugh, cry and feel the thrill throughout the course of film… The kind of passion exerted into the film has to be encouraged, not just for the sake of this film, but for other filmmakers to be encouraged to come up with unique experiments.
When we say a film belongs to ‘Drama’ genre, there seems to be a synonymous terms like ‘Slow and Sluggish’ Screenplay often tagged to it. So how would you relate this with ‘Namadhu’?
One of the most common things we hear these days from audiences are them telling the ‘Second Half’ is dragging. This is something mandatory we get to see in many feedbacks and reviews. Filmmaker Chandrashekar Yeleti has crafted an engaging screenplay that few who have already watched the film unanimously claim the second hour to be more thrilling