“The Actor, Whether He Or She Is Big Or Small, Is Any Day Smaller Than The Film In Which He Or She Is Acting”- Nithya Menen
At the outset, Nithya Menen, who is extremely bubbly and exceedingly charming tells me that though she had received many offers to make her debut in Hindi films for the past several years, she made it a point to opt to make her debut in Bollywood only with Mission Mangal starring Akshay Kumar with Sonakshi Sinha, Vidya Balan, Kirti Kulhari, Taapse Pannu and herself only because she is extremely choosy and the role appealed to her emotionally as the film has a universal appeal and is very sensitive to the core , besides being topical and contemporary.
Nithya continues, “Even down South, I have always been choosy as an actress and inevitably the roles that I have chosen have always had to match my sensitivity. I always make it a point to look out for specific kind of roles. Till date, I have worked in all the four South Indian languages including Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada. I feel that Hindi is just yet another language and frankly I was never extra keen that I should make my splash in a film in Hindi.”
I ask her whether the reason was that she is a reigning actress and hence did not want to dilute her stake there by coming forward to acting in Hindi films. Nithya replies without batting her eye lids. “If only I was afraid of taking up a Hindi film because I am a reigning queen down South, I would not have decided to take up the offer to act in Mission Mangal because it is an ensemble film. I have always been part of ensemble films down South and have also done guest appearances and never ever planned or strategized as an actor. I have always been happy with my choices as an actor and never tried to manipulate my way towards films.
Nithya says that always she saw herself as just an actor and is of the opinion that an actor should always be smaller than the film and a film should be bigger than an actor as well as more important. I consider myself as just a tiny part of a film and always I think about what I can give a film instead of thinking what a film can give me. Take it from me, I have certain sensibilities and I just cannot cater to the kind of roles which do not have any soul.”
I tell her that I am a Malayali myself since my parents hailed form Kerala and ask her gingerly on what basis she decides to take up an offer to act in a film. And Nithya is in her elements. “If the person who approaches me with a role is authentic and genuine, I decide to take up my role but do not think at all in terms of my character in terms of my screen space but ask what is significant in the film. If I am the heroine but have nothing at all to do in the film, then I do not agree to be a part of it but if it is a small role which has a lot of weight and is meaty, I’d still do a film.”
Talking about her role in the film Mission Mangal, Nithya exults, “I play a Tamilian satellite designer in the film called Varsha Pillai. I liked the way I was approached to play the role in Mission Mangal because down South I used to playing roles like the one that I am doing in an ensemble film like Mission Mangal. I have always realized that my fans relate to me for the kind of a person that I am in real life and not just for the sake of my beauty. I can sense that any kind of project that is based solely on the basis of a commercial subject loses its soul by the time it is made. I give top priority to the story and actors come only afterwards in my scheme lo things”.
Though Mission Mangal is her first film in Hindi, Nithya says that she is happy the audiences in Mumbai have already started mobbing her for selfies whenever she goes for shopping here, because many of her films in Tamil and Malayalam have already been dubbed and telecast in Hindi with different titles. “Once I asked a fan who came to seek a selfie whether he knew who I was and she told me that she had seen me in a film called Heart Attack. I still do not know which South Indian film of mine was dubbed and telecast withy that title.”
Nithya is brutally frank. “I do not think I will feel alive if a film of mine does not boast of good content. In that case, I’d feel stagnant. Languages have never been barriers to me when it comes to acting in good films. I would love to do films in all languages. Now that after working in the four South Indian languages, I am also making my debut in a Hindi film like Mission Mangal, I am keen on trying my luck in films in Marathi as well as Bengali because I know for a fact that they lay emphasis on content there.”
Nithya is honest to confess that though she does look out for content is the films that she agrees to do, she does not at all feel competitive with any other actor and feels that people should not be encourage to compete with one another or feel jealous about co-actors, especially because all of us actors have specific qualities which are unique to us and are basically very different from one another.”
Though she says that it is a good time to be in Bollywood as good films are being made today, Nithya warns that it may sound bizarre but the fact is that she does not watch Hindi films at all. “I do not follow what the trends are in Bollywood and never bothered to know what is happening in Bollywood and the only film that I went out to see in a theatre was Lunch Box. I am eager to work with is Irrfan Khan, who has earlier worked with Malayalam actors like Parvati and Dulqar Salman in films like Qareeb Qareeb Single and Caravan”
Though she has acted in super hit films like OK Kanmani, she is glad that she was not approached to be part of its remake when it was made in Hindi as OK Jaanu by Shaad Ali, because she feels that it is difficult to create the magic of the original version. “As an actor, you should keep on creating new things and make your part believable. OTT is my space. It is a good space, because it purely content driven and there is no compromise involved and as an actor you are allowed to be as subtle as you can. I am excited about acting in the web series Breathe 2 opposite Abhishek Bachchan, because I feel that there is a lot more to be extracted from me as an actress till date”, says Nithya.
Nithya Menen considers the Tamil film Merisal and then Tamil film Iru Mugam in which she had essayed the role of the cop, says that she likes to flow with the moment and there is no strategy or continuity in what she does as an actor. She signs off by stating that right now she is all set to work down South in Aaram Thiru Kalpana (Malayalam) a crime thriller with Shine Tom Chacko as a cop and Ajay Devalok as the director, besides the web series Breathe 2
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Tags: Bollywood, Bollywood News, Bollywood Updates, Television, Telly News, Nithya Menen, Mission Mangal