Life after Nadodigal and Shikaar
Though Ananya's first two Malayalam films went unnoticed, she did win many fans in Tamil Nadu for her outstanding performance as Nallamma in Naadodigal.
Now she has bagged a handful of roles in Malayalam the latest being Shikaar with Mohanlal, which has brought her back to the limelight.
Here's what she has to say about the two most important films of her career. Excerpts:
Shikaar is a commercial hit but it is an out-and-out Mohanlal movie. Do you think acting in such a film was a wise move on your part?
Shikaar came to me after Naadodikal. I was really excited to do the role because the character is good. It tells the story of a cop and his family against the backdrop of naxalism.
Shikaar is also the first Malayalam film of Samuthirakani sir, the director of Nadodikal. This also prompted me to act in the film. The film is a hit and as a part of the team, I am also happy.
Mohanlal is a great actor but I don't think his performance overshadowed mine. He is the protagonist and I play his daughter. I think I have my own space in the film.
Shikaar is a smash hit and I also got appreciation for my role. I feel doing this project was the best decision taken by me.
'Mohanlal sir congratulated me on my stunts in Shikaar'
In the climax scene of Shikaar, you have done some risky shots. It was reported that Mohanlal was very impressed with your performance in that shot...
We shot the climax at the Guna cave in Kodiakanal where I was required to hang between the rocks. Our stunt master Thyagarajan sir wanted the shot to be done using a dupe (stunt person). But I said I would do it myself. It was a risky shot and everyone including Mohanlal sir advised me not to attempt it. But I was very stubborn. I told them that I was ready to take the risk. After the shot, Mohanlal sir congratulated me and said that I was really brave. I was on cloud nine. It was like an energizer for me.
How was the experience of shooting for Nadodigal?
Nallamma was a gift to me by God. When Samuthirakani sir and his team came down to Ernakulam and chose me, I was really thrilled as it was the Subramaniapuram team. But when I reached Chennai for the shoot, I got a shock. Only then I came to know that the director of the Subramaniapuram was going to act with me in the film. This was more than any newcomer could dream for.
On the first day of the shoot, I was really tense. But the crew was fantastic. At that time my Tamil was horrible but the team patiently taught the language that I never felt as if I was working in an alien language. The character got noticed and Nadodikal was a huge hit.
Image: Ananya and Mohanlal in Shikaar
'There are many actors to do glamorous roles'
After the success of Nadodigal, don't you think you are being typecast?
I commit to a film only if there is scope for performance. Nallamma was a good launch pad for a newcomer. Yes, the films that came to me after Nadodikal were similar ones. But I see this as a blessing. There are many actors to do glamorous roles. Let me do these kinds of roles! But what appeals to me are good characters and good banners.
What are your new projects?
In Malayalam, I have three films lined up for release. Ithu Nammude katha, a film by Rajesh Kannankara, who is a popular TV serial director. I am cast opposite Asif Ali of Rithu Fame. It is a story of friendship told against the backdrop of the backwaters of Kavalam. I play an innocent village girl.
Rajasenan Sir's Oru Small Family is the other film which is awaiting release. The film is about a small family and the ups and the downs they face. Kailash of Neelathamara Fame is cast opposite me.
Another upcoming film is Achan Balan Makan Beeman, a film by K K Haridas, which is expected to release by end of this year.
I am also a part of the most awaited film of the year, Kandahar that stars Mohanlal and Amitabh Bachchan.
Image: A scene from Nadodigal