'I freaked out to know my Tamil debut was a bilingual'
... says Mehreen Pirzada of Phillauri fame, who's making her Tamil debut with Suseenthiran's Nenjil Thunivirundhal
If you're not a keen follower of Telugu and Hindi cinema, you'll likely know Mehreen Pirzada from the popular Thums Up ad featuring Vishal. The Phillauri actress is making her debut with Suseenthiran's Nenjil Thunivirundhal starring Sundeep Kishan, and as we sit down to speak at the film's audio launch, she begins with how she got on board. "I think it's because Suseenthiran sir was looking for a girl to play a role very similar to the one I played in my debut Telugu film, Krishna Gaadi Veera Prema Gaadha," she says. "In this film, I play Janani, a college girl, who I think has one of the best heroine introduction scenes ever. She's a happy-go-lucky, confident girl, and yet rowdy-ish in nature. Every time she comes on screen, people will laugh, and the character's very close to who I really am. My character is the only entertainment in this otherwise intense film," she says.
The Punjabi actress had a hard time trying to learn Tamil for the film. She says she's never ever visited Tamil Nadu before she signed up for this film. "It was hard in the beginning. I am also still new to the whole process of filmmaking. But thankfully, the whole atmosphere was positive. The cast and crew didn't make me feel like an outsider at all."
Curiously, she says she was shocked to learn that the film is being made as a bilingual (releasing in Telugu as C/o Surya). "I didn't know about that till we were called for a workshop. Suseenthiran sir explained a few scenes but on the sets, I almost freaked out to know that it was a bilingual. I am comfortable with Telugu, but Tamil was completely new and I don't like to do prompting," she says. "But Suseenthiran sir helped a lot."
She can't praise the director enough. "I'm really thankful to him for trusting me with such a film. I've heard a lot about his previous films. He's so in command of his craft that just by following ten per cent of his instructions, I knew I could get myself noticed."
Telugu, Tamil or Hindi, Mehreen feels that a love for cinema binds us all. "North Indian heroines usually view South as a practice ground before they can scale up to Bollywood, but I don't think that. After my Telugu debut, I did Phillauri which turned out to be a big hit. Following that, I was offered many roles in Bollywood, but I got back to Telugu cinema. Ultimately, it's important to do work that entertains," she says.
She thinks of Nenjil Thunivirundhal as her lucky break. "I signed up for it immediately after my first film and now, almost exactly a year later just as it is ready for release, I've got three more films released with plenty more in the pipeline." Mehreen also doesn't mind that she's doing a multi-starrer to make her Tamil debut. "Though I worked hardly ten days for this film, the experience has been rewarding and more importantly, very educational," says the actress who is awaiting the release of her Telugu film, Jawaan.