A heroine comes home
Nivetha Pethuraj has a promising line-up of films including Podhuvaga Emmanasu Thangam that is getting released this Friday
Coimbatore-born Miss India UAE 2015, Nivetha Pethuraj, who plays the female lead in the Udhayanidhi-starrer Podhuvaga Emmanasu Thangam says the film made her connect with her roots in terms of language, culture, values, and tradition. Though she’s a Tamilian who has been settled in Dubai for more than a decade, she has always wanted to return home. “I think one of the reasons I was chosen for this role is because I am fluent in Tamil,” she says.
The actress, who made her debut with Oru Naal Koothu, has been busy shooting for Venkat Prabhu’s Party in Fiji for some time. “I am here to promote Podhuvaga... after which I will be returning to finish the rest of my portions in Party. Venkat’s team is a lot of fun to work with,” she adds.
In Podhuvaga..., Nivetha will play Parthiepan’s daughter. “I play an innocent girl who believes in her father. She also trusts the guy she’s dating, and so, gets stuck between the two,” she says. “I liked the story of the film. It says there’s no need to go to some other country when there are so many opportunities here.”
Nivetha is in awe of Parthiepan’s spontaneity on the sets. “He keeps improvising. He talks a lot, and he’s an intellectual. Though I didn’t understand half of what he spoke about, I can say I enjoyed working with him,” she laughs.
The actress is surprised by how down-to-earth her co-star Udhayanidhi is. “He and I hardly left to our caravans to take rest. We were always on the spot, observing preparations, or using that time for rehearsals. Be it dance or fight sequences, I noticed how much effort he puts in for each scene. He doesn’t care about the time he has allotted for each day. I really admire that in him,” she says.
Nivetha says she was quite nervous about the dance sequences. “I am comfortable dancing on stage but not in films... not yet. For instance, the team had to shoot one sequence 14 times and I was really embarrassed. I couldn’t do the steps properly as I lost control over my body. But Udhay is a good dancer,” she says.
The climax sequence of the film was shot on a bridge between two villages with more than 2,000 people taking part. “Crowd control was a big challenge. The shoot went on for three days, and the whole crew cooperated well, given the challenges involved,” she says.
Nivetha wants to do more rural projects, but is wary of being typecast. “When I was in Dubai, I was scared of losing my identity. So, it would be nice to do more grounded projects like this,” she says.
The best thing about shooting for the film, according to her, was the food. “I am a big time foodie—in particular, South Indian food. Luckily, I didn’t put on weight,” she says.
Nivetha also has Jayam Ravi’s Tik Tik Tik in the pipeline. “Shakti Soundar Rajan is Venkat Prabhu’s assistant. He trusts me just as much as Venkat does. I was brought on board Venkat’s Party without any screen tests. It’s a blessing that people trust my work blindly!”
Speaking about Tik Tik Tik, she says, “It’s the first-ever Indian space film. There are scenes involving zero gravity, and they were quite risky for us to shoot. We were all hanging upside down on a rope, while shooting for the zero-gravity sequences. I’d get hurt one day, and on another day, Ravi would be injured. But I think it’s all worth the risk we undertook.”
More than physical strength, they needed mental courage to perform some of the stunts, according to her. “I am glad Shakti chose me for this. I took inspiration from a lot of Angelina Jolie films. I felt my character needed that.”
The actress says she liked Aziz Aaron’s performance a lot. “It was a delight to see him act. Pan-Indian actors aren’t scared to bring life to their characters, even if it means some exaggeration here and there. Namma enna panninaalum encourage pannuvaanga,” she says.