I don't have the guts to hit a guy
...says Andrea Jeremiah, who plays a progressive, independent woman in Taramani
Andrea Jeremiah has not hesitated to take on the occasional risky role. Take, for instance, her role of a doctor having an extramarital affair in Uttama Villain. And yet, it's been two years since she last had a release in Tamil (Idhu Namma Aalu). And now, she has returned with perhaps the strongest role of her career in Taramani.
One scene that didn't go well with the censors has her thrashing a group of stalkers with her shoe, and going on to abuse them with an English obscenity. "The Tamil heroine who dances around heroes is now getting such performance-oriented roles. Perhaps the idea of a conventional heroine is changing, and about time too," she says.
On that controversial Taramani scene, she says she would never have the guts to hit a guy like that. "Maybe I need to learn a few lessons from Althea (her character's name) in Taramani. Ram writes such raw and real characters. I like to work with such filmmakers," she says. "It's a relevant film for women of my generation -- the financially independent woman -- who doesn't need a man for anything. The male-female equilibrium in relationships has changed so much because of this, and Taramani tries to capture that on screen."
I have recently recorded a song for an Australian composer which is a fusion of jazz and Carnatic. The jazz was easy but the Carnatic wasn't! I can't wait for the song to be out.
Andrea says that the year's break she took from work was to realign herself. "You didn't see me in too many films recently because of Vishwaroopam 2 and Taramani. I love the fact that people are still eagerly waiting for the Kamal Haasan film despite the long delay. We only have the shoot of a song left. I can tell you there's a lot more action than in part 1," she says.
Curiously, acting, she thought, was never really on the cards for her. After each film, she would think, "This is going to be the last", but films, she says, "kept chasing her." Even now, she says music is her priority. "I didn't choose this industry. The industry chose me. I like to think that I have evolved as an actress over these years."
Rajeev Ravi (Annayum Rasoolum) and Vetrimaaran. Because they both saw something in me that nobody else in the industry seems to have.
Despite being a heroine, she hasn't shirked from taking on smaller roles, like in Mankatha and Endrendrum Punnagai. "Vishwaroopam, I think, is the epitome of classy cinema. A film like Aranmanai is meanwhile massy. I have done both because you never know what will appeal to the audience."
Andrea has an impressive line-up of films including Thupparivaalan and Vada Chennai in the pipeline. "Mysskin is loveable and crazy! Thupparivaalan will be one of Mysskin's most stylish films," she says. On Vada Chennai, she says, "I kept asking Vetrimaaran sir why he cast me in this film, and he just smiled and said: "You will see". It's both terrifying and exciting to be part of his vision."
Andrea hopes to do more films in Telugu and Malayalam. "What I like about the Malayalam industry is that the stars are the actors and the actors are the stars. Content is king."
Despite her love for music, she doesn't see herself composing. "Singing is something that comes to me naturally. I have been singing always, right from my childhood. Composing, however, is an entirely different ball game."
Andrea wraps up the chat by saying she hopes to be part of a "happy-breezy love story" to balance all the intense, heavy films she's been doing.