Directors trust me: SShivada
Sshivada, having the most productive year of her career, opens up about her upcoming films, including Iravaakaalam that stars SJ Suryah
Unlike most Tamil actresses, Sshivada has not really played the bubbly heroine too many times. She laughs and says, “I want to be part of such breezy films. But yes, I love doing the serious roles I get too. It tells me that directors place a lot of trust in my ability.” The actress who made her Tamil debut in Nedunchaalai (2014) is glad she never followed through on her engineering education. “I got offers from at least two top companies, but I wanted to follow my passion.”
Even though Sshivada spent a lot of her formative years in Kerala, she has so far dubbed for all her films in Tamil. “Every time I return from Kerala though, I find that my Tamil gets affected a bit. So, I usually postpone my trips after dubbing for my Tamil films,” she says. For her last Tamil film, Adhe Kangal, she finished dubbing in a single day.
She is a believer of homework for her roles. “I create my own understanding of who the character is. Sometimes though, directors request me to go through some other works, so I can better relate to my character. For Zero, I was asked to check out 300 for reference. For Adhe Kangal, the director drew parallels between my character and Neelambari’s (Padayappa),” she says.
For her upcoming Kattam, she plays a charater with multiple shades. “The film’s by Rajan Madhan, who did Muran. The screenplay is dotted with so many interesting twists. I play a complex character called Revathi,” she says. Her thirst for a fun-loving character got finally appeased when she signed up for Vallavanukku Vallavan that stars Bobby Simha. “I play a happy-go-lucky character called Azhagi,” she smiles.
Sshivada is also the heroine in Ashwin Saravanan’s Iravaakaalam that stars SJ Suryah. “I grew up watching films like Kushi. He always has a surprise up his sleeve and floors everyone around with his intense performances. I love the energy he brings to the sets,” she says. She remembers one interesting incident while shooting for the film. “I took quite a few retakes for one scene. SJ Suryah quipped that I seemed very focused on getting the shot right, just so I can better his performance,” she laughs.
Who can predict how many retakes a shot may need, she wonders. “In Nedunchaalai, the accident scene of Aari’s character was taken in a single shot! Meanwhile, there was another scene we were shooting on December 31, and everybody was urging me to finish my scene soon, so they could all celebrate the New Year. But I took 13 retakes and the shoot went on till 1.30 that morning,” she says.
She’s grateful to director Ashwin Saravanan for being patient with her. “He never gets tired even when we make mistakes or ask for repeated takes. He understands that we are doing it for the film. He strives for perfection,” she says.
The actress is a trained dancer. “During the gap of three years between my Malayalam and Tamil debuts, it was my Bharatanatyam tutors, Shri V.P.Dhananjayan and Smt. Sudha Peethambaram, who kept me going,” she says. “Bharatanatyam was my cure. It helped ease my stress.” She thinks Malayalam film shoots get done faster. “I don’t think there are too many films which have more than one schedule,” she says. “But Tamil cinema is the space for newcomers, I think. Films here don’t have budget constraints.”