‘I watched Chemmeen to play Ummukhulsu’
..says Manasa Radhakrishnan who will be seen opposite Asif Ali in Arun Kumar Aravind's Kaattu
It was actor-scriptwriter Murali Gopy who first suggested Manasa for the character of Ummukhulsu in Kaattu.
That happened on the sets of Tiyan, where she was doing a relatively little role. "Director Arun Kumar Aravind was there to catch up with Murali Gopy when I first met him. He told me the story line and about the time period in which the drama was set. At that point, Arun never discussed much on Ummukhulsu though," says Manasa.
Only after selecting her for the character did Arun tell Manasa that she will be paired opposite Asif Ali. "I was so nervous as I was the only inexperienced actor out there. All the others, including Asif, Murali Gopy and Varalakshmi had a commendable body of work to boast of," she says.
But, her only preparation for the film was watching Chemmeen and keeping her unibrow. "I play a movie maniac in Kaattu. Ummukhulsu loves watching movies. So I watched Chemmeen to get under the skin of the character," Manasa adds. However, before the camera, things went well for Manasa.
She says Arun had explained in detail about who her character was. "I just had to follow his words. My job was to give life to his vision of Ummukhulsu, " says Manasa.
For her, the care and patience every co-actor displayed were a major boost to confidence. "I would be scared if I couldn't get it right in the first take. But, be it Murali chettan or Asifikka, they patiently waited and helped me through it," she adds.
Since Ummukhulsu is a bubbly girl, Manasa could easily sink her teeth into the character. But, the same couldn't be said about her character Sally in Lenin Rajendran's Crossroad. She plays the lead in Maunam, one of the films in the anthology.
"Maunam is directed by Babu Thiruvalla. When he told me about Sally, who is forced to be a nun, I was baffled. Sally has a sombre aura about herself and I didn't know how to play someone with whom I share nothing in common. But again, the director would explain to me about Sally. He would translate for me her psyche. I only hope Sally gets noticed. It is an ambitious project," says Manasa.
While she awaits both movies to release next month, Manasa Radhakrishnan is preparing to start her BTech classes. Now that the first song from Kaattu is out, does she get a celebrity treatment in college? "Not at all. My college mates are just getting to know that I did the movie. I am just like anybody else here," Manasa quips.