‘The whole obsession with fairness is silly'
Priya Anand hopes to stage a comeback of sorts in Tamil cinema with this week’s release, Kootathil Oruthan
Priya Anand, whose last Tamil release was Muthuramalingam, is optimistic about TJ Gnanavel's Kootathil Oruthan that has Ashok Selvan in the lead. "The film has a very unique concept. We've seen a lot of films that talk about the frontbenchers who are generally over-achievers. We have also got films that are about backbenchers, who are generally the rebels. But this is about people in the middle, which I think represents most of our population," she says.
The heroine and hero are as different as chalk and cheese. “I'm an all-rounder, while he's a middle-bencher. I know very little about him, when he talks to me in the film. The interesting part is why and how these two get together," she says.
She says she gets more credit than she likely merits over her choice of roles. “The truth is, I pick the best from what I get, and fortunately, filmmakers mainly come to me when they don't want to cast a conventional heroine. I am grateful for the films that have come my way. While I want to continue working in Tamil cinema, I am also looking at establishing a pan-Indian presence,” she says.
She thinks it’s a great time to be a South Indian actress. “Young Indians (and not just actors) are multilingual. The rise of ‘urban films’ as a genre has been a huge advantage. I feel my face is also pan-Indian. I mean, I’ve played characters ranging from a village girl to an NRI!” she says. “As an actress, I dream of working with different types of filmmakers, and I’m eager to back new talent."
My dream is to work with Karthik sir. I think he’s the most charming hero South Indian cinema has ever seen. I was obsessed with Sridevi all my life, and got to work with her in English Vinglish. So, maybe, this dream of mine will come true too.
The English Vinglish actress is dismissive of the importance attributed to fair skin. “The whole obsession with it is silly. Many dark-skinned people have a lot of ‘kalai’ (appeal). Their eyes light up beautifully when they smile,” she says. “Filmmakers need to take a stand to try and represent the local population in the films they do. This importance given to fair skin must stop.”
Priya, who made her Malayalam debut with Ezra opposite Prithviraj, doesn’t come from a film background; her family was, in fact, against her working in films. “But I enjoy being here," she says. “Of all the industries, I feel Malayalam cinema is most progressive in terms of storytelling.”
She is excited about her upcoming Hindi venture, Fukrey Returns. “It’s going to be a fun film. I can’t wait for its release," she says.