I was starstruck by Saif: Padmapriya
As the Chef trailer is creating quite a buzz, Padmapriya gets chatty about her big Bollywood outing opposite Saif Ali Khan
Padmapriya doesn't live by industry rules. She goes missing, then bounces back with some extra mojo. She takes up risky, unconventional roles, de-glam cameos, item songs, characters with streaks of grey, and keeps creating curves in her career. And now, as the Chef trailer is creating quite a buzz, the actress gets chatty about her big Bollywood outing opposite Saif Ali Khan.
She calls Radha Menon, her character in Chef, 'seemingly simple' and reveals she couldn't quite relate to her at times. “It looks like a straightforward role, but Radha has many layers and I couldn't relate to some of the choices she makes in her life,” she says. She agrees Radha is a contemporary female character, even a dancer, quite in sync with her off-screen persona. “Most of my previous characters had some reference points and I could create something new out of them. But Radha, who is Saif's ex-wife in the film, makes choices I would never make in my personal life,” she says.
She adds that Radha is not your typical filmi mom either. “She takes care of the kid, but she is leagues apart from the mother I played in Kazcha. She falls in love at a young age, with a slightly older man in New York. She is totally smitten, but the relationship doesn't turn out to be what she imagined. She moves on in her life and returns to India and her roots,” she says, adding that Radha is someone with a very independent and unique identity.
Chef was an out-of-the-box ride for the actress as she was 'starstruck' for the first time in her acting career. “I didn't know what starstruck meant because, when I started acting, I was cast alongside stars whose films I had not seen before.” With actors like Mammootty and Mohanlal it was the reverse for her. “I was struck after watching them perform on the sets.”
Padmapriya says she was quite upbeat about the prospect of making her mainstream Bollywood entry opposite Saif Ali Khan, a star she adored from childhood. “Saif is an extremely helpful co-star, but weird things happened during the shoot. I have a photographic memory, but I would forget lines in front of camera. Now I know what it means to be starstruck,” she laughs.
In Malayalam, she was last seen in Tiyan, that too after a two-year hiatus. The actress says she is open to mass masalas, art-house attempts and dance numbers. “I am not someone who wants to keep doing item songs but when Amal offered me one I accepted. When it comes to selecting films, I want to strike a balance,” she says.
And she is bang on when she talks about her love for fresh, original roles, characters that hardly resemble each other. “This year I did four films – Tiyan and Crossroad in Malayalam, a Telugu film with Jagaptahi Babu and then Chef. I don't like repeating myself, so I am keen on picking characters far and distant from each other. And yes, it has been my only criteria so far,” she winds up.