It's important to do genuine, quality work: Ketaki Narayan
The Pune-based actor will be seen in Asif Ali's upcoming film Underworld directed by Arun Kumar Aravind
Though she has been part of two Malayalam films -- Diwanjimoola Grand Prix and Veeram -- Ketaki Narayan is not a household name in Kerala yet. The Pune-based actor has already signed her next Malayalam film, Underworld, helmed by Left Right Left-fame Arun Kumar Aravind. She is one of the two female leads in the film, the other being Theevandi-fame Samyuktha Menon.
The crime-based film, which is expected to go on floors in January, is a dark comedy also starring Asif Ali, Farhaan Faasil, and Lal Jr. Samyuktha is paired opposite Asif Ali, while Ketaki is stars opposite Farhaan Faasil. In the film, she will be playing a Tulu Brahmin girl. D14 Entertainments is producing the film, with Arun Kumar Aravind and Anoop Venugopal serving as executive producers.
A self-trained actor, Ketaki is a familiar face in the Pune theatre scene and has also been part of some notable short films namely Out of Stock and Burning. A brief stint at a performing arts workshop in Pondicherry (named Adishakti) taught her the basics of acting. "The place helped me understand voice modulations, breathing techniques, and other exercises. I also got to learn Kalaripayattu there," she says.
Being unversed in Malayalam, Ketaki is slowly trying to familiarise herself with the language. For Diwanjimoola Grand Prix (2018) -- in which she played the role of Peeli Mol -- she stayed with the families of the crew a month before the shoot to get the language right, especially the Thrissur dialect. "Korachu korachu Malayalam manasilaayi," she laughs.
With no one from her family in the film industry, the compulsion to become an actor came out of an urge to remain connected to the art field. Born to artistically inclined parents -- her father is a poet and mother an artist -- Ketaki was drawn to literature and poetry from an early age. "As a child, I used to attend poetry sessions with my father and was amazed by the impact it had on the listeners. I found it to be a nice way to connect with people -- you're creating different emotions through your art, unlike, say, through your colour or religion. Art is something that is inside of all of us; it's free of discrimination."
However, the confidence to make the switch to acting took her a while, says Ketaki, a former IT professional. "The IT job was my way to be financially independent, but then later I realised it was not my cup of tea. I was doing theatre and short films on the side along with a bit of modelling. That's how I managed to muster up the confidence to quit. I had to keep it a secret from my parents until I got my first major project (laughs)."
When it comes to getting opportunities, it's not as easy as it sounds despite the advances in technology, she reminds us. "Look, it's easy to get any kind of work, but it's up to you to do the kind of work you really want to do," she says. "For that, you need to work with the right people -- your kind of people. Once you start doing that, you will slowly start getting noticed. At least, that's what I think. This work may not get you instant fame, but there is always the hope of getting something bigger and better. It's important to do genuine, quality work instead of being driven by the money."