I fell in love with music because of Tamil cinema: Madonna Sebastian
...says Madonna Sebastian, who’s excited about the small part she plays in the upcoming Vijay Sethupathi film, Junga
Madonna Sebastian's career took off when Alphonse Puthren saw her singing and asked her to audition for Premam. While her film career has been on the upswing since, Madonna is visibly upset about the direction her singing career's taken. "I hardly get time to practice these days. I am mostly tired and seeking a break after shoots. Some of us jam for a while but even making something like a music video takes a lot of planning," she rues. Then again, she believes that acting is in her best interests. “Being a popular face helps my music career too.” She credits her love for music to Tamil film music. "Growing up, I was a big fan of Rahman sir and later, I also fell in love with Raaja sir’s music. I want to sing in Tamil films, and hope music directors call me. Also, because of all the love we get from Tamil audiences, our band (Everafter) will be releasing a Tamil song soon."
For Madonna, up next when it comes to films is Junga, which stars Vijay Sethupathi, with whom she has done Kadhalum Kadandhu Pogum and Kavan. “Vijay makes acting feel so easy. He is also a great person to hang out with on the sets. The greatest actors have all been great people too." She credits Vijay for bringing Junga to her. "When he calls me for a film, I know it will have a soul. He respects my talent. So I sat down with Gokul and listened to the story, and I knew it was going to be a lot of fun." She plays a Telugu girl in the film in a role that she believes cannot even be called a cameo. "I have lesser time in this film than I did in Dhanush’s Pa Pandi. But even though, it was only a small role that spans three scenes and a song, I had great fun shooting during the 10 days in Pollachi."
She isn’t worried she will get slotted as a cameo actor. "If I was a director, it would be enough to see an actor do well, even if it’s just for one or two scenes." That’s why even for such cameos, she prefers that the dialogues be given to her days in advance. "I take these roles very seriously."
Madonna has her hands full with projects across languages. "Just last week, I was shooting an underwater sequence for Iblis (her Malayalam film with Asif Ali). Save for little work, the film is set for release on August 3. Before that of course, Junga will be out on July 27. I will now begin work on Kotigobba 3 in Kannada and have also signed up a film in Telugu, details of which I’ll reveal soon."
The actor hasn’t yet watched the two other Kotigobba films in the franchise. "I would rather shoot the film first, and then watch the others. In some other films like Junga, I have asked everyone not to tell me the complete story. I want to experience the story with the audience. I like that mystery."
Junga is Madonna’s 10th film. “I am taking it slow because of two reasons. One, a female artiste's career is shortlived; so I want to make the most of it. Two, it is dicey for an actor to overly familiarise audiences with their face. People get bored. If you choose carefully and have fun with your roles, it pays off in the long run. You will be respected."
I ask her what she thinks of the writing of female characters these days. "I am happy that there are characters with depth that are coming but at the same time, I would really like if the judgements are stopped, and the cliches removed. Take the loosu ponnu type as an example. I don't like such characters. I think it is disrespectful and when people endorse it, even heroines, it becomes a dangerous trend. I have heard and read that even Marilyn Monroe was portrayed as a 'blonde' but actually, she was a sensible lady. Where is the justice?" She does accept that women are silly at times but "not as silly as portrayed." For this reason, she would love to do films like Kahaani and Aruvi. "Perhaps, some day, I can even get to play a negative character.”