Asuravadham marks the beginning of a new phase in my career: Nandita Swetha
The actor feels that her role in the upcoming Sasikumar-starrer is her most mature performance yet
Nandita Swetha's bubbly and outspoken persona is in stark contrast to her serious roles, predominantly set in villages. She calls this week's release, Asuravadham, an 'almost rural film'. Interestingly, the first trailer of the Sasikumar-starrer did not even feature her and the second, which was released last week, has her in just one frame.
Is her role supposed to be a surprise? She jokes, "If it's a surprise, I really can't talk much about it." The Attakathi actor adds, "I wouldn't call my role a surprise but the portion I appear in will be an intense one with a lot of emotions. Just like the rest of my films, Asuravadham too will be quite different."
Nandita claims to be surprised with her own performance in this film directed by Maruthupandian (who had previously directed Chennai Ungalai Anbudan Varaverkirathu). "From day one, I've always done characters that are younger than me. Asuravadham gave me the chance to explore mature emotions. It was a challenge and those who see the film will spot the difference."
Playing an older character wasn't the only challenge for Nandita. "We had to look convincing as a married couple as the emotions would work only then. For that to happen, namba hero sir romba support pannaaru (laughs). I can't wait for the audience to watch my character Mahalakshmi on screen."
The shoot itself was tricky, taking place at the foothills of Kodaikanal in adverse conditions without mobile network connectivity. "Kodaikanal is a beautiful place to visit on a vacation. But while at work, we had to stick to our schedules irrespective of the weather outside. We shot throughout the day and even at night. The loss of connectivity was indeed tough to deal with the first week, but after that we got used to it," she adds.
Her recent films and the others she has lined up make it apparent that the actor is trying to balance films from both rural and urban backdrops. "Almost all my first few films were village-based scripts and the offers I got later too were similar. I realised it was high time I changed things. But making that transition isn't easy," says Nandita, who chose to go back to Telugu cinema after debuting there in 2016 with Ekkadiki Pothavu Chinnavada. "I concentrated on Telugu films and now I've got five projects in hand there. Since I did a performance-oriented film there, the other offers I got too were similar -- so much that I started missing bubbly roles (smiles)." Following that, she signed films such as Nenjam Marappathillai, Vanangamudi, Narmadha and a film with Vaibhav named Thaana. "Hereafter, the characters I play will all be different and Asuravadham will be the beginning of a new phase in my career."
Two of her films--Nenjam Marappathillai and Idam Porul Yaeval--have long been on hold despite the former being one of the most expected horror films, and the other winning accolades in film festivals. Ask her if the delay in release affects her and she says, "No, I've been extremely busy with work actually. We started shooting for Asuravadham last December and till now, I've been home only for about ten days. I'm shuffling between Telugu and Tamil cinema. At times, I feel I'm overworking, but I'm satisfied with the films I'm doing."
The actor doesn't agree that she does films only with known actors and cites one of her upcoming films as an example. "Narmadha is a female-dominant film and there isn't a male lead at all. It's by a female director and she has scripted a very interesting story," says Nandita, who is also excited about Vanangamudi, a film that demanded she get toned. "I play a cop in the film and it's a tough character. Before that film, I was lazy to work out but now people ask me how I keep myself slim. To look the part, I worked out and at times I've spent four hours at the gym. It'll be a film which will get audience exclaiming, 'Oh, Nandita-va ippadi kooda paakalama!'"