Kalyani Priyadarshan, growing in leaps and bounds
With a Telugu release in her bag, a Tamil and a Malayalam debut coming up, one of which is directed by her father himself, the actor is set for a big year
Amidst the whirlwind of promotions for Chitralahari, her first since movie since her debut in 2017, Kalyani Priyadarshan has a lot to say and apparently a lot to do this year. Settling down for a chat with City Express, Kalyani quips, “I just hope I don’t bore you with how much I talk,” as we discuss her film, her choices of films, and the legacy she bears.
Excerpts from the conversation:
So it’s been two years since your debut. What has been going on?
It’s been a year and three months to be exact! It does seem like it has been a long time since Hello, but I have been busy since then. I have been working on various movies, including my father's Marakkar. It just so happened that there weren't any releases, but I was busy throughout this period.
Aren’t you also gearing up for your Tamil and Malayalam debut?
Yes, that’s what I have been working on. A lot has been coming my way and I am kind of just having fun with whatever I get. As a newcomer, I get to try out a few genres before I find my niche. And in fact, I hope there isn’t ever a niche. I hope I get to play all kinds of characters.
What should the audience expect from Kalyani through all these projects?
Actually, if you notice, all the movies that have been announced are from across the spectrum. My character in Chitralahari is a vibrant young girl. Meanwhile, I am also doing Hero, an action thriller and Maanadu, a political drama in Tamil. Then there is my father's (veteran director Priyadarshan) epic period film in Malayalam called Marakkar. So, I think it’s a good mix.
You share screen space with Nivetha Pethuraj in Chitralahari. There are reports that you replaced her in Dulquer Salman’s Vaan. Was there any rivalry on set?
We got along great on set. She is a calm, collected, and content individual, and she has the same effect on me as well. It’s a misconception that co-actors can’t get along because of rivalries. We both had roles that had their own significance in the movie and there was no reason for bitterness. In fact, I think it’s a sign of insecurity to feel unhealthily competitive. Neither of us are insecure about our talent or position.
What about Sai Dharam Tej?
Oh, he is reserved and shy in the beginning, but when he warms up to you, he has the most infectious energy. I can recognise his laugh even if I am among a hundred people! It’s a very peculiar laugh.
You have a degree in architecture, you have worked as an assistant director, and now, you are one of the most sought after actors. What’s the game plan?
My father was insistent on me getting an education. No matter what I wanted to do in life, he wanted me to have a basic education to gain a perspective if not for anything else.
I was born in and grew up in cinema. I spent my summer holidays at my father's sets, and obviously it had a lot of impact on me. Although I hadn’t realised earlier what I wanted to be doing, I always knew whatever I would be doing, it would be on a movie set. I was signed just 10 days before Hello went on floors. I am taking it as it comes.
It’s a huge legacy you bear on your shoulders. There’s got to be privileges and pressures both to it.
I think I get a lot more respect and acceptance in the industry because of my family. I am given some leeway for it. However, it also makes me feel more responsible about the choices I make. I have to make sure I don’t do anything to tarnish their reputation. A newcomer can go all in because they have nothing to lose. I cannot afford to do that.