Director Siva is an amazing actor: Anikha Surendran
The actor, who has once again played the daughter of Ajith Kumar, in the latest release Viswasam, talks about her relationship with the actor, her hard-hitting roles and more
Child actors in our industry carry a double curse. They mostly get to play characters that demand that they be needlessly cute. And even then — or perhaps because of it — once they enter adolescence, the roles vanish. Mahendran, a famous child artiste of the 90s, shared in an interview with us that he had to take a four-year gap from acting because of this. But Anikha Surendran seems to have somehow escaped this problem. The young actor, who made her Tamil debut five years back in Yennai Arindhal, playing Ajith's foster daughter, has continued to take up realistic characters and played her age on screen. Following the success of the hard-hitting Maa, Anikha has now once again played the daughter of Ajith in last week’s release, Viswasam. On her good choice of roles, she says, "I believe it’s all only because of God's blessings. But irrespective of the film, I always make sure that I give my fullest. I think I've matured as an actor during these years."
The teenager continues to be called 'Baby' Anikha, "It does feel awkward. I guess the boys have a better tag; 'Master' is way better than 'Baby' (laughs). I think it will change gradually and people will start calling me Anikha Surendran."
Anikha, who plays an athlete in Viswasam, had to undergo professional training for the role. "Playing an athlete in the film was pretty hard for me as I hardly run or work out (laughs). Even at school, I preferred the cultural events over sports. A professional running coach trained me for 15 days and I continued to practice even after I got back home during the breaks." She also adds that she wasn't the only choice for the role. "Siva (Director) uncle used to tell me that they were confused whether to choose a real-life athlete or an actor like me. Ajith sir and Nayanthara chechi recommended my name and that's how I got aboard."
More than once in the film, her character says the line, “Every athlete needs a motivation to win.” What’s her motivation to act? "I've been blessed to act with the finest actors in the industry. When I see them act, I get inspired. Ajith sir is one of my greatest inspirations; I wish I could act like him someday."
How was her work relationship with Ajith different this time around? "I felt more comfortable acting with him in this film. He is an amazing person and a great listener.You can talk about anything to him. He is also so much fun to be with."
Though Viswasam has a lot of emotional scenes involving Anikha and Ajith, her favourites are the comedy and action sequences. "I didn't get to see Ajith sir perform comedy in Yennai Arindhal, but here, it was the opposite. We even rehearsed together to get the timing right for the dialogues. The carnival fight sequence was super fun to shoot. We shot from 6 pm to 6 am. As I'm a night owl, I was full of energy while others were struggling to stay awake."
Anikha says she didn't anticipate such an overwhelming response from the audience for the climax; she credits the success to director Siva. “I didn't expect such a warm welcome. Siva uncle extracted the best from all of us and shot it so movingly,” she says. “In fact not many know that he is a great actor himself. He acts out all the scenes of all the actors before going for the take.”
Starting from 5 Sundarikal to the recent short film, Maa, Anikha's films have dealt with hard-hitting topics ranging from child abuse to teenage pregnancy. On performing in such intense films, she says, "I just follow the instructions of the director. I don't really let the script affect me. That’s why none of these scripts have broken me, so to speak. I don’t let my characters influence my reality."
Not every child or teenager with a passion to act gets encouraged by parents to enter the film industry, owing to concerns over their safety. Anikha says, “I've never had a bad experience in the industry. I've found it to be an amazing place for young talent. It is a great platform for growth if you know how to deal with situations. I strongly feel that everyone with a passion to act should enter the field without hesitation."
Good days seem to be in the offing for this young actor, who has once again joined hands with Yennai Arindhaal-director Gautham Menon for a web series to be directed and produced by him.