I am a confident actor because of Selvaraghavan sir: Nandita Swetha
The actor, who has two consecutive releases, Devi 2 and 7, talks about the films
Nandita Swetha shot for eleven films in three languages in 2018, in what she calls the most productive year of her career. The actor, who has two consecutive releases this month in Devi 2 and the Tamil-Telugu bilingual, 7, believes she has really matured as a person and an actor. "2017 Nandita ippo kedayadhu," she says. She means it in more ways than one. “When I start working in a film, I get into the skin of the character and travel with it. At the end of the shoot, the character remains in my head. Many times, my mom has said, "Nee neeyave illa…" Sometimes, it would get highly complicated as I would shoot for two films on the same day. I love it all though."
Excerpts from the conversation:
When you work on a film in one language, do you worry about losing out on the market in another?
Not at all. After I complete shooting for a film, it takes at least five months before it hits the screen. I use this gap to shoot for three-four films in other languages. But in some cases, consecutive projects end up belonging to the same language. For instance, I worked in six-seven films continuously in Telugu, and hardly got any breathing space to work in a Tamil film. I am glad I have now come back with Devi 2 and 7. Luckily, they are also bilinguals. I have the best of both worlds.
Tell us about your strategy in signing films.
I don't have any and believe that rigidly sticking to any strategy won't help. If the audiences loves our product, it becomes a hit, and the actors associated become stars. That's pretty much it. When I became an actor, I just had one strong principle: Never repeat roles. After Attakathi, I got many rural roles, and got cautious. Now, look at my upcoming films; you will see that each of the roles is unique.
You played an athelete who fails the gender test in Ethirneechal and a mother to a ten-year-old in Asuravadham. Do you think these bold choices have garnered enough attention and love?
To be honest, I don't particularly expect the audience to praise and recognize my roles. I just want them to walk out of the theatres with a takeaway. It doesn't always have to be a social message. If my film made them feel good, that’s enough to make me happy.
Any apprehensions of being overshadowed in Devi 2, as the film already has two established stars in Tamannah and Prabhudheva?
Certainly not. I had a clear idea about my role, screen space and even, my looks in the film. I appeared onscreen only for 10 minutes, but what I did in the space given to me, is my priority. If a person feels insecure about being overshadowed by others, they need to step out of it.
Be it Aindhaam Thalaimurai Sidha Vaidhiya Sigamani's Nandini or Uppu Karuvaadu's Poonguzhali, some of your roles have been inherently innocent characters. What's your take on female actors constantly being described as 'bubbly' or 'cute', regardless of the film?
I guess those are the major roles offered to heroines, as a certain section of the audience continues to express liking for such characters. I took a break in between, to avoid being stereotyped. I consciously chose films that broke the image I had. Padam hit aana, enna venaa maralaam. Then the makers won't hesitate to cast you in any role.
Selvarghavan's NGK released along with your Devi 2. Nenjam Marappathillai, in which you worked with the director, is yet to hit the screens though.
No matter when the film gets released, all the actors will earn a name for themselves. It's that kind of film. I can assure that whatever you saw in the promos is nowhere close to the experience you will have in the theatres. Working with Selva sir was a great learning experience. He is a genius. If I’m a confident actor today, it’s because of this film.
One character you want to play, and one you never will?
I will never play the role of a ghost in a horror film. I feel it’s emotionally draining and involves much physical stress. The list of roles I want to do is quite a long one. If I had to tell you now, perhaps a differently-abled girl or… maybe even Amman?
Is there any bias in the system against female actors who speak Tamil?
I began learning Tamil while working in Attakathi. Back then, people used to mock me about my Tamil-speaking. But now, they say, "Neenga ivlo Tamil pesinaa, Tamil ponnu nu nenachi padam kudukka maatanga." I am not sure whether that's the actual situation.
Also, I always prefer to dub for my roles in all languages. But some producers don't even bother to call me for the dubbing sessions. When I see the film in the theatres, I often notice a big mismatch between the emotions I performed and the voice I hear. I make it clear now that I will do films only if I am dubbing for them.