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‘I love playing flawed characters’- Cinema express

Regina Cassandra: I love playing flawed characters

The actor speaks about her recent ZEE5 series, Fingertip 2, and her fascination with grey characters

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Published: 22nd June 2022

Seventeen years after her debut in Kanda Naal Mudhal (2005), having spent more than half of her life in acting, Regina Cassandra candidly admits that she’s a lot more serious about her job now. “I guess I was quite carefree when I began. I remember Laila asking me how I felt facing the camera and I had not even given any thought to that question then. I had worked with Priya ma’am (the film’s director) on a documentary, and I just happened to meet her when she was auditioning actors for Kanda Naal Mudhal and that’s how my debut happened. Back then, I was simply excited to act in a film directed by a familiar person. Enakku acting varuma? varaatha? I didn’t even think about it then,” Regina says, adding that her theatre background helped her fit. Now, with multiple acting credits across multiple languages, how does she think she has evolved as an actor? Regina has a fascinating response. “I was more confident back during the initial days because I did not think about acting in a conscious way. I was young and everything was an experience. I am not carefree anymore; now, it’s a job.” 

When passion turns into a profession, it’s a common notion that the charm gradually fades away. “I love my job,” Regina says, and clarifies that it is, of course, not free of dull moments. “There are days when I wake up and don’t feel like going to work. It happens. But the beauty of it is that by the time you are at the shooting spot, that thought disappears.”

In her latest outing, the second season of the thriller series Fingertip, she plays… an actor. And yet, she says it wasn’t exactly relatable. “I play Priya, a woman who takes everything to heart and pays attention to all the comments coming her way. She feels insecure. It’s not that I don’t get insecure—all of us, at some point in our life, have felt it, but I am certainly not Priya. However, as an actor, it was an intriguing exercise to play a flawed person.”

Regina is no stranger to flawed characters. Be it her portrayal of manipulative Sameera in Evaru (2019) or the troubled Mira in Awe (2018) or the overly villainous Leela in Chakra (2021), she has played her share of grey and dark characters. “I love playing flawed characters. They are both relatable and different. Also, it’s thrilling to get into the shoes of such characters and ponder on what I would do if I were them. Priya, for instance, has a lot of flaws, and you do feel sad for her.”

Regina’s filmography is a mix of conventional and unconventional. There’s the 60-minute-long film titled Mughizh (2021), in which she plays the mother of a 10-year-old; there’s also her decidedly subdued act in Nenjam Marapathillai (2021), and then, there’s the dance number alongside Chiranjeevi in the Telugu film, Acharya. Regina exudes much self-awareness while describing her acting choices. “When I decided in 2011 to take this career seriously, I sat down to think about what kind of actor I wanted to be. Versatility is the only thing I thought of. Gerard Butler is an inspiration. I mean, he can do a 300 (2006) and a PS I Love You! (2007) Also, it helps that I have a ‘versatile face’. If you make me sport a bindi, I’ll look like an amma. I can also look like a model,” she says, bursting into laughter. “I am quite aware of my looks and how I can present myself. I choose diverse scripts because I want to be a versatile actor and I am grateful that filmmakers believe I can justify these out-of-the-box roles.”

Fingertip talks about cyber-crimes at a time when online bullying and harassment are rampant, fuelled by the anonymity granted by the internet. Celebrities, in particular, are always exposed to trolling and hate. “It is not just actresses, but even normal college-going girls receive nasty comments online; you do not have to be a public figure to draw such lewd comments. I don’t know how it is for men, but women face a lot of this. It’s easy to advise someone not to get affected, but the truth is, it does get to you. Right from my childhood, when I receive a remark—even if it is a great compliment—I accept it but do not quite process it. The same applies to negative comments.”

This is how she processes the ups and downs of her career as well. “I am grateful for the success, but I just leave it at that. I tell myself to move on. When a failure comes along, I do the same. Ultimately, both are fleeting,” Regina concludes, with a smile.

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