Acting gives me personal stability: Bhavani Sre
The up-and-coming actor speaks about how spontaneous Vetri Maaran was in Viduthalai, the professionalism Soori exhibited, vaathiyar Vijay Sethupathi, and more
Right from the time comedian Soori was announced to be the lead of Vetri Maaran's Viduthalai, the project just got bigger and more interesting. With names like Vijay Sethupathi, Gautham Vasudev Menon, Rajiv Menon being roped in, the biggest addition to team Viduthalai was the legendary Ilaiyaraaja. Up-and-coming actor Bhavani Sre, who plays an important role in Viduthalai, is yet to come to terms that she is part of such an important film backed by such a stellar team.
We connected with her just minutes after she finished dubbing for Viduthalai, and a candid Bhavani says, “It's probably only now that it has sunk in that I am part of such a big project. I always dreamed of working with Vetri sir, and Viduthalai is a dream come true.” Bhavani, the younger sister of composer-actor GV Prakash Kumar, started manifesting this dream after hearing so much about the filmmaker from her brother. “I admire his approach to filmmaking and the way he writes his characters,” says Bhavani.
Right through the promotional rounds, team Viduthalai has discussed the challenges they faced while shooting the film, which is set in hilly regions. Bhavani, who has never trekked a mountain, plays a tribal living in the hilly regions. "There weren't many references for the time period the film is set in. But with Vetri sir, everything is spontaneous. He just asked me to come to the shooting spot, observe the inhabitants of the village, and take note of their routine, the way interact with nature and the way they speak or think," says the one-film-old actor, who lets us in on Vetri Maaran's process. “We get to know everything on the spot, including where the shooting is taking place. He takes us there, writes scenes, and dialogues, explains it to us, and we go to shoot. As an actor, this unpredictability was very challenging and exciting.”
Getting into the details of what made Bhavani take up films, the actor says, “I always wanted to be part of media. I tried photography, assisted in filmmaking, and worked in a few of my friends’ short films. I began to like the process.” While acting is a craft that has a lot of perks attached to it, including living as another character, and of course, the glitz and glamour, Bhavani feels it gives her a sense of stability. “Acting can break our rigidity and inhibitions. I also think it brings some stability for a person, because only when we are stable, can we adapt to our roles. The more I got interested in acting, the more I became aware of myself.”
While Viduthalai marks her first collaboration with Soori, this was her second film with Vijay Sethupathi after her debut, Ka Pae Ranasingam. “Soori sir was a thorough professional and I could see him as Kumaresan from day one despite having seen him in many comical roles before. Vijay Sethupathi sir is the first person to appreciate you for the smallest of things that he likes about us. Just like his role in the film, he was a Vaathiyaar to me in real life, and my conversations with him will always be valuable.”
Having played an author-backed role in her debut, and following suit in her sophomore film, the conversation veered into the heartening trend of increasing stories centred around women. “Of course, women-centric films are getting more backing these days. It will also be exciting to see women take up the responsibility of telling our stories. It will capture a lot of nuances that a man might miss out on. I am intrigued by how the conversations and the interactions between the characters would be when women write them," says Bhavani as she expresses her admiration for filmmakers like Sudha Kongara who are walking on this path.
Billing her character as one who has clarity on what she wants even when the odds are stacked against her, Bhavani feels she has a similar approach to her career too. “I do harbour dreams of turning director, but for now, I want to only act, especially in quality films and notable characters. I am not in any hurry nor am I interested in the numbers game. All that matters to me is that I am satisfied with the projects I do. There is no doubt that Viduthalai is one of them," signs off a confident Bhavani Sre.