Dushara Vijayan: I will quit acting by 35

Actor Dushara Vijayan speaks about her role in Raayan, Dhanush’s directorial style, how she would play Mariamma in Sarpatta 2, why she would like to quit acting by 35, and more...
Dushara Vijayan: I will quit acting by 35

On July 21, 2021, Sarpatta Parambarai was released and with that, Dushara Vijayan left an indelible mark in the minds of Tamil cinema audiences. Almost three years later, the actor will be seen sharing screen space with Dhanush in Raayan, Rajinikanth in Vettaiyan, and Vikram in Veera Dheera Sooran, a dream run of a lineup. With Raayan being the closest to a theatrical release, Dushara sits down to talk about why the film, which marks Dhanush’s sophomore directorial effort, is a personal win for her. “This feels like an achievement and that feeling is almost indescribable because this is deeply personal to me. I am a huge fan of Dhanush sir’s acting and I have always wanted to work with him. I consider this as my Baasha interval moment, a definitive turning point in my career,” says Dushara.

While Dhanush is known to be an intense performer, the actor is yet to register his directorial style with the audience. However, one could safely surmise that he is heavily influenced by his brother and mentor director Selvaraghavan, who is known for being extremely scrupulous with regards to how he extracts performances from his actors. Dushara validates this conjecture by speaking about her on-set experiences in Raayan. “He is extremely precise with what he wants. He does not want anything above or below that. That is both challenging and interesting for an actor.” She then adds, “Dhanush sir is wildly different from all the directors I have worked with before. I think he can even make a pile of sand act.” Since Dhanush is also playing the lead in Raayan, Dushara had the chance to witness how he effortlessly switches between the roles of a director and actor on the set. “The moment he says ‘action’, hides the mic, and runs in front of the frame to perform is a moment of astounding transformation. It was inspiring to watch him shift between roles in a second,” she says.

While being a self-confessed ‘director’s actor’, Dushara is also the kind of performer who pours her own creativity into her role. From personal reflections to psychological probings, and physical ticks, to understanding how an environment shapes someone, Dushara considers many factors while designing her character. Trying not to reveal too much, a reticent Dushara still tries her best to paint a picture of her character in Raayan. “In this film, I play the kind of girl who is born, raised, and dies in North Chennai. So I cannot do that character convincingly without intense preparation.” About the character herself, Dushara says, “She is a very strong woman, she is also innocent, raw, funny, and has a lot of depth to her.” The above description of a strong yet innocent woman from North Chennai could also describe her breakout role in Sarpatta: Mariamma. On whether she took extra measures to not do Mariamma again, Dushara lightheartedly segues the conversation into Sarpatta 2. “I would love to do Mariamma again. I don’t know if I am in the sequel yet but if I am, I would play Mariamma more intensely.” She confesses that she got a number of fresh ideas on how to reinterpret Mariamma the moment she saw Sarpatta Parambarai. However, this is not a case of her regretting how she already played the role. “I have no regrets but I do learn. I constantly evolve and I am always looking for improvisations.” She then goes on to add, “Whether it is Sarpatta or Natchathiram Nagargiradhu, I think I would love to do a sequel to all my earlier films.” On the subject of Natchathiram Nagargiradhu, Dushara says she typically refrains from taking up films centred around her character. “That is a huge responsibility and I don’t think I am ready for that yet. But Natchathiram Nagargiradhu is different because I connect with Rene on a personal level, I am Rene.” However, this does not mean that the actor is satisfied with picking up roles that pass the frame like a cloud. “I do not want to exist in a film just for the sake of it. Even if I am only there for a few minutes, I want my character to be impactful. Even with big-budget star vehicles like Raayan, Vettaiayan, or Veera Dheera Sooran, I would not have accepted those films if I did not like my character,” says a resolute Dushara.

With such a clarity of vision for what she wants in a film, Dushara has a surprising answer regarding her plans for the future. “I think I will quit acting by 35," says the 26-year-old. "After that, I want to travel the world. I am not saying I will never return to acting but beyond 35, I will entirely focus on making sure that there are no countries I haven’t travelled to,” she sings off with a smile.

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