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Striking presence

VIJAY GEORGE

Jyothirmayee has managed to strike a balance between commercial and offbeat films in Tamil and Malayalam.


It is the character that attracts me and I am not perturbed if it is not the heroine's role.



BALANCING ACT: Jyothirmayee has proved that she is at home in glamorous and serious roles.

After some impressive roles in a few offbeat films, Jyothirmayee acquired a reputation as the quintessential "thinking man's heroine." But then that is discounting her feisty dance in `Meesa Madhavan,' which proved, once and for all, that she is not a one-dimensional actor.

The peppy number `Chingamaasam Vannuchernnal... ,' which she says brings her centrestage every year in the Malayalam month of Chingam, in Lal Jose's `Meesa Madhavan' catapulted her to instant stardom.

Now, she is trying to strike a balance between potboilers and offbeat films in Tamil and Malayalam.

"Though I had insisted on performance oriented roles earlier, I am aware that it cannot happen every time. That is why I do both offbeat and commercial films, " she says

Foray into Tamil films

After making a successful foray into Tamil films with `Idhaya Thirudan' followed by `Thalainagaram,' she says she has been receiving fabulous offers from Tamil. "However, I could not accept some of them due to hassles over dates."

Among the films that she has pinned great hopes on is director Gnana Rajasekharan's period film, `Periyar,' in which she is Nagamma, the first wife of the great leader.

"After coming from a conservative background, she becomes an activist. For me, the challenge was to portray her woes sensitively without making it melodramatic," says Jyothirmayee.

So, what are her dream roles?

"It is the character that attracts me and I am not perturbed if it is not the heroine's role. For instance, I might be the heroine in a particular film, but from an actor's point of view there would not be much to contribute in that film. For me, it is the script that helps me decide whether to accept a role or not.

"In fact, during the early days of my career, when I was doing films such as `Meesa Madhavan', I was not quite sure if I wanted to take up acting as a career. I was doing a few critically acclaimed tele-serials such as `Oru Vazhiyum Kure Nizhalukalum,' based on Rajalakshmi's novel, `Avasthantharangal,' and so on. I just wanted to give films a try at that time."

Jyothirmayee feels that her stint as an actor and anchor on the small screen has helped her in her style of presentation and given her the confidence to face the camera.

It was in Satish Menon's `Bhavum' that she first got an opportunity to prove herself as an actor. Her performance in `Bhavum' as a lecturer who goes through a turbulent patch in her marital life won her the special mention of the jury in the National Film Awards.

"Satish's `Bhavum' is special to me as it cast me as a heroine for the first time," she adds.

Lenin Rajendran's `Annyar,' Sibi Malayil's `Ente Veedu Appoonteyum' and T.V.Chandran's `Kadhavaseshan' were some of the films that gave her the opportunity to showcase her histrionic talent.

On a roll

After fine performances in V.K. Prakash's `Moonnamathoraal' (opposite Jayaram) and `Chacko Randaman' (with Kalabhavan Mani), she is now acting as Suresh Gopi's wife in `Bada Dosth.' Her films that will start rolling soon include M.A.Nishad's `Pakal' with Prithviraj and a Tamil film, `Sabari.'

Unlike many heroines in Malayalam cinema, Jyotirmayee has not let her marriage put a stop to her career as an actor. Glamorous roles in `Idhaya Thirudan' and `Thalainagaram' came after her marriage to Nishad.

She believes that it is tough for actors who are married to get good roles in Malayalam cinema.

"There is this notion that the audience will not accept a married woman as a heroine. So you have to put in double the effort to prove yourself as an actor who has no intention of leaving your producers in the lurch."

`Thalainagaram' has been declared a hit, "but I don't know if people will start mobbing me as I have not been to Chennai after the film was released," says Jyothirmayee with a laugh.

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