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Class ACT

After "Virumaandi", Abhirami is waiting for scripts that offer scope for acting


IT'S HARD to believe this is the girl who played the role of Annalakshmi in Kamal Hassan's latest flick "Virumaandi".

Clad in a chic salwar with tresses let loose, Abhirami hardly looks the bold village lass she played with finesse in the movie.

Abhirami faintly remembers her movie debut. "I was eleven when I acted in noted filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan's "Kathapurushan." It was a small role and I did not realise I was working with a legend like Adoor," she recalls.

"I have seen him taking the entire day to shoot a scene and used to wonder what he was up to. Now, I understand his passion for perfection."Movies, however, were never a career option for Abhirami.

"I wanted to become a veterinary doctor. But, I was put off when told that I would have to dissect animals. Then, I dreamt of being a journalist," she says with a smile. That did not happen too.

Anchoring programmes for Asianet opened new vistas for her. Soon, she started acting in Malayalam movies. She played the lead role in "Gnangal Santhustarane". "It was exciting to see myself on a poster."

Did "Virumaandi" give her the much-needed break in Tamil cinema? "It is definitely a milestone in my career. But, I won't term it a break," she says.

"Initially, I was apprehensive about doing the role. Annalakshmi has a personality of her own and is bold. I did my homework and learnt the Madurai dialect. The junior artistes from Madurai helped me get the accent. My make-up had a brownish tinge to accentuate the rustic look," she adds.

She credits Kamal Hassan with fleshing out the character she portrayed. "It was like going through a crash course in filmmaking. I approached it as if it was my first movie. I got into the skin of the character and learnt to forget that I was the heroine." "It felt great to hear people calling me Annalakshmi," she avers.

The bull, Sorimuthu, played an important role in the movie. How comfortable was she sharing screen space with him?

"I have a special relationship with Sorimuthu. He was a good buddy. Even now if I see a bull on the road I feel he is Sorimuthu. It is as if he is my pet."

Playing a village girl is not new for this 21-year-old actress.

She donned a similar role in "Samudhram" and in a Malayalam movie. But, "Virumaandi" was "something different."

With 20 movies in her kitty, (in four South Indian languages), Abhirami says that, henceforth, she will be choosy in her roles.

"I will not act in masala movies. My character should be important. If I accept all offers, the zeal for acting will be lost."

She has now signed up with director Vikraman for a Telugu movie and is also acting in a Kannada film. Pursuing a bachelor's degree in English literature through correspondence, the actress she misses college life and all the fun.

M. ALLIRAJAN,
RAYAN ROZARIO

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