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Films and the fuse box

Engineer-turned-actor Suchitra Pillai has now stepped into Hollywood



First love Sadly theatre doesn't pay well enough to make a living from it, says Suchitra Pillai Photo: A. Roy chowdhury

Brains and beauty is a potent combination and Suchitra Pillai has both in plenty. She has stepped into Hollywood with Marigold now. TV, Bollywood, the stage and even a French music video that's topping the charts out there — that's what Suchitra has achieved.

The lady, who hails from Thiruvananthapuram with an engineering degree to boot, would love to act opposite Mohanlal or Mammooty. What's new in the Bollywood star's life? Excerpts from an interview...

Can you speak or write Malayalam?

I can speak Malayalam but can't read or write it. Since childhood we have always had domestic help from Kerala, so that's how I learnt to speak Malayalam.

You acted in Page 3. What do you feel about the celebrity life led by such Page 3 folks and the effect it has on them?

I was part of the film since I do fall under that category of people in Mumbai. That kind of life is part and parcel of the job as far as I am concerned. As long as you don't let it get to your head and have a grip on things, it doesn't adversely affect anyone. Everyone has a choice, whether it is attending a party or being part of the Page 3 circuit.

You are interested in stage, radio, TV and video. What else now?

At the moment, I am still part of three theatre productions and am currently shooting for a Hollywood film called Marigold, starring Salman Khan. I am a radio jockey and am also trying to work on an album. No TV at the moment but no regrets. I just did a French music video for an artiste called Zazie that is now No. 1 on the charts in France.

Can you use your engineering degree anywhere in your career?

(Laughs heartily) I have never had the chance to use my engineering degree but I always say if I am on a film set and the lights blow up, at least I know what to do with the fuse box!

What gives you maximum satisfaction from the creative perspective — film, TV, stage or radio?

Theatre, without a doubt, because you have your audience reaction right in front of you and don't have to wait for critics. But sadly, it doesn't pay well enough to earn a living from it. Next would be film because you really get to analyse a role and be that character for the duration of the film.

How conventional or traditional are you?

I believe in family values. I respect my family's opinion about everything but I have had a cosmopolitan upbringing so I'm not too conservative in my views. Traditional values have always been maintained at home but nothing has ever been forced on us.

What about your wedding plans?

I'm getting married soon, most probably in Kochi. Lars is an environmental engineer from Denmark. I met him in Mumbai. Since I wanted him to have a taste of our tradition I will be having a Kerala-style wedding.

How do you rate Malayalam films?

I am familiar with Malayalam films which I feel are more creative than Bollywood and yes, I would love to act in them if given the chance. Who wouldn't want to work with Mammooty or Mohanlal?

What is your favourite attire?

I love to wear chiffon saris but for parties anything modern is fine. On a normal day I prefer to wear jeans and a top. My favourite colours are red and black.

PREMA MANMADHAN

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