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In control

To small screen actress Kavya Shekar, roles alone matter not the medium



MAKING AN IMPACT Kavya Shekar PHOTO: K. V. SRINIVASAN

She cannot call her triumphant tryst with television a dream-come-true. If not for her classmate, who sent her picture just-for-fun to Mani Ratnam's office, the Mysore-based Tamilian girl Kavya Shekar, popularly recognised as "Sahana", would have continued being what she loves most — a homebird! "Or may be I would have studied more seriously," she says.

Far from the typical glamour-struck youngster, Kavya nurtured no starry ambitions. "One day there was a call from Mani Ratnam sir's office. My father didn't know why they were calling me for a screen test. Even I had forgotten all about the photograph. It took me some time to realise what was happening. After much deliberation at home, I finally decided to give it a shot," says the young actress, who shuttles between Mysore and Chennai, balancing academics and acting.

Kavya cleared the test and returned home only to be called again to discuss a film project. I couldn't accept the offer as it clashed with my 12th standard board exams. Didn't she ever regret her decision? "I know it was a lifetime chance but not at the cost of my education," avers Kavya, revealing an understanding well beyond her years.

Opportunity doesn't knock at your door twice, they say. But in Kavya's case it did knock again in the form of a plum offer from the makers of the Vikram-starrer "Pithamagan" only to be turned down for the same reason — exams. There was no question of brooding over it, as Kavya is clear about her priorities in life.

Thankfully, life is about chances too. One of her father's friends working for a television channel in Chennai suggested her name to KB, who was casting for his serial "Sahana". And the next thing Kavya knew was she started working with the most sought after director of Kollywood. Suddenly the future seemed to split open with the sweet promise of success.

Small screen debut

"I was destined to be under the arc lights," she laughs. Playing the central role in K. Balachander's serial "Sahana" (the small screen sequel to his hit film "Sindhu Bhairavi"), being directed and guided by the master filmmaker, winning over the audience and the mentor with her acting prowess, it was a perfect joyride for the debutante. "On the day of my first schedule, I was a little edgy seeing KB sir behind the camera. But once the camera started rolling, the fear slowly faded and I was at ease. After that I really had a blast throughout the making of the serial. At the end of it, I felt I had completed an exhaustive course on acting. One has to see him enact the scenes; it's unbelievable! ."

Right now making waves with her second serial "Engiruntho vanthal" (another Minbimbangal production) on Jaya TV, Kavya is game for big screen offers "but looking for roles that are decent and have depth."

CHITRA SWAMINATHAN

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