"I’m a graduate of the Pune Film Institute, and I never thought that I would get into the Tamil movie industry. I was actually planning to enter Bollywood and that is when SMS (Siva Manasula Sakthi), my debut Tamil film, happened. The project took eight months to complete and the movie was like a new film for everyone, given that director Rajesh was new and it was an image makeover for actor Jiiva too.
"I was very happy that I got such a pivotal role in SMS, which let me prove myself, and I knew that if the film did well, I would be noticed. Besides, SMS stopped people in the industry from looking at me the way they usually see any Mumbai girl.
"I wanted to be different in my second movie and that’s how I signed 'Madurai Sambavam'. I was selected for the role based on the work that I had done in college. I played a cop-cum-villain role in the movie and that proved that I could be as versatile as I wanted to be. Both actor Radharavi and I got good reviews for our performances in the movie, which was done on a small budget.
"And then, I took a break and concentrated on dance. I didn’t get to dance in any of my previous movies and so I did a show to let people know that I could dance as well. It helped me get a suitable role in 'Nagaram Marupakkam', directed by Sundar C.
"Later, I got a call from Shankar sir one day and he asked me if I could play the heroine’s sister’s role in Nanban. I immediately accepted the offer for two reasons. One, the offer was from one of the best directors in the country. In fact, it felt so good when Shankar sir said that he liked my performance in SMS.
Second, I knew the significance of the character. Apart from Ileana, I was the only other female character in the movie and it was a role that demanded my very best.
"However, it doesn’t mean that I would play any role that comes my way. For example, Vidya Balan was not only sexy in 'The Dirty Picture', but she proved her mettle as an actor too. I don’t think anybody else would have done it so well. That’s the kind of thing I want to do — be different and carve a niche for myself. Speaking of which, Kamal Haasan has been my inspiration too. But you can’t plan your future in the movie industry and should be ready to adapt to anything.
But one thing I’m sure of is: I want to be recognised as an actor who can tackle any role that comes her way.
(Anuya is an upcoming actress in south India).
As told to Venkadesan S