...says Thamaasha actor Divyaprabha who managed to make a solid impression with her character ‘Babitha teacher’ — a soft-spoken college lecturer whom Vinay Forrt’s ‘Sreenivasan sir’ takes a liking to — in the film
Divyaprabha’s entry into cinema was quite interesting. She happened to be taking her morning jog one day while director Joshy was shooting Mohanlal’s Lokpal at Kochi’s Subash Park. Joshy and writer SN Swamy approached her about a small part which she agreed to do. After Lokpal, she was cast in films such as Take Off and Kammarasambhavam in smaller parts, in addition to a supporting role in KK Rajeev’s TV serial Eeshwaran Sakshiyayi.
She got the part in Thamaasha through an audition process and is of the opinion that auditions are a good idea, as filmmakers won’t end up getting disappointed later if things don’t work out the way they want to. “It’s only through an audition that we get to prove that we are ideal for a particular character. When we are confident, the filmmakers also become confident,” she adds.
This year, she also dabbled in theatre for the first time, starring in a play titled A Very Normal Family directed by Thottappan actor Roshan Mathew. It was Divyaprabha’s curiosity about live performances that led her to it. In the play, she played a middle-aged woman named Molly, an “extremely challenging” role, according to her.
When asked if theatre or film is more demanding, she says, “Theatre, because the preparation process is completely different. The rehearsals are more demanding, physically. You’re required to do physical exercises and remain fully dedicated to it because you’re preparing for an hour-long play. It requires a strong presence of mind and energy. Though acting in a film has its own challenges, it’s relatively easier because of the technical support.”
Divyaprabha got her first taste of a rehearsal process through Thamaasha. She feels doing rehearsals is very essential. “I’ve not seen rehearsals happen here much. But now things are slowly changing. They’re so comforting as you get to know your character really well. Once you start filming, it won’t feel like you’re doing it for the first time. And since the Thamaasha team gave their actors a lot of space, I felt so relaxed. When Sameer Thahir set up his camera, he didn’t ask us to confine our performance to the camera movements; it was the other way around. As far as actors are concerned, it’s a major plus. There are no limitations.”
Divyaprabha isn’t bothered by a role’s duration provided it’s something that she feels is worth doing. “For me, it’s all about doing whatever is necessary to do that role well, regardless of the screentime. Take Nawazuddin Siddiqui, for example. He got noticed despite appearing in small roles initially.”
Her character in Thamaasha, she says, is different from her real-life personality. “Babitha is much more reserved and quiet. I’m more talkative and I always try to have a conflict-free conversation with people,” she laughs.