CHENNAI: She’s one of the few lucky heroines who has had two films releasing in the same month — and doing well. With ‘Muthukku Muthaga’ and ‘Nanjapuram’ finally out, actor Monika heaves a sigh of relief, happy with the response. She has done 30 films in all the Southern languages as a child artiste, acted in 15 films as a heroine, and modelled for TV ads. Though she’s yet to reach the top rungs, Monika is happy with the way her career is picking up.
“I play Annamayil, a village nurse in ‘Muthukku Muthaga’, opposite Vikranth. It’s a big thing for me that despite the huge star cast, my character and performance received good mention in all the reviews,” she smiles.
But it’s in ‘Nanjapuram’, where she plays a village girl living in an area full of snakes, that Monika reveals her braver side. Working with snakes was not easy, but it was her experience and victory in the reality show — ‘Anu Alavum Bayamillai’ — that came handy.
“On that show, I had crabs on my feet, snakes in my hand and yet won the title. I guess that came in handy now!” she says. “Shooting in the forests around Periyakulam in Manjal aaru, there were real snakes too, apart from the trained ones. We could hear them while shooting in the night. It was scary!”
While shooting for the film, Monika was riding in a bullock cart, when she hit a tree branch by mistake. “As I touched my head in pain, I found it filled with red ants! Bearing painful ant bites, I couldn’t shoot for two days!”
But despite the odds, she’s happy playing the solo heroine now. “Right from films like ‘Azhagi’ in 2003 to ‘Bhagwati, Dass’, ‘Sandaikozhi’, ‘Aa Aa Ee Ee’ and others, I have been the second lead. That was a mistake I made. So in ‘Silandhi’, I played solo for the first time, and ‘Nanjapuram’ followed.”
But her skin show in ‘Silandhi’ drew the ire of her fans. So today, Monika is surer of her goals, and wants to do meaningful roles. With a spate of good films on hand, she’s optimistic about the future. “I have ‘Happy Husbands’ in Kannada, which is a remake of the Hindi superhit, ‘No Entry’. In Tamil, I have ‘Agaradhi’, ‘Varnam’ and ‘Kanikapuram Sandhippil’.”
Braving dangers seems to be a way of life for the spunky lass. In ‘Agaradhi’, she did a dangerous shot, falling off the walls of the Golconda Fort, without a body double. “Though I had protective chains binding me, it was still very risky. Tourists, who had gathered there, began shouting at the unit for making me do the shot. But I felt it would add to the scene, and it did!” she exclaims.
Learning from the past and putting her best foot forward, looks like there’s no stopping this young heroine from reaching her goals in Kollywood!