Confident and more than ready to share her opinion on everything from her latest character, Panimalar, to women in cinema, Parvathi Menon isn’t your run-of-the-mill actress.
If nothing, her selection of projects till date will justify this. Eleven movies old, she began with the Malayalam Notebook, was in Poo and most recently, the ensemble film, Chennaieil Oru Naal, in Tamil. Next up is Bharatbala’s Maryan, with Dhanush in the lead, a tale of survival, love and separation. Menon gets talking about her character challenging perceptions of today’s woman.
Playing Dhanush’s love interest, a village belle, in Maryan:
It’s not the labels that drew me towards or away from the character. What interested me was that love helps Maryan through the struggle and the pain he goes through, and Panimalar is the provider of that love and not a character in an unnecessary sub-plot. I also wanted to bring an element of femininity to the character that was unconventional and real.
Why Panimalar is not the stereotypical rustic woman:
She’s definitely not the clichéd compliant village girl. She’s powerful, spunky and resilient, but still vulnerable and ready to take a leap of faith. A lot of interesting disagreements happened on location, as some people on the team weren’t happy with a village belle harbouring a fearless personality. But it has managed to challenge their perceptions of today’s woman, urban or rural.
Telling a story with five scenes (Chennaieil Oru Naal) versus 50 scenes (Maryan):
It’s equally hard. While five scenes pose a challenge to flesh out the character, 50 scenes may dilute story-telling. On the bright side, Chennaieil Oru Naal urged me to pay attention to detail, because the character’s appearance itself should flesh out the basic background.
Lessons from Bharatbala and Dhanush:
Bharatbala allows a certain freedom in terms of letting the actor’s character fall into place. There was a lot of spontaneity on set. As for Dhanush, he’s very focussed, doesn’t like wasting his energy on small talk, and prefers spending time sculpting his character.
From rustic woman to an urban role:
I hope so. I’m also sick of love stories. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be flooded with love interest roles after Maryan, but I’m going to wait and watch.