She has been elusive for sometime. Post Iyobinte Pusthakam (2014), one didn’t get to see much of Padmapriya on screen, though we knew she was attending a course in New York University and married.
Quiz her about the sabbatical, she says: “Everybody wants to break the monotony. For me, it was a natural progression of my life. I did a course in public policy, read, travelled, tried my hand at theatre and off broadway shows, which I think is essential for an actor. Exploring different facets of life is requisite, not a luxury,” she says.
Obviously, Padmapriya hadn’t given the artist in her a break. Hence, there is no question of comeback too. She says: “I was doing theatre with Blue Ocean Group, then tried my vocal skills, brushed up dancing and took up writing course. There was too much going on.”
All these, Padmapriya thinks, is an extension of the person she is, rather than an effort to branch out. And, she was listening to scripts as well. She has done four movies,
Playing Vasundara Devi
Padmapriya is quite upfront about her role in Tiyan, which is her first Malayalam project in three years. “My character, Vasundara Devi, is not actually something big. It is a movie from male perspective but Vasundara Devi is catalyst to certain incidents, so the character demanded someone with a strong screen presence. When Murali Gopy narrated the script, with all its underlying philosophy, I was convinced about the movie and its commercial viability,” says Padmapriya.
And, her choices are flexible and extreme too. She is equally eloquent about the role of a sex worker she plays in Madhupal’s Oru Ratriyude Kooli, one of the 11 movies in the anthology Crossroads.
“The protagonist is the amalgam of a sex worker and a maid. The movie is unique because it treats a sex worker like any other woman and offers no moral explanation as to why her life is that. It is realistic. We shot for it in the busy streets of Thiruvananthapuram,” says Padmapriya. And, the best part of Oru Ratriyude Kooli is its stunning climax, says an excited Padma.
But while being so articulate about her choices of movies and characters, Padmapriya says even she had her fangirl moment. “I had always adored Saif Ali Khan and I was star-struck when I got to play his wife in Rajakrishna Menon’s Chef. “Though I never could tell him about how I was his fan, I enjoyed working with him and others, including Chandan Roy Sanyal,” she says.
She has been to almost every South Indian industry and Bollywood (Striker in 2010), but Padmapriya is still amazed over the man to woman ratio in Bollywood, than any other industry.
“The gap is too visible. I noticed that while doing Chef. We had so many women on the sets and there is a certain comfort that it gives. The professionalism of the industry impresses her. “We had workshops before the shoot begins. That way, you get to know your co-actors well and the initial days of the shoot go well. There are no inhibitions, lots of freedom and people treat you seriously. Our suggestions are valued and the whole process is very realistic,” she says. Padmapriya has also done a Telugu movie Patel SIR.