Parvathy, who more than impressed audiences as Sarah in the Malayalam blockbuster Bangalore Days, has reprised her role in the Tamil remake of the film, Bangalore Naatkal. In an exclusive to City Express, the actor opens up on how she first landed the role for the Malayalam film, the efforts she took to portray her character (in a wheelchair) on screen, her directorial plans in the future and more. Excerpts follow...
Bangalore Days and your role in particular came in for much appreciation. How did it all happen in the first place?
I met Anjali, director of the Malayalam film Bangalore Days at the airport one day. I’ve always wanted to work with her. I believe that if you really want to do something in life and wish for it with a clean heart, it will happen to you. I remember seeing her movies. Two to three years before Bangalore Days happened, I had tried contacting her. Two years later, randomly, I met her at the airport and she was like ‘Oh my God! We have been trying to get in touch with you for this character’. I had no thoughts. That was the first time I didn’t even really listen to the story. I said, ‘Count me in. I’ll listen to the story later’. That was because I was sure of the movies that Anjali makes. That was how the role of Sarah came to me. Anjali gave me a one-liner of who Sarah was and interestingly, Sarah is probably the only character I was okay playing, despite not having the entire script.
What drew you to Anjali?
It was her first film, Manjadikuru that released in 2012.
So, what about it drew you?
The absolute necessity of the film. No frame in that film was a lie. No frame was unnecessary. No single story told in that film was unnecessary. It was told through the eyes of children. A filmmaker who can successfully make children live as their characters is a director. I want to work with her in any capacity. When I wrote to her, I said, ‘Madam, don’t hire me as an actor. Let me assist you. Let me watch you work because that is the school I belong to’.
Does this mean we will get to see Parvathy as a director someday?
Yes. I want to tell stories and I am tired of waiting.
When is this likely to happen?
Probably in a year or two.
What kind of homework did you have to do to play the character of Sarah?
Apart from minute details which might not be very obvious in the film (like it doesn’t matter what toothpaste Sarah uses), but I would still know, I would need to know reasons. Like on a particular day, if she is being a little rude to Arjun — say for instance, the first time she confronts him — it is not like Sarah to do that. She is usually a very polite person. She would confront a person but she is not that angry. I create an entire day for the character. The audience might meet the character at 4pm. I would create her from the time she woke up. Apart from this, I also needed other details like at what age she became a paraplegic? Was she an athlete before? Both Anjali and I worked on these details.
So, how long did she have to work on this character?
Probably a month before going to shoot. Also, I spent a week-and-a-half in a wheel chair. I first practised using a normal wheel chair. I assumed she probably started off with this, when she was 12 years old and became a paraplegic. And then, whenever they could afford an electronic one, she must have used it. I went around my house in it and tried to live that way. All this was done for the original Malayalam version. For the Tamil version, I didn’t have to go through the entire deal but I had my notes.
When you chose to do the Tamil version, we believe you made a request to director Baskar that characteristics of the original role in the Malayalam flick be retained. Why?
Only from the basics can we start improvising. Sarah’s upbringing and her religion have to be the same because her being Rukmini is not going to change anything.