She once made heads turn with her trademark saris, bangles, earrings and stylish coolers. And as unbelievable as it may seem, she looks the same even after 30 years! Chatting with actor Nadia Moidu is easy as she’s similar to her on-screen characters — no-nonsense, sharp and straightforward. She made her acting debut when she was 18 in the Malayalam hit film, Nokketha Doorathu Kannum Nattu (1984), which was later remade in Tamil, Poove Poochudava (1985).
The actor, who started her second innings with the Jayam Ravi-starrer M Kumaran S/O Mahalakshmi in 2004, plays a cop in the upcoming Tamil-Malayalam bilingual Thiraikku Varaadha Kadhai aka Girls, directed by veteran filmmaker Thulasidas. Interestingly, the film has only women — Kovai Sarala, Ineya, Aarthi, Eden Kuriakose, Reshma and others, in the main roles.
Nadia smiles, “Thiraikku... is about a group of girls in a film school and what happens when they decide to make their own film. I play a police officer. It’s an all-woman subject, with no male actor. I accepted the offer because of the content and the racy screenplay. This is an example that there can be exciting roles for a 40-plus actress.”
She is not new to khaki, as she has already played one in the Telugu version of Drishyam in 2014. “I didn’t do anything in particular to tone my body. I continued my regular gymming and other fitness-related exercises like cardio,” she says.
Nadia stays in Mumbai and shuttles between Chennai, Kerala and Mumbai depending on her projects and shooting schedule. “It has been nine years since we moved to Mumbai. Before that I was in the US. Now, my daughters Sanam and Jaana are studying there,” she tells CE.
Why are we not seeing her in many films? “I don’t do films for the sake of it. I’d rather do something that inspires the audience in some way. I am a practical woman, who’s quite happy with the mother and sister roles. I never had issues telling my age. Playing them will never let my stardom down. At the same time, directors should come up with more roles that do not stereotype elderly women. Women, after 40, ought to be shown in good, dignified roles without inhibitions,” she grins.
Nadia says she didn’t look at herself as a star and hence she left the industry when she was at the peak of her career “I was in love — long distance relationship. I chose to get married eventually and moved to the US. It doesn’t mean I never took my career seriously. I saw the life beyond cinema,” she laughs.
As the conversation progresses, she patiently posed for photographs with her fans. Is she always this patient and warm? “No, not at all. I can be equally explosive,” she chuckles.
We couldn’t help but comment on her fit body, and she says, “I think it comes from the positive approach towards life and I consider this a blessing. Also, I don’t let myself starve. I am an avid foodie but I know how much I should eat.”
Ask her about her experience working with the young talent and she says, “Honestly, it’s more fun than those days. Now I am getting to play ‘cool’ characters in both Telugu and Tamil, unlike the ones in the 80s. I have not done many films, but people remember me. Through these years, I think I have become more sensitive as an artiste. That’s why I am able to perform better with the maturity,” she explains.
Up next, she has Dhanush’s debut directorial venture Power Paandi in her kitty.