This year is turning out to be prolific for actress Tulasi. “I have three films I am very excited about. I am reuniting with one of my favourite directors, Suseenthiran, for two films. I am also playing a fisherwoman in Nivin Pauly’s Richie. It’s a role that will surprise everyone who knows me,” she says.
After 300 films as a child artiste and a successful heroine, Tulasi now seems to be enjoying being a character artiste, and being part of films across languages. “Nothing excites me more than challenging roles and fresh scripts,” she says.
She is convinced that Richie is one such film. Gone are the trappings of rich urban mom, or middle-class mother, she feels. “I play a widowed fisherwoman in dire straits in Richie. It’s one of the seven important characters in the film. When Gautham Ramachandran came to me with this role, I was thrilled. It’s completely out of my comfort zone.
When people see me on screen, they may not even recognise it’s me!”
How did she prepare for it? “I never prepare for a role,” she says. “Preparation takes away from my spontaneity. I prefer to just hear the lines and get into character.”
The moment she stepped into the Tuticorin fishmarket, and absorbed the atmosphere, dressed in her ragged attire and caked hair, she says she transformed completely. Richie, said to be a remake of the Kannada film, Ulidavare Kandanthe, is touted to be Nivin Pauly’s first exclusive Tamil film.
Mention Suseenthiran’s name and her eyes shine: “He is a very sensitive director who carefully sculpts even the smallest of characters in his films. He gave me such a realistic mother role in Aadhalaal Kaadhal Seiveer, stripped of all artifice. Fans remember it even now. So when he called me for AKS 2, I jumped at it. I’ve shot with newcomers and nearly half of the shoot is complete. I play a middle class mom in a story that deals with a crucial period in the life of youngsters when they are confused about their decisions.”
About Suseenthiran’s other film, Aram Seithu Pazhagu, in which she plays Sundeep Kishan’s mom, she says, “We shot in Tambaram in a housing colony. It was lovely to chat with women in the colony, who remembered me for my role in Aadhalaal... When I wanted to make some juice for the unit, the women brought me half a dozen blenders from their kitchens! This kind of love is what we act for.”