If you take a look at Vidya Pradeep’s body of work and attempted to describe it all with a single word, ‘unconventional’ would be it. The research scientist-turned-actor played a mother in her debut, Saivam. She followed this up with another unique choice in Pasanga 2, where she plays Munishkanth’s wife and a mother again.
She turned lead with Kalari, but also played a grey character in Iravukku Ayiram Kangal. Surprising everyone, she also made her way to television, playing the lead in the Tamil soap, Nayagi. Such choices naturally raised questions. “There were several questions when I agreed to do Saivam. But I have approached the roles only as an artiste — what scope they provide me and what I can bring to that character. I didn’t really think of what would happen afterward.”
She acknowledges that Saivam fetched her offers for only similar roles. But she isn’t perturbed. “As a professional, I don’t really worry about it. It isn’t that I want to play only lead roles. No matter what role it is, if it gives me the scope to perform or is challenging, I am ready to do it.”
Vidya is now back on the big screen with Magizh Thirumeni’s Thadam. “It is one of the best roles in my career,” she says, thanking the director for the opportunity. Vidya plays a no-nonsense cop in the thriller. To make her portrayal authentic, she observed how policewomen act and dress in real life. “It is the kind of role I have been waiting to do ever since I entered the industry. I can confidently say that Thadam has made me a better actor.”
Her move to television might have raised several eyebrows, but Vidya believes that it has not only fetched her recognition, but also more work. “Not many people remember characters from my films, but within a month of Nayagi, I received so much of love. In fact, I have started receiving more movie offers after Nayagi.”
The actor says she has evolved during her time in the industry, learning from her previous mistakes. “I used to be naive and trusted everyone. I missed several good films, and did films I probably shouldn’t have. But it is okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. It has all made me a better person. I am now more thoughtful about my decisions.”
But she shares that even now she only picks projects that she believes allow her to experiment — no matter what the role is. After Thadam, Vidya will play an important part in Chimbudevan’s next film. “I am also in talks for a web series where I will play the lead role. Apart from this, I have my scientific research work which I need to finish. I might be focusing more on that this year,” she signs off.