‘Spontaneity is crucial to doing humour’

Actor Aparna Balamurali, whose Nitham Oru Vaanam released last Friday, speaks about playing a cheerful character and the challenges that came alongside
Actress Aparna Balamurali
Actress Aparna Balamurali

Aparna Balamurali is now a National Award winner. The actor, who won it for her role as Bommi in Soorarai Pottru, asserts that more than the award itself, it is the film that brought about evolution to her career. “All the homework and acting workshops I underwent for Soorarai Pottru helped me immensely. It fine-tuned my craft and has given filmmakers the confidence to come up with promising roles for me,” she says. One such filmmaker, Ra Karthik, signed her up for his debut film, Nitham Oru Vaanam, which released last Friday. The title, which translates to ‘a new sky each day,’ can be thought of as a reflection of her career too, with each day bringing forth new opportunities.

“We have all been through difficult times due to the pandemic. Nitham Oru Vaanam provides everyone with much-needed hope and helps us overcome fears,” says Aparna, who believes the relatability of Nitham Oru Vaanam to be its greatest strength. “The ideas of this film align with my conviction that there is always a tomorrow to correct the mistakes of today,” says a smiling Aparna, who is confident that the audience too will be left with a smile on their faces after they watch the film.

After playing the fearless Bommi in Soorarai Pottru and the independent Sowmya in Veetla Vishesham, Aparna is playing a cheerful and unapologetic character, Mathi, in Nitham Oru Vaanam. The actor shares that a sense of humour was necessary to play Mathi. “Spontaneity is the key when you are playing a character like Mathi. It was a hectic shoot, but I was able to pull off the comedy, thanks to the people around me, especially Ashok Selvan who made me feel comfortable. Also, I observed that everyone was receptive to suggestions, and it resulted in better performances.”

She calls Nitham Oru Vaanam a “slice-of-life film with travel at its core” and speaks of believing in the power of journeys to transform. “Although I have travelled to different places for events, I know I have a lot to explore. Also, I realised that every place has something new to offer and has the potential to become a cherishing memory. I have decided to travel as much as I can during my breaks.”

In her eight-year-long career, Aparna has already done some memorable roles in Malayalam cinema like Oru Second Class Yatra (2015), Maheshinte Prathikaram (2016), Sunday Holidays (2017) and Sundari Gardens (2022). She also has a promising lineup, including Kaapa, Padmini, and Dhoomam. Attributing the success of her performances to the diversity of these roles, Aparna says, “Whenever I get time between shooting for different films, I ensure I undergo proper rehearsals. However, there are times when there are no breaks in between shoots, and I make sure that at least I’m thorough with the script-reading and try to mentally get into the role.”

The actor has also been a prominent voice in the battle for pay equity and against body-shaming trends on social media. The National Award has made her more cognisant of advocating for such causes, she admits. “I have experienced body shaming earlier, especially on social media. While the compliments easily outweigh unfavourable ones, I was still pleasantly surprised to see fans defending me from the harmful comments. I am proud of such voices who speak out on social media,” she says.

Aparns winds up this conversation by expressing gratitude for the inspiring individuals around her. “Life can be rough, but it is upto me to choose the kind of experiences and memories that I would like to remember for years to come. Change is the only constant, right?” she signs off, with a philosophical smile.

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The New Indian Express