NAGERCOIL: A poor girl’s dream to make a mark in Tinsel Town was more than fulfilled when she got the chance to act in a major role in a French film. Thirty-year-old Janagi, the daughter of a brick kiln worker from a remote village near Aralvoimozhy in the district, bagged the role of Gracie in Son épouse (His Wife). Gracie experiences behavioral disorders as she is haunted by the memory of her French friend Catherine, the main character in the film.
But Janagi’s journey to stardom was not easy. A performing artiste from Devasahayam Mount near Aralvoimozhi, she was the youngest of five children to Devasahayam, a brick kiln worker, and Virisithal, an anganwadi worker. “After completing my plus-two, I was compelled to go for tailoring and other menial jobs as my family was very poor. During that time, I was attracted to what my cousin Selvi did -- she was part of a local cultural troupe Kalari and she used to act in plays,” said Janagi, speaking to Express. She later joined the troupe and learnt various folk arts. She was with them for three years, during which time she also managed to complete BA Tamil through correspondence.
When she joined another cultural troupe Murasu, she got the opportunity to participate in a workshop organised by the National School of Drama held in Nagercoil. The workshop helped her hone her acting skills and she later enrolled in a three-year full-time diploma course in dramatic arts at NSD and successfully completed the course.
In the course of time she got to know Prema Revwathy, who was a member of director Gautham Menon’s production team. Not only did she get the opportunity to work as an associate director in the French movie Son épouse, directed by Michel Spinso, but Revwathy, who knew about Janagi’s acting skills, also got her the role of Gracie, said Janagi.
Gracie is the friend of the main character, Catherine, a drug addict, etched by Charlotte Gainsbourg. After Catherine’s untimely death her spirit enters Gracie.
“I learnt French to act in the film and the shooting was held at Puducherry, Tenkasi and Besant Nagar in Chennai,” said Janagi. The film was released in Paris a few months back. Janagi knows 25 folk dances and is an expert in street theatre. Janagi also has brought to life a role in Malini 22 Palayamkottai.