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Aditi Balan: Even though Aruvi hit theatres, it got a wider reach after its OTT release

The actress’ Malayalam debut Cold Case, which also has Prithviraj Sukumaran in the lead, is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Sanjith Sidhardhan
Jun 30, 2021
 
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While Aditi Balan is just a few films old, her brilliant performance as a rebellious woman who holds a TV studio hostage in Aruvi already made her a talent to look out for. To follow up on the success of the Tamil film, the actress chose two Malayalam projects that have her sharing screen space with Nivin Pauly and Prithviraj, respectively.  

Her latest film Cold Case, which is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video, has her playing an investigative journalist who is confronted with a series of supernatural incidents after moving into a new house with her daughter. In an interview with OTTplay, Aditi talks about her role in the Tanu Balak directorial, her criteria while picking films and more.

After the huge success of Aruvi, you picked two Malayalam movies – Nivin Pauly’s Padavettu and Prithviraj’s Cold Case. Tell us how you got busier in Malayalam than Tamil.

I liked the two projects that I got in Malayalam and I have been a huge fan of Malayalam cinema, so that’s why I picked them. But it’s not about more Malayalam and fewer Tamil films, if I get good scripts in Tamil, I will do it. 

What attracted you to the character of Medha Padmaja, an investigative reporter in Cold Case?

Honestly, it was the script, which is based mostly on the plot than the characters. Also, horror and thriller are genres that most people enjoy watching and this film had the right mix of both. Of course, it was a great opportunity for me to work with Prithviraj, who is a superstar. So, I picked it as soon as I got it. 

Cold Case was a film that went on floors after the lockdown. So, what were the challenges shooting the movie?

Personally, I didn’t face too many challenges; we were all masked-up and maintaining social distancing. It was a quick project that was done seamlessly. But I guess the production and direction team might have faced more hassles in terms of finding locations and getting artistes to come and shoot during the pandemic. 

For Aruvi, you had shed 10 kilos and isolated yourself for 45 days to prepare for the character. Did you have to go through any of that for Medha?

Not really, I didn’t have any prep work for this film. I got the narration, read the script and once everything was finalised, we began shooting. There weren’t any big preparations. Also, because I have a law background and have a lot of journalist friends, I had an idea but I didn’t really take any pointers from them. As I had mentioned, the script was more about the plot and so none of us, including Prithviraj, added too much to our characters. We were all part of the plot, which was taking the story forward. 

In Cold Case, Medha is as important as Prithviraj’s ACP Sathyajith. After playing the central character in Aruvi, did you decide to choose characters that had more screen space?

No, if you look at the other two Tamil films (Yennai Arindhaal and Kutty Story) I have done, the screen space and screen time doesn’t really matter to me. It has been about the importance of the character I play in the film. For me, it’s always been about the script more than anything else. Even when I chose Aruvi, I was mind-blown by the script rather than the character, but I was fortunate that the movie revolved entirely around my character. 

In Aruvi, you had decided that you would begin the shoot by tackling a lengthy dialogue first. With Padavettu being your first Malayalam signing, were there any such tasks that you took up?

Actually, it’s difficult to compare Aruvi with any other film because that’s my baby project that I did when I didn’t even know if I wanted to get into films. So, there’s a huge difference between Aruvi and the other projects for me. For Padavettu, even though I know Malayalam, I found it difficult to get the slang right and had to work on that. 

Your mother’s a Malayali and with Cold Case being your first Malayalam release, did you want to watch it in theatres?

Honestly, as I am comparatively new in the industry, I never thought about OTTs and theatres. Of course, when we were shooting Cold Case, it was meant to be released in theatres. But considering the situation right, I guess it was best to release it in OTTs. So, I am not really disappointed about it. I am actually happy because even Aruvi, while it released in theatres, it got wider reach over OTT platforms. 

You are probably one person who got busier after the start of the pandemic.

Yes (laughs), actually I have done all my projects after Aruvi during the pandemic. It’s like the pandemic was one of the reasons for me to push myself. 

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