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Birthmark actor Mirnaa Interview - I want to fulfil my artistic cravings, and not just sit back and be a pretty face

Actor Mirnaa, who will be next seen in Birthmark, talks about playing pregnant, breaking the stereotypes, and swinging between commercial and arthouse films 

Birthmark actor Mirnaa Interview - I want to fulfil my artistic cravings, and not just sit back and be a pretty face

Last Updated: 04.35 PM, Feb 21, 2024


After basking in the commercial success of Jailer and critical acclaim with Burqa, actor Mirnaa is once again back in Tamil cinema, kickstarting her count for this year with Birthmark. Ahead of the film's release on Friday (February 23), the actor, in an exclusive chat with OTTplay speaks about Birthmark, playing a pregnant woman, and breaking the stereotypes that surround it.

“Birthmark is a suspense thriller, but I would say it is a beautiful love story. When they had approached me with the script, they said it is a thriller, but reading it, I chanced upon a beautiful line on love. So, as I began performing it, the love aspect became more prominent. It is a battle between two hearts at the core,” says Mirnaa.


About Birthmark

The film will see Mirnaa playing the role of Jenny, an expecting mother in her 20s, and the challenges she faces within herself, her husband, and how she overcomes them. The actor continues, “If you separate life into two parts, the first part of a girl’s life is who she is, with the second part being a mother. In this story also, we have shown how the second part begins in this girl’s life and how it can change her.”

Speaking about how Birthmark will tackle the concept of motherhood, Mirnaa says that birthing is often kept as a “secretive process” and limited to be women-centric topic. She also adds that unlike in other countries where the husband is mandated to be part of birthing, India alienates women alone to the process. “The weight, pain and burden, now solely rests upon the women. We wanted to reverse this and show how it is also the process where a man becomes a father and he too goes through changes,” Mirnaa says while revealing that at the start of the film, the director (Vikram Shreedharan) and his wife also began their pregnancy journey, who gave birth to girl baby a when the film finished.

“The characters were growing with him and enjoying the process. The way he took care of his wife, experiencing parenthood, was nourishing. While shooting the film, we always treated it in an artistic way and we did not want this film to be commercialised,” Mirnaa reveals.

Shattering stereotypes

The conversation also veers towards how industry has become more accepting of women to play pregnant and mothers, while not being typecasted into such roles in the future or being a victim of ageist culture. Agreeing with such statements which existed, Mirnaa says that it is an artist’s personal choice. “I have heard that the audience might not accept if I do the role of a pregnant lady or a mother. But it is not about them. It is just about you and the fear you have. It is always a treat to them when we show versatility. That is a challenge. I want to satisfy all my artistic cravings and have a learning arc instead of a straight line. I don’t want to sit back and just be a pretty face. I also don’t want to be insecure and let people see me as a 20-year-old for the next 10 years and not show any other face and be monotonous. How long can we keep ourselves in a comfort zone? An artist should grow at every level and not have that insecurity.”

On playing pregnant

Mirnaa, while stating that the film will only concentrate on pregnancy and not beyond, says that being mother and a pregnant mother are two different things. “We have shown until the seventh month. Her body is different, be it about belly size, emotions, food habits, walking style, and what you go through will change drastically every week. So, I had to work on that for my character,” Mirnaa reveals.

Detailing the ordeal, she had to grow through physically to play pregnant, the actor elaborates, “We had to use dummy tummy for the fourth month and we had to constantly change it as it progressed. You have to create a bond with the tummy, so you feel like a pregnant woman. As an artist, I learned a lot during these moments.

Calling the process challenging and painful, Mirnaa recalls the time when she joined the sets of Birthmark soon after she played an 18-year-old girl in Telugu film Crazy Fellow (2022). “She is a small, thin, and vibrant girl. But when I came to Birthmark, I had to play a 5-month pregnant woman on day one,” Mirnaa adds before telling how she had to change from her athletic body type to that of a pregnant woman. Having to put on weight, the actor said that Birthmark was shot in a linear fashion and when they shot the climax, she had gained enough weight for a double chin and swelled-up body.

For playing pregnant, Mirnaa used a dummy tummy, starting from 2 kg to as heavy as 9 kg as the baby bump increased. “It hung on my shoulder and strapped on to my back. My bladder was tightened and I was carrying the tummy for almost 2 weeks, from morning to evening apart from a 20-minute break a day. After the shoot, I was taken to the hospital for a laser treatment for my back, so that my spine wa fine. In fact, even if I want to sit, I need to have someone for the back support,” Mirnaa explains as she says how despite all of this, she grew close to her dummy tummy.

A balance between art and commercial

Mirnaa is quite clear that she is in character only between action and cut, which is diametrically opposite to her co-star Shabeer Kallarakkal, who plays her husband Danny in the film. “I called him Danny throughout the shooting and from morning to night, he behaves like his character. You cannot see Shabeer at all and I sometimes wondered how he would behave in real life,” she adds.

The actor says the effort is the same when it comes to both arthouse and commercial films. Citing the example of Jailer in which Mirnaa has limited dialogues, the actor says, “I have a lot of emotional blocks to perform, so that the audience can connect with it. When I get the story, we get only the basic skeleton, but when you filter as a character and take up the work, you work on it. My character, Swetha, is an introvert and almost invisible. She absorbs, but does not express. That is the effort an artist has to take. While commercial films give us a relaxed workspace, an arthouse project will have budget and artist constraints. So, you get less time and contained workspace. That is the only difference. Otherwise, be it a 1 crore or 100 crore movie, the efforts are the same.”

Reiterating that cinema is an entertaining medium and should be consumed on big screens, simply because theatres give that needed atmosphere for viewing. “I always prefer to do films that go well in theatres. But nowadays, content is important and not all films are theatre films. So, creators are still able to make a film of their choice for the OTTs. It is because theatres are large scale. Personally, my end goal is also to create an audience who have faith in me and believe that I can give them good cinema,” she elaborates.

Mirnaa is currently shooting for Iraivan Miga Periyavan, directed by Ameer which has a script by Vetrimaaran. The actor also has a Kannada and Malayalam project in the pipeline.

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