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Darshana Rajendran: In Purusha Pretham, I had to fully subscribe to the idea Krishand had in his mind | Exclusive

Hridayam and Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey star Darshana Rajendran talks about her latest movie Purusha Pretham, which is set to drop on Sony LIV

Darshana Rajendran: In Purusha Pretham, I had to fully subscribe to the idea Krishand had in his mind | Exclusive
Darshana Rajendran | Photo credit: Kiran V S

Last Updated: 01.31 PM, Mar 23, 2023


Few actors can stake a claim to being part of two blockbusters in Malayalam the same year. Darshana Rajendran, who played the female lead in Vineeth Sreenivasan’s Hridayam and Vipin Das’ Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey, has done that and still keeps surprising the audience with her choice of roles and films. Her next release Purusha Pretham, which is helmed by Kerala State Award-winner Krishand's Purusha Pretham, is a total contrast from both her superhits. 

In an exclusive interview with OTTplay, the Thuramukham actress talks about what attracted her to Purusha Pretham, how shooting for the film proved to be a new experience and the changes in terms of the roles that have been offered to her post Hridayam and Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey.

James Eliya and Darshana Rajendran in a still from Purusha Pretham
James Eliya and Darshana Rajendran in a still from Purusha Pretham

Director Krishand’s Purusha Pretham is a noirish crime-comedy – a genre that hasn’t been attempted often in Malayalam. Was that an aspect that attracted you to the role?

I hadn’t watched Krishand’s Aavasavyuham when I got this project. I got a call from an excited Krishand, who was telling me about the film in hush tones because he had just put his baby to sleep. He was controlling his excitement, but it was there. He sounded extremely convinced. The story worked well for me because what he wanted to say and how he was choosing to do that was contradictory because it has a dark, heavy subject that’s told in a fun and entertaining way. I didn’t need much more than that. I go purely by those few things, like if the content is exciting and if it is a person, I feel like working with. So, it was an easy choice for me.

However, I think they approached me expecting me to say no for some reason. I was almost confused if they actually wanted me in the project. They went through this circle of looking at people and then they reached me. Prashanth was the one who called me first and said that there is this film and it falls in a particular space. I think this was after Hridayam and there was this idea of a commercial heroine space that I had occupied; so, they were sort of hesitant to offer me this. I said, ‘Yeah, I want to do this’.

A poster of Purusha Pretham
A poster of Purusha Pretham

There are a lot of layers to your character Susan in the film.

As an actor, it’s exciting when your character is saying things but there are many more aspects to what you are saying. It’s that much more challenging. The scenes in Purusha Pretham were also written that way; it’s not like she’s saying a lot in the film, but there’s a lot happening to her in this journey. I had a lot of fun with the character too.

Be it Mahesh Narayanan’s C U Soon, Rajeev Ravi’s Thuramukham or Krishand’s Purusha Pretham, you have worked with filmmakers who have doubled up as cinematographers too. How does that help the film?

All these people have made for my favourite experiences of working in films. I don’t know how they do it because it is such a task. With Rajeev ettan, he had to control about 100 people and then he had to immediately jump behind the camera; I don’t know how he does that.

A still from Purusha Pretham
A still from Purusha Pretham

With Krishand as well, I don’t think I knew what was going on. I had to fully subscribe to the idea that he had in his mind. I don’t think I got involved with anything. It was unconventional, the way things were happening on the sets. Usually, you have a master shot and after that you go for a person’s close-up or over-the-shoulder shots and you are familiar with all of that. But in Purusha Pretham, it wasn’t.

On the first day of a shoot, you go expecting what you are used to but it was none of that. So, I had to completely let go of all ways of working before and I was like, ‘This person has an idea of what he is doing and I am just going to be a tool that he can use’.


For instance, the film’s teaser has a scene where people were swaying together. These were things that were only in Krishand’s head and as an actor, these aren’t aspects that are very clear to you or you know why you are doing it. I faced this with multiple scenes in the film, including the shot of Susan sitting with big shades and the kajal running down. These are dramatic and out-of-the-ordinary scenes. I had understood (these scenes) to the extent of how much I should create, but there was something even bigger happening inside Krishand’s head. I was very happy and comfortable just knowing how much I did and fully trusting this person who I was sure had a brilliant idea of what he was doing. That was a mode I went with. It was great because it was new to me.

You were part of two of the biggest hits last year – Hridayam and Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey. Has there been a change in terms of the roles that are being offered to you now?

Yes, I think there has been a change in terms of what I used to get while I was doing Maayanadhi and Virus. I feel that was the time when those were the characters that I found exciting and wanted to do. But I have always felt that there’s more that I can do. Some of my recent films have helped in this perception that this person can be placed in different ways.

Hridayam changed a lot of things. A few days ago, I took this flight from Bengaluru and I was sitting next to a slightly-aged lady who hasn’t seen my films. We were having a conversation and she had asked me what I did. When I told her, she just couldn’t place me as an actor. She was like, ‘Don’t you need to be tall to be a heroine?’ I said, ‘Not anymore. There are different kinds of heroines these days.’

It felt good because Hridayam placed me in ‘running in slow motion’ scenes that I have never done. It has changed how I have been perceived in the actor space. Even the first half of Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey is something that I am familiar with. I have played the tormented person, I have been the person bleeding, in hospitals and been wronged. I think the second half of the film is something that no one has seen me doing. That has also changed the perception of people.

But has your approach to the characters and films changed?

How I am going about this is pretty much the same, actually. I feel like I am still going by the same rules. I am really not bothered about, you know, if the role is big or important. These are not things I had gone by before. Today, it’s just the wider range of roles I get to choose from. That’s the only difference.

Purusha Pretham, which also has Prashanth Alexander and Jagadeesh in central roles, is set to drop on Sony LIV on March 24.

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