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Home»Interview»Exclusive! Kalyani Priyadarshan: I couldn't relate to Thallumaala's Beepathu but I’m glad the makers saw me in the role»

Exclusive! Kalyani Priyadarshan: I couldn't relate to Thallumaala's Beepathu but I’m glad the makers saw me in the role

The Bro Daddy and Hridayam actress talks about playing the role of a vlogger in Tovino Thomas-starrer Thallumaala, which is set to hit theatres on August 12

  • Sanjith Sidhardhan

Last Updated: 06.45 AM, Aug 03, 2022

Exclusive! Kalyani Priyadarshan: I couldn't relate to Thallumaala's Beepathu but I’m glad the makers saw me in the role
Kalyani Priyadarshan in a still from Thallumaala

Kalyani Priyadarshan is up for a hat-trick of hits this year! The actress, who was part of Vineeth Sreenivasan’s superhit Hridayam and Prithviraj Sukumaran’s OTT directorial Bro Daddy, will next be seen as a vlogger in Khalid Rahman’s Thallumaala, which has Tovino Thomas in the lead. Though the role of an urban social media influencer might seem like a walk in the park for Kalyani, the young actress says the experience of working in the entertainer was quite the contrary.

In an exclusive interview with OTTplay, the actress talks about the several reasons that attracted her to be part of the film, which is set to hit theatres worldwide on August 12, and working with team that also featured Shine Tom Chacko and writers Muhsin Parari and Ashraf Hamza.

Tell us about your first reaction on hearing about Beepathu from Thallumaala.

They came to me saying that they were trying to do their version of a commercial film. When you generally think of such films, you have a certain kind of heroine in mind, and in comes this very outgoing, rich and spoilt girl. She is way more famous than the hero and the words that the director used to describe her was ‘unnecessary jada’. I found all of these atypical and thought it would be an interesting character to try out. I won’t get to play a character with this look in every film especially in Malayalam cinema, where there is a lot of realism. The makers of Thallumaala wanted to break all of that with this film.

Also read: Exclusive! Tovino Thomas: I pushed my limits to the maximum for Thallumaala's fight and dance sequences 

What was the most fun part about playing Beepathu? Was it the clothes, the look, the location or working with the team?

My favourite thing about the movie was shooting the song (Kannil Pettole). The clothes, the look – everything was great, and we were shooting in Dubai. None of us had sleep because we were shooting crazy hours and the sun was beating down on us when we were (car) drifting. She is a cool girl who does things that I never ever thought I would get to while playing a character.

She’s a social media influencer. But how much of an influence does social media wield in your life and how much could you relate to the character?

To be honest, I don’t relate to the character at all. What I found strange was that there are so many other characters from different social classes and backgrounds that I thought I would not relate to and would find challenging to portray on screen. But a role like this is harder for me to relate to; we might vacation in the same places and have the same kind of love that we are getting on social media, but as people, she and I are poles apart. I actually struggled a lot.

(Khalid) Rahman saw this character as someone who was one step above the hero. She believes she’s better than anyone, she walks into the room feeling she’s the most popular person there. I am really not that character. There were so many times where Rahman would come up to me after a shot and say that there isn’t enough energy, swag and attitude. And I would be apologetic and say, ‘I don’t know how to show more attitude than this’.

The energy that your characters demanded – from Varane Avashyamundu, which had you as a girl-next-door to Hridayam, Bro Daddy and now Thalumaala – has been on the rise. In a way, it also pushes you as a performer, doesn’t it?

Absolutely, that’s the best part of the job. One of the main reasons I was excited about Thallumaala was that it was a challenge. More than that, it is also so easy for women to get typecast and that too within a span of 3-4 films. And Thallumaala was a film in which the director pictured me as someone who is so different from who I am and I am so happy that he came to me with this role.

As someone who has also worked behind the camera, how did you conceive the film when they narrated the script, considering a lot of thought has gone into how the story is told as well as edited?

That’s the main reason I was attracted to the film. I honestly thought they were trying something new even though the formula was the same; as in the film has fights and songs but they have tried to tell that in their own way. This is a team who have tried their best to put their own spin to commercial cinema. Whether it works or not is in the audience’s hands, but I am proud to be part of a team that tried something new. The work that was put in as well as the glimpses that I have seen so far, I have watched all of that with a smile and I am really hoping it translates in the film.

How was it working with the team because be it Tovino or director Khalid and writers Muhsin and Ashraf, all of them are known for pushing themselves with each film?

I have worked in Malayalam films before but Thallumaala is the movie where I actually saw what slogging really is. On one particular day, we shot for almost 22 hours and we were back on the sets four hours later, the next day. I was in another world. I didn’t know what was happening around me because I was so cranky but I could see that this was a normal thing for all of these guys. The amount of hard work they have put in is beyond me. I am someone who likes my eight hours of sleep, but they are like, ‘We like too but we don’t have a choice’. Acting in this film taught me a lot because I got to see a different side of how people work.

You have caught the attention of audiences across India with Bro Daddy and Hridayam becoming massive hits after they released on OTTs. Have you been getting offers from industries outside the South?

Yes, there would always be enquiries but it all boils down to whether I can pull it off or if I am interested in pulling it off. Right now, this is (Malayalam) where I always wanted to be. It has been my dream and this is the industry that has given me life, literally.