Last Updated: 04.25 PM, Mar 16, 2023
Malvika Nair, who forayed into Telugu cinema with Yevade Subrahmanyam and made a mark as a bankable performer over the years, doesn’t let cinema or her work define her existence. She likes her idle time, cherishes travelling, is into anime, reads regularly and prefers to hang out with a bunch of non-filmi friends. Beneath her intense on-screen persona, she’s just another fun-loving girl who wants to have a good time and is very secure in her space.
For her next release, Phalana Abbayi Phalana Ammayi, directed by Srinivas Avasarala, she teams up with her Kalyana Vaibhogame co-star Naga Shaurya again. As the film hits screens tomorrow, she catches up with OTTplay.com for a brief chat.
Dealing with the popularity of being an actor in your younger years:
Honestly, I hated it. Eight years after coming into the industry, I can say I am finally comfortable with the attention I get. Now I know how I receive and also understand the intention of the people who want to come and talk to me like a monument rather than being offended about the attention. I don’t see it as an invasion of my personal space any longer. There’s a pressure when people look upto you and I miss that when I’m not working. I like overcoming challenges every day.
On insecurities of being in the industry, the pressure of matching up to your counterparts:
I don’t have many friends from the industry and it’s not something I’ve planned that way. Shaurya, hence, is one of the few friends I can interact or relate with. While dealing with the pressure of not being seen often, it boils down to the intention. I haven’t entered the industry to become the next big thing, make money and disappear later.
I am in Telugu cinema because I love the language. My Telugu connection can be traced back to my childhood, when I had Telugu neighbours. A ‘Mallu’ uncle married a Telugu speaking Christian woman and he used to call her Bangaram. I didn’t understand that much before but I found it beautiful when I grew up. The language motivates me to be here.
On the necessity for an actor to have a life beyond cinema:
I think it’s necessary for me as a person. There are a few people who choose one thing in their life and are driven to pursue that passion with conviction. I can do that one thing when I have five other things going on in my life.
Why Phalana Abbayi Phalana Ammayi truly tested my mettle?
As an actor, I’m not every attuned to commercial cinema anyways. I haven’t been a part of hard-core mainstream films and an opportunity like Phalana Abbayi Phalana Ammayi is something I was waiting for. I feel confident as an actor after this experience. When I generally go to a set, every body expects me to do a good job.
PAPA was a challenge where I could strip away from all the apprehensions - say how I look when I give a certain expression, what does a scene means or if this would turn out well, connect with audiences. This was one film where if I thought about anything else beyond the emotion, it would show up on my face, that’s how transparent I am. Being an actor, any doubts in my mind reflect on my face and Srinivas Avasarala would point that out when a scene didn’t work. He would ask me to slightly change it and land an expression closer to the emotion.
Don’t you feel the time is ripe that you break away from the ‘intense, serious actor’ stereotype and try light-hearted, mainstream outings too?
Yes, I agree I should break the norm. I want to break the mould with the right kind of film, something that I would connect with. I really enjoy making other people laugh. As an actor, I am willing to explore that too. I’ll take your advice on that (laughs).
What would you do when you’re not working? How does your day pan out when you don’t have much on your plate?
Till the last year, my world revolved around my Masters. Everyday is different and I am not someone who can follow a routine. The only time I getting up in the morning and showing up early is when I am on a set. I really enjoy break times at work and when I’m travelling and doing nothing. I love reading and conversing with people. When I meet people who don’t know I am an actor, I even make up stories and try my best to sound convincing.
What’s special about Srinivas Avasarala? What’s his X factor and why do you think people look forward to his films?
People look forward to his films for his sense of humour but I’ll remember him as this incredibly wise and spiritual person. He has that aura around himself. When you have a conversation with him, you’re aligned to your best self. As an actor, I would love to be around him.