Malayalam actress Kalyani Priyadarshan talks about her latest movie Antony, training for her action role and shooting Varshangalkku Shesham
This year has been about pushing boundaries for Kalyani Priyadarshan. Though she was part of the action-comedy Thallumaala, she really didn’t have too many action scenes like its male cast members in the movie. But with director Joshiy’s Antony, which also has Joju George in the lead, Kalyani seems to have more than made up for that miss.
In a candid interview with OTTplay, Kalyani talks about working with Joshiy and Joju George in the movie, her training sessions for the action scenes and her upcoming movie with Pranav Mohanlal and Vineeth Sreenivasan – Varshangalkku Shesham.
The movie’s trailer hinted there’s a lot of action involved. What can you tell us about Antony?
I play a fighter in the movie, but it’s not a sports film. It’s a movie about relationships between strangers; Antony is more about the emotions than the action. But yes, it’s the first time that I have done stunts in a film. Obviously, I have a girl-next-door image, so I am not sure how people are going to accept it. I have really pushed myself physically for it. I don’t know how many times I have got injured, or how many times the schedules have changed because of the injuries.
How did you prepare for the role?
One good thing about Malayalam cinema is that they will give us three weeks to prepare for a role that requires much more than that. So, for those three weeks, I had intense training. We had a team who used to do these sessions with me. Joshiy sir knew that it wasn’t easy for anyone to learn all of that in just this limited time, and that helped.
He scheduled the fights for the end. I don’t know whether he did it keeping in mind that if I do get injured, all the talkie portions would still be over (laughs) or he knew an extra month would give me more time to get better at the action scenes. Every day after the pack-up, I used to train for one and half hours. It was exhausting but it’s come out well.
In Bro Daddy, you had worked with a few veteran actors like Mohanlal and Lalu Alex, whom you would have known before you had entered films. But Antony has Joju George and Chemban Vinod Jose, whom you haven’t collaborated with or met earlier. How was it working with them?
I have learnt from every film, including Sesham Mike-il Fathima. In the case of Antony, Joju chettan is someone I hadn’t interacted with before this film, and he taught me a lot. It’s great because I feel I have been evolving as an actor. Some things that I do work, and some don’t. I think my goal right now is to try and do as many things as I can and figure out my limitations along the way.
Very few second-generation actors get to work with their parents’ contemporaries. In Antony, what was your takeaway from collaborating with Joshiy?
Most of the filmmakers that I have worked with have been people I knew. Joshiy sir was not one of those people. He is not a very social person in general, and neither am I. So, it’s not like we got along well before. To me, in that sense, he was a stranger who very quickly became like my father. Obviously, I have met him before and watched all his movies, but we haven’t had too much of an interaction before. But changed quickly. Within half a day, he felt like I was his daughter and I felt like I was working with my dad.
Finally, you have rejoined the team of Hridayam for Varshangalkku Shesham. It must have felt like homecoming.
After the first day, I remember messaging my family and saying, ‘It feels so nice to be back here and be surrounded by these people’. Even though it’s been a while since we had done Hridayam, it felt like we haven't gone anywhere.