Varalaxmi Sarath Kumar:Though Vishal is my friend, my vote is for appa
She might be just one film old, but Varalaxmi, Sarath Kumar’s daughter, put up a fine act in her debut, Podaa Podi, which got her second film, a Bala film nothing less. But the actress, of late, has found herself inadvertently dragged into the Nadigar Sangam election, which being primarily fought between her father and good friend, actor Vishal, has put her in a fix. Here she is, with her opinion on the election, telling us in advance who her vote will go to…
Your stand on Nadigar Sanagam election? You support Vishal or your dad, Sarath Kumar?
I have generally ensured that I don’t get involved too much in this Nadigar Sangam issue, and I don’t have anything to comment about it. All I can say is, my vote will only be for appa, and not for Vishal, though he is my friend.
Won’t this offend Vishal?
My friendship with Vishal will never get affected because of all this. We are both mature enough to understand each other, and our priorities at the same time. Vishal totally respects my love for my father, and he understands my democratic stand on this issue. We are very clear about this.
Let’s talk about your second film, with Bala…
I got the opportunity to meet Bala sir only because of my dear friend, actress Sangeetha. She just called me one day to meet him, saying that he is casting for his next film.I just went there, and got selected after a screen test. At that moment, all I thought was, I must not let Bala sir down in anyway . It’s been a beautiful journey from then on.
What’s your character in the film?
I play a Karakattam dancer in the film, and it’s not something that one can pull off that easily. I spent about three months learning this traditional dance form. I am trained in western dance, and so, learning this form of dance was something new and interesting. To get the feel of it, I sat all day, watching videos of how Karakattam dancers, noting how they behave, their mannerisms and the way they walk. It was quite challenging.
It is said that Bala’s unit is quite strict.
Actually, I don’t understand from where such rumours crop up. Even I heard the same when I signed on for the film, but only after the first day of my shoot, did I understand how awesome he is. Such a fun unit it was, and we become one big family. Bala sir is an encyclopedia of cinema, and I have learnt a lot from him. But he is a very quiet person, and keeps all his thoughts to himself.
Working with Sasikumar…
Well, he is again a quiet person just like Bala sir. And, Sasikumar is the one decent human being I have ever come across in the industry .
You worked as an assistant director in Tharai Thappatai.
It was not a pre-planned thing. During the initial days, I used to often sit in front of the monitor and give suggestions sometimes.Suppose I didn’t have a scene to shoot, I’d be there, near the monitor. One day , Bala sir called me and said, `Vandhu vela pannu’… I felt honoured, and joined him as an assistant director. I slowly began to understand his thought process, how he actually worked, and what kind of a filmmaker he is. To be frank, I never ever thought of becoming a director or joining someone as an AD. It’s Bala sir who discovered the director in me, and made me realise my love for being behind the camera.
So, when can we see you directing a film?
Not now. I don’t plan anything in life, I just live for the moment and take life as it comes.As of now, I am concentrating on acting, and am busy with the post-production work of Tharai Thappattai. Actually , I am loving the dubbing parts, and thoroughly enjoying it. I have to dub in Thanjavur slang, and fortunately, since it’s Bala sir, I managed to do it. I know he will extract it from me easily enough.
About your film with Arun Vaidyanadhan…
I will begin shooting for Arun’s film only on November 15. It’s a multi-starrer thriller, and I play the role of a detective. It’s completely in contrast to the role that I play in Tharai Thappattai. I have always wanted to play the role of a cop on screen and I never thought it will come true this early in my career. I am sharing screen space with Arjun, and I am so excited about it. I grew up seeing him, as he used to come home to meet appa when I was a kid.
What do you do when you are not shooting?
I don’t do anything. I just go to a multiplex in the city, and watch films with my friends. I am a movie buff and I love watching films.We have a group of friends -Naveen, Vandhana, Abdul, Sekhar and my trainer Bharath, and we always chill together.Sometimes, I get busy with theatre, but ever since I got busy with Tharai Thappatai I couldn’t concentrate on that. Next year, I will do some good plays.