Interviewer: Annadurai & Inian | Text: Arun
'Glam doll', the definition sits perfectly on Sona. But, she is a glam doll only on screen. What does she think about her career in films and how does she take the roles that she is being offered to her. Read further to know more about Sona, the Kuselan and Pathu Pathu girl. Films, life and more importantly, her attitude towards glamor and its place in films as she gets candid about what brought her to films and what kept her out of them for a long time.

About yourself….

Sona: Most of my early years were in Chennai. My father is of an Anglo-French descent and my mother is from Sri Lanka. But my high school and upwards involved many shuffles all round India- Delhi, Chandigarh, Pune etc. I did part of my college education in London. I have two sisters, one of whom is married and the youngest is still in school.

Why you chose cinema?

I never thought of cinema as a career option. The only thing that interested me about cinema was the stylish costumes. It all happened by chance. I was coaxed by my good friend Mr. Mahendran from Vijay TV to take part in the Miss South India contest. Even then I did not take the contest seriously and was casual about the whole affair. But, I ended up doing extremely well. It gave me a high to be noticed by many people. Cinema was a natural progression.

About your first offer.

My first offer came through producer R.B. Choudhary for the film Shahjahan. I was absolutely thrilled to be acting with Vijay, he was my favorite actor in Tamil cinema right from my school days. But as the shooting progressed I felt a bit let down with what was happening, as if something different from what I was told is being shot. I don’t know whether to put the blame on the producer, director or the manager. I am not even sure whether I misunderstood the prospects of the role. The only satisfaction was that I did a few scenes with Vijay. But, the whole experience was a disappointment and I decided that cinema is not the place for me.

" I decided that

cinema is not

the place for me "

" A song

with Prakash Raj

that changed my life "

What prompted the return?

I kept getting offers from many sides after Shahjahan, including one from director Vasanth. But, I was still feeling very low and let all those offers pass. But, at that time, Dr. Rajashekhar and Jeevitha were my neighbors and they convinced me to try a role in a Telugu film. But even before that movie happened I had featured in a song with Prakash Raj that changed my life, in the movie Ayudham. The song was an overnight hit and before I knew I had signed four other films.

Why or how did glamour become your staple in cinema?

The honest answer to this question is that glamour was never my choice. But, that was the only thing that came my way. My parents brought us up as in any normal orthodox family and so when I started in cinema, even a little bit of glamour was considered scandalous and I was very confused about what I was doing. At times I did get some offers for good roles, but the profile of the role changed the moment I entered the set. Directors always persuaded me to do the glamour part. The factor that made me accept these offers is the opportunity to work with big stars like Nagarjuna and Ravi Teja, the chance to do songs with them. Songs and glamour have a fast and wide reach, but that does not mean that good roles won’t bring in the same recognition. Now, when I turn back and look I have done only glamour roles.

" Songs and glamour

have a

fast and wide

reach "

" I was like

a showcase doll

in the movie "

Experiences in Tamil and Telugu!

Regarding Telugu, I have done around 19 films. It is difficult to recall all experiences. Some of the movies that I remember are Andhrawala, Ayudham, Villain, Veede (remake of Dhool). In Malayalam, my first film was with Mammootty called Roudram. I was like a showcase doll in the movie, it was more about attitude than performance. Then I did a film called Swarnam, due to sentimental reasons of the film’s title having the same meaning as my name. But, the unforgettable movie, besides of course Kuselan, is Parthan Kanda Paralokam with Jayaram. It is a double heroine subject, but my role is as good as the hero’s.

Tamil or Telugu, where do you feel more secure!

Definitely Tamil, because I have lived in Chennai for a long time, I know most of the people in the industry, I know the language, I know the culture and I know that I can come back home in the evening after shooting. In other industries, you don’t know the language and the etiquette of that place. I don’t want to say anything bad about any other industry, but I definitely feel more comfortable in Tamil.

Would you like to be where Malavika is today?

‘Malavika is a hot bomb’. She doesn’t need to do anything, she just has to walk into a room and say hi, it just lights up the place. It is not something that can be acquired by practice, so I don’t take any conscious efforts towards becoming like Malavika. But, I would like to be someone like her. I am bit confused about it, I don’t know whether I really want it or not.

Abut being mistaken as Nayanthara!

This happened at the Hyderabad airport. I was scheduled to land in Hyderabad and my PRO was waiting. But, he was actually expecting Nayanthara on the flight. The news spread and everyone was waiting to see Nayanthara. But, I landed there and the PRO realized that it was not Nayanthara after all. But, it was that meeting that opened doors for my second innings in cinema after Shahjahan.

How do you cope with being chubby!

I am not against being chubby or fat, I am only concerned about tummy, that is the only thing that can upset me. The only disadvantage that I feel comes with being fat is that I can’t wear all types of clothes. But, otherwise I am okay with what I am. My body is of a type that easily fluctuates in weight, I easily put on and lose weight. So, I have given up trying to control my weight too much. This is what I am, take me as I am.

Your Kuselan experience!

The Kuselan set was a great experience. I was the junior most artiste in the film, everyone had done more than 50 films. But the moment I landed on the set I got a good feeling. I got special care from everyone on location, they were very much concerned about making me feel comfortable. No one ever behaved like a senior. I was a bit apprehensive about meeting P. Vasu. I remembered his role in the film Seenu where his character had negative shades. This is what I had in mind when I entered the set. But, I got settled by evening on the first day.

About shooting with Vadivelu!

I was afraid that I might burst out laughing when present in the same frame as Vadivelu. His body language and dialogue delivery are so funny. Even during the rehearsals, when we were just reciting the dialogues, I had a hard time controlling my laughter.

About working with Rajinikanth!

It was an unbelievable experience. I joined the shooting of Kuselan only by the 14th day. At that time, the pre-climax was being shot and the day I entered the set there were around 400 junior artistes and 40 artistes on the set. I just approached him and he immediately recognized me and said ‘Hi Sona’. I was shell shocked by Rajinikanth, how could he have recognized me amidst this crowd; and he was seeing me for the first time. He offered me a seat and was very friendly. It was not just me, everyone on the shooting spot was treated the same way by Superstar. He has a great number of qualities. On my last day on the sets, I went up to him and he gave me his blessings and some valuable advice.

After P. Vasu, which other director would you like to work with?

K.S.R. I have already done a film with him in Telugu, the remake of Villain. I would like to do one with him in Tamil too. He has this knack of giving an artiste a lot of mass appeal. Then, Ameer, he gives very natural and realistic characters. Then, the director with whom any actor will dream of working, Mani Rathnam.

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