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Interview Team : Dilani Rabindran; Ganesh

Iyshwarya Rajesh is a risk-taker. The beautiful and talented actress who will be seen often on screen in 2015 in at least 4 films, including Seenu Ramasamy’s upcoming Idam Porul Eval, is proud of her diverse filmography and grateful for her reputation of playing unique female roles. In this chat with Dilani Rabindran, Iyshwarya opens up about her bravery to take on some roles that most other actresses in her position would not, and why sometimes she wishes people would take her a little less seriously!


So Idam Porul Eval is gearing up for release. What can audiences expect from the film and your role? 

My character in Idam Porul Eval is a pattimandram speaker who debates a wide range of topics. Such a character hasn’t come before in Tamil cinema for an actress. So it is the first time a heroine is playing a Thamizh pattimandram speaker and that is going to be very special. It is very complicated to play such a character also because you need to speak pure Thamizh and the Madurai slang is also a little complicated; and the dialogues have some tongue-twisting words.


Seenu Ramasamy’s films are always unique, but I think Idam Porul Eval is his most commercial film compared to his past ones, and it will definitely move and entertain the audience.

Such a character hasn’t come before in Tamil cinema for an actress


Did you do any special training or practice for this role before going to shoot?

Of course I did. This is the first time I am working with a well-known, award-winning director who isn’t a debutante. I heard a lot of people telling that Seenu Ramasamy sir is very strict and its not so easy to work with such a director, and having such a complicated character to play I was very nervous! I got the dialogues about a week before and he asked me to memorize everything because it cannot be prompted or casually spoken. 

This is the first time I am working with a well-known, award-winning director


Before you went in for the audition did you know it was going to be such a challenging role?

No, absolutely not! When he told me about it I thought “Oh God, definitely, I am not going to get this role!” Because people from pattimandram shows have such a specific way of talking; the way they speak sometimes sounds like singing. And I did the dubbing too so it was even more challenging.


So, having said that this is your first time working with a well-known director, what was it like working with Seenu Ramasamy?

I was very nervous. Initially I didn’t even go to check how I performed on the monitor. But the first time I performed very well he was actually the first person to praise me. To have a director like Seenu sir say “you were fantastic” is a big deal, so after that I thought ‘Ok, you don’t have to be scared anymore!’ 


This is also your first time pairing with Vishnu – what was that like?

I am very lucky with all my heroes, they are really comfortable to work with and very friendly. Vishnu was also very cool and very, very sweet. Whenever you see him he has a big smile on his face! He was very a great guy to work with. 

I am very lucky with all my heroes


Idam Porul Eval can be considered a multi-starrer film,  with a bigger cast and multiple heroines. How do you feel about such collaborative films and participating in them?

I like them a lot! There’s more people to enjoy working with, and bigger output. In this film there was Vijay Sethupathi who’s full of energy and positive vibrations. And Nandita is also a very good friend of mine. Vishnu was the only person I hadn’t worked with before. 


So this will be your third film with Vijay Sethupathi & second film with Nandita…

Actually I have no scenes with either of them! The tracks are totally different. Mine and Vishnu’s scenes are based in Madurai and theirs are in Kodaikanal.  We’re in totally different dimensions. It is very interesting! 


So after Idam Porul Eval we are going to see you in 3 new movies – including Deepavali Thuppakki, starring you and Ma Ka Pa. What has that film been like? 

It’s actually a very comedic script and Ma Ka Pa has such a good sense of humor that it’s apt for him! It’s such a fun movie. We just finished 10 days of shooting, and we have a romantic song together, and it was his first duet song, I believe. He was so shy and I had to advise on his choreography and tell him how we’re supposed to be doing dance moves and not fight moves! 


Was working with Makaps what drew you to this project? What interested you about Deepavali Thuppakki?

I play an agricultural student, and [the film] has a lot of depth about farming in villages, and the importance of taking care of the land, which we often forget with all the technology we have nowadays. But it’s not a serious film, it’s a comedy entertainer with a little bit of a message.



And you have finished shooting for Kutramum Thandanaiyum – M. Manikandan’s second movie. 

Actually when Mani asked me to do that role, I didn’t accept it, because it has some negative shades to it. I was a bit confused at first, so I took some time to think about it and then accepted it because I really didn’t want to miss another chance to work with Mani, after ! When you have chances to work with great directors like him, whether it’s a small role or a big one, you should not miss it. Good character or a bad one - Mani will show you like an angel. 

Actually when Mani asked me to do that role, I didn’t accept it


Do you feel like you’re being typecast? We tend to see you in more traditional get-ups in films like Rummy, Panaiyarum Padminiyum and now Idam Porul Eval

I don’t say I won’t do those modern, glamorous roles – I would, but to an extent. Whether its wearing traditional clothes or jeans, shorts or sphagetti straps - as long as I suit the personality of the character, and it suits me. And I like trying different roles and being unique, like in ; I don’t think any other actress my age or at my stage would have done that role.


I didn’t actually know Mani before . It was a risky role for me, and I don’t know what the impact will be after it comes out, but at the end of the day I want people to talk about my acting skills. Till date most people here in Chennai don’t know my role in the movie!

I don’t say I won’t do those modern, glamorous roles


Let’s keep it that way! Suspense!

Yeah! So something risky has to be done to make it here in cinema. And I took a risk again in Kutramum Thandanaiyum, and even in Idam Porul Eval. So I think I am very lucky to have gotten such diverse roles so far. 


In the case of Kaakaa Muttai, and not knowing director Manikandan, what was it that drew you to this ‘independent’ film? 

Well when they approached me for the movie I rejected the film based on the role. At that time I was shooting for Panaiyarum Padminiyum with Vijay Sethupathi [who acted in Manikandan’s short film Wind], and he advised saying “if you don’t do this role, you are going to miss out on something big. Don’t think about the character, just don’t miss a chance to be directed by Mani.” I thought Vijay would definitely not guide me in the wrong direction, so that made me take up the role. 

Vijay would definitely not guide me in the wrong direction


So you got your start as an actress after your success on Maanada Mayilada. Are you hoping for a film that would allow you to flex your dancing talent?

I know right! I don’t know why people are not coming to me with dancer roles! That and comedy! I have a very good sense of humor too! 


What about something like ABCD? Maybe something that combined both dance and comedy!

Definitely! It’s been ages since I’ve danced! I hope I haven’t forgotten it! I would love to do a film like that in Thamizh!


So to end on a fun note – since you are an expert – who are the industry’s best dancers in your opinion? 

I think it’s a tie between Dhanush and Vijay! Without a doubt! 



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