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Interview Team : Avinash Pandian; Balasaravanan; Venkat; Jyothsna

The recent successful Tamil flick 'Eetti' got the loudest cheer to the homely and graceful looking heroine Sri Divya. Avinash Pandian catches up with the lovely actress for a quick chat on her recent success and her upcoming projects.

It has only been 2 years in the Tamil industry and you have already become a household name. What do you have to say about it?

I am so grateful to Tamil audiences for accepting me.  Doing ‘girl next door’ type of roles has also helped me to a large extent. My on screen characters, be it 'Latha Pandi' or 'Gayathri' have been roles that are easily relatable to people. I am also indebted to my directors for giving me such lovely roles.

Your early interviews, say during VVS time, made you look like an introvert but now you seem to be a lot more outspoken. Has life in Kollywood changed you as a person?

Basically, I don’t talk much with people. I am a fun, frisky person while at home. I could be very naughty but once I step out of my house, I turn to become a shy person. But things have changed now. I talk a lot more than I used to, thanks to my film career.

I could be very naughty

The intense pre-interval scene in Eetti where you get tumbled down from your scooty as Atharvaa unexpectedly pushes the antagonist towards you. It was so nice to see a heroine being used in such lively scenes. How difficult was it to pull off that scene?

It was a tad terrifying when the stunt master explained to me about the scene. I had jitters as to how I would go about it. We first had a rehearsal with all the precautionary mat floor set up. That went ok but when I was asked to do the same on the road without any mats, I got a little scared. But once it got completed and when I saw the scene, I was so very happy. My relatives keep telling me not to get involved in such risky scenes, but though it is a little scary that is something I love doing.

It was a tad terrifying

The love portions in all your films have gone down well. What is the secret tool of yours that makes it work every time?

I don’t talk much with my co-stars, but when you’re acting, you need to give your 100%. At that place, I consider myself as 'Latha Pandi' or 'Gayathri' and not Sri Divya. The script also plays a huge role and most importantly, chemistry will work only when your partner also performs equally well. So I need to thank all my co-star as well for that.

In the case of Eetti, it is not chemistry but Biology (a term used in Eetti). That is the catch phrase commonly used by the audience post Eetti’s release. I am happy that my love portions with Atharvaa has been so raved and discussed about.

You play the role of an innocent Tamil girl in all your films. Do you pick such roles or only such roles are being offered to you?

I keep getting a lot of offers but I am a little choosy. I take up a project based on the importance of my role; that would be my topmost priority. I will not be doing roles that do not have any prominence. The banner, hero and director are also important, but those criteria come only later.

How good your dubbing artistes help to translate yourself on screen? Any plans of dubbing for yourself now that you talk Tamil so well?

Dubbing is an important facet in filmmaking. Artistes who have dubbed for me have done a great job, particularly in Eetti, I felt the dubbing voice was very close to my actual voice.

I have always dubbed for myself in Telugu films since I am very particular about it. I feel proper dubbing makes your character look real.

I in fact dubbed for the first half of Jeeva but later when Suseenthiran sir heard my voice and told me that it was 99% correct, but there is that 1% of Telugu slang which messes it up. So we had to opt for a dubbing artist.

Suseenthiran sir heard my voice and told me that it was 99% correct

Anything else that you want to tell us about Eetti?

There is so much effort that has gone into this project. We were so anxious to know the outcome of the project and now that the audiences have accepted it, it feels so nice.

It is director Ravi Arasu’s debut film; he is someone who deserves to do well. He is a very talented director. Wish he makes plenty more successful films in the future.

I did not get a chance to watch the final outcome of the film until two days back. Since I had busy working schedules, I couldn’t watch it even during the post-production phase. But when I watched the film, it was so engrossing and I was so upbeat about it, especially when I saw the audience enjoying it so whole-heartedly.

I generally look for reviews of my films, specifically in Behindwoods. I always glance down to the bottom of the page below the rating, where the people comment about the film. The comments that I usually see there would be - Worst, bad, don’t go for it. But for the first time I couldn’t find one single negative comment while reading Eetti’s review in Behindwoods. That is the acceptance this film has garnered.

Heard there are plans of remaking Eetti in other regional languages. If offered, will you act in the remake version too?

I am not so very keen in doing the same role again, but it all depends upon on the banner and the director.

Your dream role?

I am a huge fan of Revathi's character from Mani Ratnam sir’s Mouna Ragam. That is my all-time favorite role. But I am glad that I have done a similar role in one of my Telugu films titled Mallela Theeram Lo Sirimalle Puvvu. It did commercially well too, which makes it even more pleasing.

Mouna Ragam Revathi is my all-time favourite

About Bangalore Days Tamil remake? How different will the Tamil version be compared to the original?

The pressure on me this time is like never before. I was very hesitant while signing this project. When Baskar sir approached me, I was very doubtful how I am going to reprise an extremely adorned role. Since there will be a lot of comparisons, I wondered how well will it be received by the masses. But Baskar sir convinced me saying, that is the challenge in it and that is why I should accept this role. I was half-hearted while signing the project, but now I am extremely delighted with the outcome of the film.

We have made few changes but the core storyline and its charm will be retained.

The pressure on me this time is like never before

Are women given enough importance in films? Will you act in a women centric film given a chance?

Contrary to what many say, I feel women have been given more importance in present days than before. We have women centric films like Inji Iduppazhagi, Maya, 36 Vayathinile, Nee Enge En Anbe and more. Most of the films have fared well at the box office too.

I would love to do a film like that, but again the role should be something that suits me. If I feel that I could do the role, I would accept it.

I beg to differ!

Have you felt bad that you couldn’t do as much as projects that you could have done in Telugu ever since your Kollywood debut in 2013?

No, it is not that I haven’t been approached to act in Telugu films. I have loads of offers but most roles either didn’t have any prominence or it required a glam girl makeover. I am very specific in not doing glamour roles.

Moreover, I love working in the Tamil industry. I have always had a fascination towards Tamil cinema and the kind of films that are being made here. They have showered me with so much love. I have always thought that I would get an entry pass to the Tamil industry, but never have I imagined becoming a notable star like this in such a short span of time. So I have no regrets. I am open to act in Tamil and Telugu as long as I get good roles. 

Sri Divya’s take on glamour roles

Tell us something about Marudhu?

I am a part of one of my favorite teams. We have just started the project but the team has already gelled like a family. Vishal is a very sweet person; he talks in Telugu just to keep me comfortable. Director Muthaiah is one of the best persons that I have seen in my life till date. He is such a gem of a person. And it is the fourth time I am collaborating with Soori sir. He is a frisky person who keeps the set lively all the time.

Your upcoming projects?

Bangalore Days remake, Kashmora with Karthi and Vishal’s Marudhu are the films that I am working on right now.



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