Malavika Mohanan, Andrea Jeremiah on Vijay's Master and collaborating with director Lokesh Kanagaraj

Andrea Jeremiah and Malavika Mohanan open up about their experience of being part of Tamil cinema's first major theatrical release in 2021, working with Kollywood's new-gen filmmaker Lokesh Kanagaraj, and sharing the screen with Thalapathy Vijay for the first time.

Surendhar MK January 13, 2021 08:13:43 IST
Malavika Mohanan, Andrea Jeremiah on Vijay's Master and collaborating with director Lokesh Kanagaraj

Malavika Mohanan and Vijay in a promotional still for Master

The excitement surrounding the release of Thalapathy Vijay’s Master directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj is at an all-time high in Tamil cinema. It is the first big Indian film to have a tentpole pan-Indian release in theatres after the pandemic altered the dynamics of the movie business in the last few months, necessitating a paradigm shift in the industry. Apart from the Tamil original version, Master will have Telugu, Hindi and Malayalam dubbed versions as well. The team has been earnestly promoting the film over the past week or so across all platforms. Vijay Sethupathi, Malavika Mohanan, and Andrea Jeremiah are the other big noteworthy names in the ensemble cast.

Firstpost caught up with Andrea Jeremiah and Malavika Mohanan on their experience of being part of Tamil cinema's first major theatrical release in 2021, working with Kollywood's new-gen filmmaker Lokesh Kanagaraj, and sharing the screen with Thalapathy Vijay for the first time.

Andrea, who is generally known to be elusive when it comes to her media interactions, opened up about her role in Master. About her restrained choices of films and how she came on board for a star-driven vehicle in Master, Andrea said, "That’s not entirely true. Aayirathil Oruvan was a commercial film, as was AranmanaiVada Chennai was an intelligently made film, but a commercial one nonetheless."
Malavika Mohanan Andrea Jeremiah on Vijays Master and collaborating with director Lokesh Kanagaraj

Andrea Jeremiah | Image from Instagram

She further added: "For a while, yes, I wasn’t really a part of these so-called ‘mass’ films. But that’s more because I have been labelled as someone who doesn’t do commercial films. The truth is, any film that runs well at the box-office is commercial. In today’s world, the lines have been blurred. And as an artist, my only prerogative is to do good work, to constantly challenge myself in every film that I do. And by those standards, Master fit the bill for me."

On the other hand, Master marks Malavika Mohanan's sophomore project in Tamil after Superstar Rajinikanth's Petta, where she appeared briefly in the flashback portion alongside Sasikumar. Malavika plays a college lecturer in the film, which is jointly produced by Lalit Kumar's Seven Screen Studio and Xavier Britto's XB Film Creators. Malavika candidly admits that she has only a small role in Master which is widely being touted as this big showdown and shootout between Vijay and Vijay Sethupathi.

Malavika Mohanan Andrea Jeremiah on Vijays Master and collaborating with director Lokesh Kanagaraj

Mohanan in film's trailer | YouTube

In a group interaction, Malavika said, "I shot for the film in New Delhi, Shimoga, and Chennai. By the end of the first schedule in Delhi, Vijay sir slowly started opening up to me and we became good friends by the end of the film. He's largely a reserved person, but. Lokesh's team was really energetic & happening, as all of them are youngsters and we had great fun shooting for the film."
Andrea, who is well-known for her substantial roles in films such as Taramani and Vada Chennai, had made it clear at some Kollywood events that she deserves better films. Did Master fit the bill? She said, "I think all women in the industry deserve better roles. And I’m happy to say that things are changing, and really fast as well. The ‘typical heroine’ is also changing and that’s a relief. I guess today’s audience wants to see real women represented on screen. When Lokesh met me, the first thing he said was that he knew the role was too small for me but he felt I was the right person for it. And I have learned over the years that if an actor can keep aside their ego and see a role for what it is, there’s a lot more variety to choose from."
Andrea added, "The audience remembers moments, not entire films. Sometimes it’s not the screen-time that matters, it’s the moments an actor gets onscreen. Lokesh offered me such a moment in the pre-climax of the film. And sharing screen space with a huge star like Vijay is something my fans are bound to enjoy. So I decided to take the plunge."

Meanwhile, Malavika's portions in the film are said to be lightweight and breezy going by the promos released so far. "I'm glad that my romantic song 'Andha Kanna Paathaaka' has become this huge chartbuster even before the film's release. I also got to be a part of two very intense sequences in the film. I believe that even a role with small screen time can leave an impact on the audiences. The screen time doesn't matter if the role excites me as an actor. We are all eagerly anticipating the release of the film; in fact, some of my friends in Bollywood like Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani are also closely watching the release of Master as it’s the first big film to come out in Indian theatres post the pandemic."

Talking about her working experience with Lokesh, Andrea said, "I have been lucky to work with some of the finest directors in South India. Lokesh definitely has what it takes, that clarity of vision & focus that is the mark of any good film-maker. I’m excited to see where his career will take him."Malavika has now started shooting for her next film with Dhanush (D43) in Chennai while she's also been very busy promoting Master in Mumbai amidst the mainstream Bollywood media. Asked about working with Vijay for the first time, Malavika said, "He is a perfect gentleman. The way he treats his co-artists on the set was very sweet. He makes everyone comfortable and was encouraging as well."

Master releases worldwide on 13 January for the extended Pongal weekend holidays.

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