Manjima Mohan on Devarattam, and reprising Kangana Ranaut's role in Queen Malayalam remake Zam Zam
Manjima Mohan’s rural action entertainer Devarattam, starring Gautham Karthik in the lead role, released last week in Tamil Nadu. Since she made her Tamil debut in the stylish romantic action thriller Achcham Yenbathu Madamaiyada, the sets of Devarattam was a completely new learning experience for Manjima.
“I sincerely believe that Devarattam will open new avenues for me. The film has the potential to take me closer to the audiences in ‘B’ and ‘C’ centers. When I was shooting in Madurai, people were surprised that I speak Tamil. Devarattam is catered to them and it’s the kind of the film which will get me a new set of audiences," says Manjima Mohan.
“Even while narrating the script, the film’s director Muthaiah told me that there is no big scope for me yet my character contributes for the crucial progress of the storyline. I agreed the film for Muthaiah, who exactly know what he is doing and of course, a well-known banner like Studio Green (sic). There is a saying that from the kind of films a filmmaker makes, you know what kind of person he is. Just like his films, Muthaiah is an emotionally driven person. I also liked the way he handled an important issue which is happening now in society," she adds.
Manjima also heaps praise on Muthaiah for the swift working style that he completes multiple scenes on a single day. “There was no time for us to actually rest. He would take several scenes at a time and that’s why we completed the film in a very short duration," says the Achcham Yenbathu Madamaiyada actress.
When asked whether she saw Kangana Ranaut-starrer Queen before acting in Zam Zam, the Malayalam remake of the film, Manjima says, “No. I consciously took that decision because one shouldn’t imitate and get references from the performance of another actress. I believe that each actress has their individuality so one shouldn’t disturb that. But after the shoot, I saw Queen and obviously being a powerful performer, she has done a better job. In fact, I was tempted to see the original version before the shoot but my dad told me that it would reflect in my performance”.
The actress says she had anxiety issues while shooting for Zam Zam. “The character's journey is filled with various emotions. On the shooting spot, I have to be happy in the morning and suddenly, there would be a scene where I have to be angry, confused and then, again return to the happy mood. As there is a constant change in emotions, I lost sleep thinking how should I perform the next set of scenes," smiles the actress.
Manjima also talks how she did not get big offers for nearly six months. “After Achcham Yenbathu Madamaiyada, people gave me so much hope but suddenly things didn’t work in favour of me, that I was not getting many offers. Some people blamed it on my weight. A few said that the failures of my other two films were the reasons and some said I was very choosy. But I wasn’t choosy. It’s a wrong word. There was an undercover detective character offered to me but I was not confident to pull it off. The producer, hero, and everyone associated with the project are big names but if I force myself into a role which I’m not comfortable and confident about, there is no point in doing such characters. After watching the film, people would definitely find out that I’m not comfortable and convincing enough," explains the actress.
Talking about the current trend of female-centric films in Tamil cinema, Manjima says, “I’m happy that producers are willing to fund films where an actress is the selling point but only a few are lucky enough to be in that space. For example, Keerthy Suresh, who was relatively new to the industry got Mahanati, which is the biggest turning point in her life. Then there is Aditi Balan, who literally owned her character in Aruvi. We also have Nayanthara, who initially did a lot of films with big stars, reached the masses and then, started doing female-centric films. A senior in the industry once told me that you are successful and famous only if when you walk into a restaurant, and all the 10 people present there should recognise you. Currently, maybe four people would instantly recognise me. In order to get more audiences, I have to play a typical heroine with leading actors. Though I can’t predict the success of Devarattam, the film will definitely earn audiences for me in ‘B’ and ‘C’ centers."
Updated Date: May 13, 2019 09:19:45 IST