Nithya Menen on her signing spree, working with Mysskin in Psycho and playing Jayalalitha in Priyadarshini's biopic
Nithya Menen has been offered a wide range of roles in Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam, and even Marathi in the past few months.
Nithya Menen is back with a bang and how! The actress, who was last seen in a cameo in Geetha Govindam, is all set to make her debut in Hindi with Mission Mangal to be directed by Jagan Shakti, apart from signing a Malayalam film in which she’s going to play an athlete. That’s not all. She has a web-series in the pipeline which is expected to be released in 2019, and if all goes well, she might even make her debut in Marathi cinema next year. And then, there are her prior commitments in Telugu, Tamil, and Malayalam cinema which also includes a biopic on former Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalitha, a thriller in Mysskin’s direction, and playing Savitri in NTR’s biopic. From being branded as a recluse to being one of the busiest actresses in the industry today, Nithya Menen’s transformation has been dramatic even to those who have known her from close quarters.
“I’ve lost track of what’s happening. How cool is that?” Nithya gushes, while putting into perspective how she has been flooded with work after doing only a handful of films in the last couple of years. “I know what I was going through back then while I was waiting for some good work to come my way, and I was almost under an impression that my career is finished. I was going through a lot, internally, and in hindsight, I think I needed that time to be in a complete zen mode. But now, I’m being offered such good work that I’m not able to say no to anything immediately. It feels like the universe is playing games with me and it’s an amazing feeling.”
The reason behind this dramatic change, by her own admission, required her to take control of her work. “I got rid of the middle-men and almost instantly, things began to change a lot. It’s the best decision I’ve taken in a long time. Now, I listen to scripts myself and I know what I want to do, what sort of scripts excite me. I don’t know why people were under the impression that I was a recluse. That was never the case,” she adds.
The actress has wrapped up shooting for a Malayalam film Kolambi, which has been directed by TK Rajeev Kumar. “I play an installation artist in the film and it has an indie film vibe to it. It’s one of those films that is completely in my zone — pleasant and artistic, and at the same time, quite emotional too. It was wonderful working with a passionate team,” she says, adding, “I’m also eagerly looking forward to start working on Shaheed Kedar’s project. It’s a fictional story about an athlete, and I have to undergo a rigorous training to prepare for the role. I know that my weight gets talked about a lot and this film gives me a chance to really shock people with my transformation. Shaheed has etched a beautiful character and he’s really eager to have me on board to play the role. It’s a wonderful thing to happen at this stage of my career because I didn’t ask for it. I think God is giving me these opportunities in style.”
Meanwhile, in Tamil, she’s part of the ensemble cast in Mysskin’s upcoming film, Psycho. Considering Mysskin’s unusual approach to storytelling, which is in complete contrast to the kind of films that Nithya has been associated with, it might seem like the two might have had to work hard to find a common ground, but the actress confesses that it was a breeze working with him. “Mysskin’s stories are raw and intense, and he kind of explores sad emotions whereas I’m more into happiness. But our sensibilities are similar. His style of filmmaking is compatible with what I like, and more importantly, he’s a fantastic director. It’s because of him that I did the film and he made the whole process quite comfortable for everyone in the team. I miss the unit a lot now. I’m confident that my role in Psycho is going to be another feather in my cap,” Nithya says.
Meanwhile, the actress has also agreed to play the role of Jayalalitha in an upcoming biopic to be directed by Priyadarshini. Ask Nithya if she’s worried that few other filmmakers too have announced that they’ll be making a biopic on the former CM, she says, “It doesn’t really matter to us. Priyadarshini was very clear about what she wanted to do and how she was planning to handle the subject, and I liked her clarity of thought. That’s what convinced me to take up the project. There’s plenty of time left before I start working on the film, and a lot of work needs to be done.”
In the past, Nithya had expressed her interest to be part of films which will also challenge her to learn a new language. “I can speak all the four South Indian languages, but I want to break out and explore other languages too. I see myself as a learner and there’s no end to learning. I don’t like settling down,” she adds. And her prayers haven’t gone unnoticed. The actress is reportedly in talks for a Marathi film, which is based on a popular folklore. Admittedly, renowned filmmaker Baburao Painter’s family is attached with this project and they’re planning to get back into film production after a long gap. “Apparently, they saw my performance in Vikram Kumar’s Ishq several times and that’s what convinced them that I will be apt for the role. I am excited that I’ll get to learn Marathi thanks to this film,” the actress reveals.
In 2019, Nithya will also be making her debut in Bollywood and she’s set to join the cast of Jagan Shakti’s Mission Mangal. She’s going to play the role of an ISRO scientist and the film follows the journey of ISRO’s mission to Mars. “It was Balki who got in touch with me and he wanted me to be part of this project. It’s a brilliant story and it’s something that I would love to watch even if I wasn’t part of it. The scientists at ISRO did a lot of unconventional things to make the mission a big success. It’ll be a great tribute to them,” Nithya says.
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