Sai Pallavi on starring in AL Vijay's psychological thriller: 'With Diya, I realised I can play a mature role too'

Hemanth Kumar

Apr 27, 2018 09:53:54 IST

“I’m generally very conscious. I’m not used to talking to so many people at one go,” Sai Pallavi says, with her trademark smile that turned her into a heartthrob among South Indian film buffs, thanks to her films like Premam and Fidaa.

A still from Diya. YouTube

A still from Diya. YouTube

Not surprisingly, one of the posters of her upcoming psychological thriller Diya, directed by AL Vijay, draws our attention to the text that the film stars “Blockbuster Movie Premam Actress Sai Pallavi’. It just puts in perspective how popular she has become even before she made her debut in Tamil cinema and right now, she is a part of a couple of Tamil films where she is paired opposite Suriya and Dhanush respectively. “I guess you are destined to do certain things. If it’s meant to happen, it will. And I strongly believe that whatever happens, it’s for your own good. I was in talks for the Tamil remake of Charlie and it would have been my debut, but it didn’t work out in the end. Finally, everything fell into place for Diya,” she adds.

Admittedly, she did not want to do Diya, which is releasing in Telugu as Kanam, when AL Vijay pitched the script and she said ‘no’ to the offer. It was not until her mother convinced her to read the script that she changed her mind. “Honestly, I’m not a big fan of horror or psychological thrillers. Diya has elements of horror, and I wasn’t sure if I could portray fear convincingly. But Vijay gave the script to my mother instead and when she read it, she convinced me to reconsider my decision. So far, I’ve looked at each film as an opportunity for personal growth. It’s not about whether it’ll help my career or not. For instance, when I played Bhanumati’s character in Fidaa, I didn’t know if I could be that loud on screen. With Diya, I discovered that I can play a mature role too. I wasn’t just playing the role of a young mother, I became that character while shooting the film. I bonded so much with the young girl, who was playing my daughter, that I was thinking of adopting her (laughs),” Sai Pallavi confesses, adding that she had no qualms playing the role of a mother quite early in her career. “I never knew that there is a notion in the industry that an actress shouldn’t play such roles in the beginning stages of her career. In Premam, I played someone who falls in love with a guy who’s younger to her. In Kaali, I was a wife who has to deal with her husband’s anger issues. I guess people just accept you when you play characters convincingly.”

Diya is said to be inspired from a 2012 news report about the prevalence of abortions in India and the film addresses this issue in the context of how young couples deal with it. Ask Sai Pallavi what her personal views on abortion is, considering she graduated with a MBBS degree a couple of years ago, and whether they align with what the stance the film takes, she explains, “As a doctor, we advice mothers to go for an abortion under specific circumstances — if there’s an abnormality — and we do it only for the mother’s safety after explaining the pros and cons. But if there is a chance to let the foetus grow and ensure that both the mother and the child will be safe, then we wouldn’t recommend this option. It’s not a simple debate, I guess. In India, despite several public awareness campaigns about using condoms, when you actually go to buy them in stores, people judge you. I feel that women are more responsible because you know what your body is going to go through. Then, it becomes a question of whether you are fit enough mentally and physically to take care of the kid? A lot of people just think that it’s very simple to give birth and raise kids, but it’s not like that. There’s a lot of responsibility on parents, especially mothers.”

The actress credits her mother as the biggest reason behind her success story. “Whatever I’m today, it’s all because of her. Our family belongs to Baduga community in the Nilgiris, and it’s pretty conservative. If a girl and a boy dance together, it’s frowned upon (laughs). Despite all this, my mother encouraged me to learn dancing, participate in dance competitions and eventually, acting happened. When she has given me so much freedom, I have to be responsible too. That’s the reason why I said that I won’t ever do a kissing scene in my films because I don’t want to embarrass my mother (laughs),” Sai Pallavi reveals.

While her recent Telugu films like Fidaa and MCA have already made her a household name in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, the actress says that she is now keeping her fingers crossed about her debut in Tamil. “When I got a chance to act in Premam, I wasn’t sure if people will accept me or not. I have rosacea and for the longest time, I couldn’t come to terms with it. While I was studying in Georgia, I tried to take a lot of precautions, and I even stopped eating dairy products, to get over this condition; however, none of it worked. But when people accepted me wholeheartedly in Premam, it gave me a lot of confidence that I don’t have to worry about my looks. It’s all about how well you perform your role. In fact, I also think that young girls can find inspiration in my story, so far, that there’s so much more to life beyond how you look. With Diya releasing in Tamil, I’m eager to see how people will react,” she says, adding, “I’m like a kid at a carnival and I’m the happiest when I’m on the sets shooting for a film. But once I go back home, I’m very silent. That’s my real character (smiles).”

Updated Date: Apr 27, 2018 09:53:54 IST