Thimiru Pudichavan star Nivetha Pethuraj on wanting to be known as an actor, rather than as a star
Nivetha Pethuraj opens up about the heartening response she received for Tik Tik Tik, her recent release Thimiru Pudichavan and her upcoming projects.
After winning the Miss India UAE title a few years ago, actress Nivetha Pethuraj set foot into Kollywood through director Nelson Venkatesan's Oru Naal Koothu. The song "Adiye Azhage" from the film went on to become a massive chartbuster and Nivetha Pethuraj captivated the hearts of teens and youngsters in no time with her cherubic looks and a natural debut performance. In this exclusive chat with FirstPost, she talks about the heartening responses she received for India's first space thriller Tik Tik Tik, her recent release Thimiru Pudichavan, her upcoming projects, and #MeToo movement.
"Initially, I was a bit concerned about my character in Thimiru Pudichavan since I thought it was similar to the one I did in Tik Tik Tik. But the sensible storyline and the way the story was constructed made me go for it despite the serious nature of the role. As we started to shoot, I loved my character even more. When we were dubbing, I was uncontrollably laughing at some sequences. We had shot many sequences in the outdoor; the scorching weather, the stunts and the bullet ride was quite challenging. I haven't ridden a bullet before, and it took me two days to learn to ride it," Nivetha told FirstPost.
One of Nivetha's interesting upcoming films is director Venkat Prabhu's Party, which has been in the post-production stage for a long time now. "I signed Party without even listening to the script. There was no one to advise me about how to decide on the scripts since I had no one from film background in my family. I was in the early days of my career and all it mattered that time was that it's a multi-starrer and Venkat Prabhu's film," says Nivetha adding, "I had done shooting for the film a long time back, and yet I don't know the full script, all I know is just my portion in the film."
Party features an all-star cast of actors such as Regina Cassandra, Jai, Sanchita Shetty, Ramya Krishnan, Sathyaraj, and Nassar in important roles. "I have had combination sequences with almost all the artists. Talking about my off-screen experience with my co-artists, I really had developed a great bond with Ramya Krishnan maam. When she's not shooting, we would talk a lot about her industry experience. It would be so inspiring to listen to the path she traveled. Nassar sir is a very artistic person; he would take a stroll along the shore and collect shells. He would even rearrange the furniture in his room to improve the aesthetics. Jayaram sir and Sathyaraj sir were so chilled out."
Significant portions of Party were shot in a long schedule in Fiji islands. "Fiji schedule was so stressful since the weather was unpredictable and there were permission issues to shoot. There were days when we were all set to hit the location after all the preps, but suddenly some unforeseen situation would arise resulting in canceling the day's shoot," she said.
Nivetha's next release is likely to be commercial entertainer Jagajala Killadi, directed by Ezhil. The makers have confirmed the release date as 21 December for the Christmas weekend alongside Jayam Ravi's Adanga Maru and Vijay Sethupathi's Seethakathi. "I have done light-hearted roles. But after Tik Tik Tik, I have been receiving a lot of women-centric scripts. I consciously choose scripts that stand different from each other. I can stick to some genre that might mint money in the box office and create a place for myself. But I choose to try different genres, roles, prove myself as an actor and not to be typecast. I want to be called an actor rather than a star," stated Nivetha about the kind of roles she would like to star in.
Nivetha plays Prabhu Deva's wife in Pon Manickavel which is being directed by AC Mugil. "My screen presence in Pon Manickavel is very less, but the whole experience of working with Prabhu Deva was great. It's based on a true story and I play his wife in the film. I have a few days of shoot scheduled in December, and my portion will be over then," she said.
Nivetha says she hasn't signed Dulquer Salmaan's Vaan yet although the discussions happened long back. "I haven't signed Vaan yet; I have just given my word, and the talks happened. But nothing is finalised on paper as of now. In Tamil, I have got the chance to explore the commercial arena, but in Telugu, I am getting more performance-oriented scripts," said Nivetha, who made a promising Telugu debut through romance drama Mental Mathilo, directed by Vivek Athreya.
Talking about the overwhelming reception for Tik Tik Tik, Nivetha said, "I never take anything to my head, be it good or bad. I'm just keen about living the moment. When we did Tik Tik Tik, I knew the film would definitely do well. I know the hard work everyone put in and was confident about the script. I would never think twice to choose such an ambitious project in the future, but the director's execution, capability is also equally important as the script. Some people can narrate well but falter when it comes to execution. So, I have to look at all the factors," she explained.
About the second wave of #MeToo movement in India, Nivetha said, "I do work in scripts that come my way; I have never gone asking for any offers or favours. I have control over myself and my work, so I haven't faced it. In my opinion, instead of coming forward about the casting couches or harassments in the future, they should confront the perpetrators themselves on the spot."
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