Tik Tik Tik actress Nivetha Pethuraj on shooting for space film: 'I was taken aback by Hollywood standards of set design'
Nivetha Pethuraj discusses India's first space thriller Tik Tik Tik, making it large in Tamil cinema and signing her next, Party, without reading the script
At a time when Tamil-speaking heroines have become a rarity in K’town, Nivetha Pethuraj’s foray into Tamil cinema in 2016 has been a breath of fresh air. She made her feature film debut through the acclaimed drama Oru Naal Koothu and the song ‘Adiye Azhage’ – composed by Justin Prabhakaran for the film – turned out to be a sensational hit among youngsters.
“Whenever I attend a public event, 'Adiye Azhage' is the song that precedes my introduction. More than the film, the song played a significant role in my career and it's the reason I got the acceptance of Tamil audiences,” Nivetha tells Firstpost in this exclusive chat.
She had only one release in Tamil in 2017, Podhuvaaga En Manasu Thangam, a rural drama where she co-starred with Udhayanidh Stalin. The film, directed by debutant Thalapathy Prabhu, failed to impress audiences. “Yes, Podhuvaga En Manasu Thangam didn't do well at the box office as we expected but it didn't affect me because I felt I gave my best to the film. All I can do is to try and improve myself in my next movie and choose better scripts without taking the success or failure to heart. Because a movie's success or failure is not in anyone's hands but the audiences'. So I will keep moving on with my learnings and apply it to my next project,” asserts Nivetha.
In 2017, Nivetha also made her Tollywood debut with the romantic film Mental Madhilo directed by Vivek Athreya and produced by the makers of Pelli Choopulu. Mental Madhilo received excellent response from critics and went on to fetch commercial acclaim at the box-office.
Nivetha is currently awaiting the release of India’s first space thriller, Tik Tik Tik, directed by Shakti Rajan and produced by Nemichand Jhabak, on 26 January. Mersal producer Sri Thenandal Films will present the movie in Tamil Nadu.
Asked about what drew her into the script of Tik Tik Tik, Nivetha said, “The first thing that fascinated me was the film’s genre – space fiction. I’m a crazy fan of Christopher Nolan. I love science fictions and I watch them a lot. When we receive something we really love, we invest ourself 100 per cent no? The next thing is it's not a typical commercial movie. The shooting experience was incredibly challenging. With the harness on our body for most of the times, it will be difficult to move, breathe or do anything. Almost every member of the crew got injured while shooting but that didn't stop us from giving our best. ”
The making video of Tik Tik Tik screened at the audio launch was unanimously praised by everyone for its extraordinary set designs. Nivetha said her perception of the Tamil film industry got changed after she visited the sets of the film. “When director Shakti Rajan narrated the script, I was in a dream world, and without much thought, I gave my nod. With just a few days away from the shoot, I was a little worried about how the set was going to be. I thought it's going to be a complete green-mat shoot. I watched the making videos of Interstellar and Gravity. And then, I worked on my fitness to cope with whatever that's going to happen on sets. The minute I entered the sets, I was inclined to change my perception of Shakti, the art director Moorthy and the Tamil industry. I was completely taken aback by the Hollywood level standard in set design, and I was pretty sure that it's not going to demand any lavish CG works,” she said
Nivetha has also wrapped up the shooting of director Venkat Prabhu’s multi-starrer film Party which is currently in the post-production phase. She didn’t listen to the narration of Party before signing the film, and there’s a reason for it. “I didn't know anything about Party's script because Venkat Prabhu said he didn't write one (laughs). All that he told was there are a few songs and the shoot is going to happen in Fiji. Even during the shoot, I would ask him about my role. But I still don't know anything about the story.”
Party also features Regina Cassandra and Sanchita Shetty playing important roles. But Nivetha was never apprehensive about how much screen time she would get in the film which also stars an ensemble cast including Ramya Krishnan, Jai, Shiva, Chandran, Shaam, Nassar, Sathyaraj, Sampath and Suresh. “Even if our screen presence is for few minutes, it's in our hands to make an impression. So I was not apprehensive at all about the big cast. We shot for nearly two months and the mobile communication was poor there. I was homesick but these people were a great support. Regina and Sanchita are wonderful people to be around with and very motivating,” concluded Nivetha, who is currently a part of director Ezhil's next untitled film with Vishnu Vishal.
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