When you entered the industry, there were very few youth oriented films in Malayalam. But nowadays every film seems to be youth centric. What do you have to say about the trend?
I came into the industry through the film Nammal, which had four youngsters. It was one of the films that started off the trend. I was a part of plenty more, like Swapnakkoodu, Chadikkatha Chanthu, Lollypop, Robinhood etc. I don't think there has been such a huge change over the years. The recent movies that I did, Ezhamathe Varavu, Honeybee, Polytechnic and now, Angry Babies are all different in their own way. I have been lucky to have done all kinds of roles and escaped any kind of stereotyping.
Why do you do just one or two films a year?
When I'm approached for a film, I look at the whole team, the director, producer etc. Even if I'm okay with the team, I wouldn't do a film unless I like the story and script and vice-versa too. I've left out big projects at times because of this. But I have absolutely no issues with new directors. Many of the films I have done are with newbies.
Your looks have evolved beyond recognition over the past 10 years... I did my first film at the age of 15, when I had no idea about make-up or styling or fashion. I wasn't bothered about them for many years and also, no senior actress ever told me that I should change. Even those who I asked for help never supported me. It was maybe at the age of 19-20 that I myself realised that I should change. I educated myself and learnt everything about fitness, make-up and style, all by myself. And now, when young girls ask me tips and tricks, I am so glad they ask and am only happy to help them.
In your latest release, Angry Babies, your co-star is Anoop Menon, again... How do you explain the coincidence? Anoop and I had already acted in Trivandrum Lodge, where the chemistry worked out really well. As a co-star, I feel very comfortable with Anoop ettan, more than comfortable, actually.
You revealed that you are in a relationship... With many Malayalam actresses getting married recently, don't you feel like taking the leap?
Yes, I am seeing someone but I can't say at this point where it's going or whether it will lead to marriage. If at all I marry, I plan to do so next year. But I feel it is better to get married when I am ready for it, not because others are doing it or under pressure from society or other people. I never take any decision that way. Because if there are any problems, none of these people will be there; there will be just me and my family to face it. At the end of the day, I live for myself, not for others. I will listen to everyone but the final decision will be mine.
What about the whole debate on whether actresses should act after marriage?
Do you see any actor stopping acting after marriage? The film industry is not something dirty that you should stop acting after you marry. Having said that, it is each person's personal decision, I feel. I have always maintained that I will never say goodbye to films completely. Kajol, Madhuri Dixit, Aishwarya Rai and Sreedevi have all done good roles after marriage. If I get good roles, I too will definitely take them up. Not that I will do anything and everything which comes my way, but then, I don't do that now either. If I get offered a film which I like, which I feel I shouldn't miss, I will I do it, just like now.
And I will marry only someone who recognises acting as my profession and someone who will encourage me and support me to do a good film, like a good friend, not a narrow-minded person who thinks on the lines of - from now on, stay at home and look after me and do nothing else.
Is there anything like you won't marry someone from the film industry... If I fall in love with an actor or filmmaker, what's wrong with it? Cinema is something I have been doing since age 15. And whatever anyone says, I have never had even one bad experience with the industry. I really love this profession; it has given me everything, made me what I am. So I have absolutely no aversion towards people from the film industry. I would love a person for the human being he is; on the basis of his personality, not on the basis of his profession.
What are you working on next?
I will be doing two Malayalam films and one Kannada film this year, but the official agreement is not over yet.