Nithya Menen enters Kollywood

CHENNAI: She has done many films in Malayalam and also successfully entered the Kannada and Telugu film industries. Now the talented actor Nithya Menen makes a foray into Tamil with Satyam Cinemas’s ‘180’, opposite Siddharth, and says she feels at home with Tamil cinema. In a candid chat she tells us why…

“The bilingual, ‘180’, is my second film in Tamil after my superhit in Telugu, ‘Ala Modalaindi’. So, ‘180’ is an important film for me since I have to live up to the expectations created by ‘Ala’. I also face the challenge of satisfying the audiences in Tamil,” says an excited Nithya.

In ‘180’, Nithya plays a photo journalist, a role close to her heart. “As a student of journalism, it established an immediate connect when I heard the script. But it’s mainly a love story, though I do carry a camera around in the film,” she laughs. Photography too is a passion with this girl, who stumbled into cinema quite by accident, always wanting to be a singer instead.

“I never wanted to be an actor! It’s destiny, which has brought me till here,” she recalls. She bagged her first film, ‘The Monkey Who Knew Too Much’, playing Tabu’s sister, quite by chance, when she was barely eight years old.

Coincidentally eight years later, when she modeled for a Kerala tourism magazine, she caught the attention of actor Mohanlal. “I got a call from director KP Kumaran to star opposite Mohanlal just after my Class 12 exams. I wasn’t interested in acting but I was bored. When I heard the shoot was in London, I thought it was a good way to spend the holidays! But my debut in ‘Aakasha Gopuram’ led to a spate of offers and I discovered my latent passion for good cinema. The rest is history!” she exclaims.

But she’s determined not to travel the commercial route to success. “I want to act in meaningful films, which I can watch with my dad, without being embarrassed,” she says and adds that she has refused many films with big heroes due to the lack of substantial roles. “I’m talented and want to be part of only good cinema with strong roles that have ample scope for me to act. So why should I doll-up and dance around trees? I’m not made for that! I hand pick each of my films with care.”

Kollywood, she says, fulfills her longings. “I feel Tamil cinema suits me. They make the kind of cinema I want to be part of. I like their balance between good scripts and commercial success. ‘Ghajini’ is a fine example,” she says. Going by the response to her work in the industry, it looks like one more fine actress is stepping into Kollywood.

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