Entertainment Mollywood 05 Feb 2017 Television, movies o ...

Television, movies or stage, Surabhi is game

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | MEERA MANU
Published Feb 5, 2017, 12:00 am IST
Updated Feb 5, 2017, 4:17 am IST
For the first time, she plays a lead role in a movie directed by Anil Thomas, Minnaminungu.
Surabhi Lakshmi
 Surabhi Lakshmi

You go for a movie, you see her face on the big screen; walk to a play, there she is on the stage; switch on the TV, the hilarious ‘Paathu thatha’ pulls out all the stops. There are very few in showbiz who are as versatile as Surabhi Lakshmi. Having stayed in mainstream film industry for over a decade, which began with an appearance in the movie By the People, Surabhi had just done her maiden lead role in Minnaminungu directed by Anil Thomas. To play a widow in the mid-forties and mother to a grown-up girl, she went de-glam. All the more, her character doesn’t even have a name throughout the movie!

For a lady who wishes to be an actor for a lifetime, renouncing beauty parameters was no big deal. Irrespective of whether the screen is small or big, Surabhi has role models for the noteworthy roles she had handled and it is no different for Minnaminungu. Helping her out to play the ‘unnamed’ is her beloved Meena matron, who was hostel warden in Kalady Sree Sankaracharya University.

 

“Meena matron has influenced me in many ways. Her mannerisms, sari draping style, expressions and the Thiruvananthapuram accent. I have copied everything except her frequent exclamation Ente Paramasivane which the director didn’t want,” she smiles.

“There were similarities in character too; she was a struggling and doting mother, who had a tough time raising her daughter,” she adds. The nuances of the slang were reinforced through her interaction with co-actor Krishnan Balakrishnan, a Thiruvananthapuram native and the technical hand at the dubbing studio. Even as she was busy shooting for TV and films, this post-graduate in performing arts couldn’t neglect the stage, which has been on the backseat for about three years. So she was at it again, fetching her the award for best actor (female) from the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi in amateur theatre, for the second time.

 

She comments playfully: “Don’t they honour Akademi award winners with the bursting of ceremonial gun shots on their death? I’d prefer that be done a bit early, may be when I am being presented with the award. Otherwise, how will I see and hear the shots?” she breaks into laughter as if the funny-bone, she is known for, is system embedded. The first award was in 2010, for the play Yakshikathakalum Nattuvarthamanangalum when she was pursuing her masters. Now it’s Bombay Tailors that won her award. “Both are plays of K. Vinodkumar mash. This time around, fascinated by the script, I myself approached him for the role,” says Surabhi.

 

Otherwise, Surabhi is Paathu in the tele-serial M80 Moosa and a part of the TV show Laughing Villa. Paathu, though loved by many was also subjected to brickbats for overkill. “Paathu is a less-educated, unsophisticated woman, who behaves and speaks, straight from the heart. This character too has evolved from the kind of women I see around my home in Kozhikode. When there are actual people like that, I don’t give a damn to criticism,” Surabhi clears her stance. Paathu was her ticket for more than 25 stage shows abroad.

The actor takes pride that the tele-serial made in Kozhikode has crossed 350 episodes, when the mini-screen industry is centered in Thiruvananthapuram. “It’s a homely feel. All actors stay close to the location. For me it’s a five-six kilometres drive from my home. Isn’t it cool to have homely food and enjoy the job we do?” she asks. The way forward? The lure of stardom stops short of her. She wants to be that kind of a screen presence like Sukumari or KPAC Lalitha. “Sukumari amma was equally good at handling a stylish Maggi or an impoverished old mother. My dream is to be a director’s actor, who can be trusted with any role. Let me appear in four or five scenes, I’m sorted,” Surabhi says adding that “As of now, I’d like to get an upgradation from the BPL roles to APL ones.”

 

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