A young girl was sitting at a café in Chennai with a group of friends and in walks ace director Gautham Menon. The girl very confidently tells her pals that five years thence, she hoped to work with him. And five years later, the universe conspired to bring to her on a platter what she wished for.
Actress Manjima Mohan is sharing screen space with Simbu and Naga Chaitanya in Gautham Menon’s bi-lingual in Tamil and Telugu.
Daughter of cinematographer Vipin Mohan, Manjima started her innings as a child artiste and then turned heroine through Nivin Pauly-starrer Oru Vadakkan Selfie.
The runaway hit paved the way for a successful stint in other industries. While most newcomers find the going tough even in Mollywood, Manjima has been having a dream run in Tamil as well as Telugu acting with stars like Vikram Prabhu.
The journey still seems like a reverie from which Manjima hopes never to wake up. “I thought I would be doing only Malayalam films. Tamil and Telugu films were not part of my plans, but I guess it was destined to happen!” she says.
How was it to work with Gautham? Manjima gushes, “He is very friendly, down- to- earth and calm. I have never seen him shout at anybody and he pampers me a lot. If I get ribbed for eating a lot, he immediately jumps to my defence and asks me to eat whatever I want. ”
She cherishes happy memories of working with co-stars Simbu and Naga too. The bubbly girl reveals, “Simbu is very funny, entertaining on the sets and a very natural actor. Naga is a very good friend of mine and though he comes from a very big filmi family, he has no such airs and is very humble and professional.”
Manjima did not have any butterflies when she was pitted against seasoned actors. “I have been facing the camera since I was a child, so I am not exactly nervous. The only worry I have is that I would forget my dialogues, but I guess every actor would be having this concern!”
There is an obvious difference between the working styles across the industries and Manjima mentions that Malayalam is her home where she knows everyone, thanks to her father’s credentials.
She explains, “In Malayalam, I am known as Vipin Mohan’s daughter than as an actress. Many of the actors have seen me growing up before them and I have a certain freedom in Mollywood. But that does not work in Tamil or Telugu as in I cannot go around saying my father is a cinematographer and so treat me special! In Tamil and Telugu, I am a heroine and everyone is very professional. I do my work, come and sit in my caravan and do not interact much. In Mollywood, everyone gathers in one caravan and we have a good time cracking jokes, eating together and ribbing each other; sometimes I miss that camaraderie!”
Life has taken a 360-degree turn for the bubbly actress who loves talking nineteen to the dozen. She candidly says that she was a carefree, stubborn girl who would do whatever she wanted, but she slowly understood that her job required her to be very careful about what she spoke or what she wore.
She says, “I never used to think before speaking, but I have clamped down on that. I used to wear bathroom slippers and go to the airport, but now I am conscious about my dressing style. I have also become stronger and independent because I take care of myself and do not involve my parents in everything. It is work, work and more work for me and that keeps me happy but I also make time for my family.”
Though she looks trim now, Manjima had faced ridicule owing to her chubbiness. She tinkles,” My designer Pallavi Singh will kill me if I put on weight and she has been my motivation to look and dress well. Pallavi transformed me into a woman who loves to don glamorous clothes.”
Even though Manjima loves to dress fashionably she states that she is very conservative by nature. She opines, “You can look glamorous in a salwar and it is important to differentiate between glamour and exposing. I have my comfort zone and will not cross it!”
Regarding her Malayalam projects, she has not signed any because of her busy schedules in Tamil and Telugu, but she wants to do a Malayalam film when time permits.
She signs off saying, “I want to return to Malayalam with a good project.”...