It has been around eight years since Priya Anand started her career as an actress. And she laughs, “Oh, it sounds like it’s been a long time.” Priya who debuted with Tamil was later found in lead roles in many hit films in Hindi and Telugu. For the first time in her career, she dons the greasepaint for Mollywood, for Ezra, which reached theatres today. “In fact, I was supposed to act in Malayalam years back just after my first film in Tamil. But that time, I signed up for a Telugu film and hence could not accommodate dates for it. Later, many films came to me from some great directors. Unfortunately, I could not join them. But when Ezra came to me, the first thing I did was giving priority to this film and it was after blocking dates for Ezra that I committed to other films,” says the actress.
So was it a tough task for her to speak Malayalam? “Yes, though I can understand Malayalam, I had not tried speaking it before joining Ezra. But you know what! The majority of my friends in the US, where I completed my schooling and graduation, were Malayalis. During the cultural festivals at college, they used to stage Malayalam songs and Kerala-based programmes. When it comes to Ezra, I studied my whole dialogues by heart; I am not that fluent in speaking Malayalam in public though I can understand what others speak. But now I am trying to grasp the language and hope I can speak it in public also. After spotting me in Kochi during the shooting of Ezra, many asked me, ‘Malayali aano?’ (Are you a Malayali?),” she says.
Ezra has been in the news from the day of its announcement because of its genre — horror. It is after a gap that such a genre was being tried in Malayalam, when the same type of films are being actively made in the neighbouring Tamil industry. “In Tamil, many horror films are being made and majority are blockbusters. But the lion’s share of those films is horror comedy. Ezra cannot be categorised as a horror comedy because it is an out-and-out horror film,” says Priya. It was reported that the cast and crew of Ezra had experienced paranormal activities on the sets of the film while it was been filmed in Kochi. “It was really scary recollecting such incidents even now. All I can say now is that I went to Chottanikkara Temple to overcome the scare,” she says.
Priya points that it was the whole package of Ezra that attracted her. “From the actors and subject to the technicians and production banner, it is the perfect launch one can get in Malayalam. I feel Mollywood is a bit special. Many multi-starrers are happening here. Each star is coming forward to share screen space with others. That is why films like Bangalore Days is happening here. In Ezra too, we got actors like Tovino and Sudev,” she points out. The movie sees Priya in an eponymous role romancing Prithviraj. “Majority of the roles I have essayed are named Priya. In Ezra too, the name is same, but the characterisation is different,” she says. Even if you turn on the TV and see soap operas, majority of the characters you see there are also named Priya. The Ezra character was named Priya even before I came on board,” she laughs....