Archana Kavi shot to fame through Neelathaamara directed by Lal Jose. The bubbly and vivacious girl then went on to act in other Malayalam films before getting married to her childhood friend and stand-up comedian Abish Mathew and settling down in Mumbai. Then came a long silence from Archana’s end, which she broke very recently by writing and acting in a mini-series Toofan Mail — uploaded on her YouTube channel.
The video portrays a relationship that is close to every daughter’s heart — being a daddy’s girl. The 2-3 minute video has her real-life father Jose Kavi acting in it and beautifully chronicles some fun and realistic moments between them.
A look at her channel also shows many other videos titled ‘Talk with Archie’.
Surprise, surprise — turns out the pretty girl was not twiddling her thumbs in Mumbai. She was busy getting acquainted with her creative side – the result of which is Toofan Mail and the numerous other videos.
Cut to the video that is creating a buzz on social media with many of her star counterparts applauding her efforts. “It was just an experimental thing,” is how Archana begins about the endearing mini-series, the first part of which was launched just four days back. It shows her tech-savvy father joining Snapchat and also hitting his head on a pole while attempting a Facebook live and Archana’s exasperated concern and amusement of the same. Asked about the reason for coming up with this father-daughter theme, she guffaws loudly and says, “The only reason is that I have a father who is capable of doing such things!”
After her giggles subside, Archana talks seriously about how the whole series evolved. “I used to write back in school, which I later stopped. My dad is a journalist and that was a great influence and in fact, I wanted to study journalism. Coming back to the subject, one day I just wrote something vaguely and then wanted someone to write the screenplay and so contacted Abhilash Kumar, who is the writer of 22 Female Kottayam and a good friend of mine. He is someone who is aware of the relationship I share with my father and I wanted him to read it and tell me what he thought.”
Abhilash not only gave Archana the thumbs up but also asked her to continue writing. So she continued writing. It took a day for the idea to be written and 5 days of shoot for the first of the series to be shot. She adds, “I have an amazing relationship with my parents where we speak anything and everything under the sun. I also thought that somewhere the parent is also figuring out how to be a parent and then you reach an age where the child becomes more of a parent who sets the rules, which is very enduring and real.”
Getting her father on board was also easy and the shoot happened in Kochi a few days back with just family and friends around. “The video has Sreenath Bhasi and other than Sreenath and me, all the others including the technical team were first timers. Abhilash is the director,” she informs.
Talking to Archana’s father Jose has one trying hard to hold back the laughs, for he jokes a lot. “I was repeatedly told that an actor only has to act and not ask questions, though my journalistic instincts kept on rearing its head and I was told ‘do what you are asked to do, not ask questions’. It was actually not acting but being myself. I had to do some small exaggerations for the script but otherwise I did actually hit my head and had posted a photo on Facebook!” The proud father says, “I did not know she could write so well though I knew she could write. There are some real events from our life and I enjoyed it.”
The response to the first of the mini series has been good with many complaining about the short duration. Archana states with wonder, “Trust me, I had no plans to make it into a series and I am so happy that people are loving it. I have my own channel and I like the concept of putting up my work up there for all to see so that I get a direct feedback from the viewers. I like the position of a creator more than that of an actor. So I am not rushing into things.” Her brother’s band composed the song for the series and that is called Toofan Mail.
So the web series aside, what has Archana been doing all this long while? Answering with a laugh, she says, “I got married and that is a full-time job”. She then sobers, “I was figuring out what I wanted to do, which by the way I still have not, but I am reconnecting with myself. When I was an actor there were a lot of things I did not do because I thought of my image, etc. and now that does not bother me anymore. I feel I need to move on from the ‘actor’ tag. Marriage and Mumbai has been a blessing. Watching Abish and other people work has been an eye-opener. I never thought I would be able to write, create and act in something but I did.” Archana had been getting film projects but she chose not to accept them because she wanted to do something that showcased her real self. She ends by saying, “I like the entire rediscovery of me as a creator and I am enjoying it.”