Hailed as the lady superstar of Malayalam cinema, Manju Warrier who marked her second innings after a long sabbatical with the film How Old Are You forays into Tamil with Dhanush-Vetri Maaran film Asuran. The actress, who was in Chennai to promote the film, says that though it took so long to enter K’town, with Asuran she feels she has ‘saved for the best’.
My best Tamil launch:
Dhanush is the most popular and loved actor in Kerala. Vetri Maaran’s films are always the most-awaited ones. And Thaanu sir is one of the biggest producers in Tamil. I am lucky to have started my Tamil innings with this combo. I did get offers from Tamil in mid 90s, but somehow they didn’t work out. I think that was for the best to happen, and yes, now Asuran happened. I know Dhanush for long. We also discussed a couple of projects together. But for some reasons, they didn’t happen. Recently, he called me and asked if I would want to work in Asuran. Without wasting time, I gave my nod (Smiles).
On Tirunelveli and Kovilpatti slang:
It is teamwork. A lot of research went into Asuran to make it as original as possible. I only try to fit in and give my best. Moreover, I hail from Nagercoil and I understand Tamil well.
Working with two national award winners:
I was not intimidated, but was excited! I know Dhanush for long and don’t even remember when we became friends. Dhanush was very comfortable to work with. Since we are buddies, the understanding was there. However, since Tamil industry is new to me, on the first week of my shoot, I felt as if I have joined school for the first time.
Later on, in the subsequent days, I got used to the pattern of work.
Vetri Maaran a tough taskmaster?
Everyone knows that he portrays women characters strongly. Every director has his/her own style. Whatever the director wants me to portray, I just follow. I try to show justice to it. So, no hassles (laughs).
On Malayalam actors’ caste tags like Menon, Nair:
Vetri Maaran comes to her rescue, and says, “Except in Tamil Nadu, thanks to Periyar (E.V. Ramasamy), all other states have this. We should feel proud of it and should not question others.”
Manju adds, “As far as I am concerned, Manju was a common name and just to differentiate, I added Warrier to my name. I came to know that it was a caste name much later only.”
On Tamil Lady Superstar Nayanthara:
She is very hardworking. I really like her. She is very popular and deserves to be where she is.
“It’s rare to see a producer paying the full remuneration to an actor these days.
But, for Asuran, Thanu sir paid my salary even before the movie commenced.
And it was very helpful for me at that point of time,” remarked actor Dhanush.
Heaping praise on Manju Warrier, he said, “I know her for a long time, and wanted to act with a talented actress like her. I was hardly 18 when I did Kadhal Kondaein. I used to share a lot with Nagesh sir. I was discussing about my co-actors’ performance then. He, then, told me that we should be scared of actors whose performance will not be felt, as they will be the best ones. I felt Manju is one such performer and I got scared working with her. And I used to wonder how she switches off and on while doing intense scenes, when I would still be in a hangover.”
He adds, “Till recently I was thinking only Vada Chennai was Vetri Maaran’s best. However, Asuran is the best. As an actor, I get a lot of content from Vetri Maaran sir. I am 36 and he has given me the most significant film in my career. I don’t know if any other actor would be blessed with such a beautiful film.” Dhanush was all praise for music composer GV Prakash Kumar for delivering awesome music in Asuran. They were teaming up after a brief breakup.
He looked calm and composed while making a style statement in the traditional attire of veshti and white shirt when he faced a query about Vada Chennai (VC) being omitted from the National Awards. He feels the people’s verdict and acclaim as the biggest award for him. “We make films for people and not for awards. When people feel that VC is not getting an award itself is the biggest award to me. That way, it has reached audiences. I did not feel for myself or Vetri Maaran as we have already won National awards for Aadukalam, but felt bad for art director Jackie as he had worked extremely hard for Vada Chennai.”
Dhanush also expressed that he was disappointed for Mari Selvaraj's Pariyerum Perumal, Raatsasan Ramkumar and Merku Thodarchi Malai for not making it to the awards. The actor also assured that, as promised earlier, the sequel to Vada Chennai is on the cards....