Measured, however nice. That’s how Manju Warrier has at all times been in her interviews. It was not totally different this time as nicely.
The actor has began 2023 with a bang. Her second Tamil movie Thunivu, an motion flick with Ajith Kumar, is operating efficiently in theatres. Her first Malayalam launch of the 12 months, Ayisha, “a global film”, is releasing on January 20. On January 21, she shall be again in her classical dancer avatar, in a Kuchipudi dance drama on the grand finale of the forty fifth version of the 111-day-long Soorya Pageant in Thiruvananthapuram.
In Thunivu, she performs Kanmani, an confederate of Ajith’s character Darkish Satan/Michael Jackson in executing a financial institution heist. It’s her first onscreen motion position and Manju is happy about pulling it off.
Whereas evaluations unanimously speak about how an actor of her calibre didn’t have sufficient scenes, she observes, “I have heard that. Even our director [H Vinoth] and Ajith sir had said that I ought to have been given a role that had more screen time. Meanwhile, some viewers have pointed out that I have got a solid role in a mass hero movie and that I was on par with the star in certain scenes. What matters is not the screen time, but that my character is getting discussed,” she says.
Thunivu may be very totally different from her Tamil debut, Vetrimaaran’s Asuran(2019) with Dhanush. Kanmani wields a gun and kicks off into motion.
Manju can also be thrilled that she may go on a motorbike trip with Ajith and a workforce of riders. “That was an unexpected invitation from his side to join the 16-member team. Even though I said yes, I wasn’t sure if he actually meant it. But a few days later when he got back to me with the itinerary, I was surprised! We covered Leh-Ladakh, Jammu Kashmir and Chandigarh. I have travelled through this route before. But covering the same stretch on a bike is a totally different experience.”
The most important problem was navigating the terrain. She did consider dropping out after an exhausting first day. “But, eventually, the others’ passion for riding rubbed off on me and it turned out to be one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I didn’t ride much since I did not have a license then.”
Ayisha shall be a recent expertise for the viewers, says the actor. Directed by debutant Aamir Pallikkal, she calls it a world movie as 80 % of the actors are of different nationalities, equivalent to Tunisia, Nigeria, Syria, the Philippines and the UAE. “Among several factors that attracted me to the project were the backdrop and sharing screen space with these actors. They are well-known artistes in their industry. Since we were all speaking our own language during the shoot, it was fun.”
Manju performs the titular character, a khaddama (housemaid in Arab nations). “The film looks at her relationship with her employer and other maids who are from different countries. It is inspired by a true story and we have taken some cinematic liberties with the subject. The identity of the real-life person will be revealed at the end of the movie,” she says.
Manju provides that the majority motion pictures about khaddama have projected how the maids are ill-treated by their employers. However Ayisha is totally different in that the Arab employers are proven in a constructive gentle. The movie has been dubbed in Arabic as nicely, along with Tamil, Hindi and Telugu.
On the stage
Manju will play Krishna within the dance drama Radhe Shyam conceptualised and choreographed by her dance guru, Geetha Padmakumar. “I have been performing at the Soorya Festival on October 9 every year. But I couldn’t perform on that date because I was shooting for Thunivu. That’s when I got an opportunity to be part of Geetha teacher’s production.”
The speaking level of Ayisha has been a music picturised on Manju (‘Kannilu kannilu’), choreographed by Prabhu Deva. “I wanted to work with him someday. So, when this song situation came up, I asked him and he immediately came on board. But once he was in, I had to ensure that we gave him the best song. So I got deeply involved in making the song with the composer [M Jayachandran].” Manju admits that she was nervous in regards to the steps since she has not performed that fashion earlier than. “But sir asked me to have fun and it was fun,” says the actor, including that she loved the trolls for her look within the music.
Being the celebrity
Ever since her comeback with How Previous Are You? (2014) after a 14-year hiatus, Manju has been consistently pushing the envelope as an actor. The woman celebrity of Malayalam cinema, as she is fondly addressed, admits that some decisions labored out, and a few didn’t. “I have always said that my criterion for selecting a subject is that it should excite me. Of course, I have gone wrong several times. Now the viewers are exposed to all kinds of content. We artistes are also watching fresh narratives and storytelling. So, like many other actors, I try to raise the bar as an actor with each film,” says Manju.
The 43-year-old admits that she is just not at all times enthused by “female-oriented” topics. “Such offers have come down because people now know that it is not the only factor that excites me. It has been proven that not all male-oriented films are good and that not all female-oriented films are failures. Content is what matters now.”
Her upcoming launch is Vellari Pattanam, a political satire, with Soubin Shahir. Her Hindi venture with R Madhavan is half means by means of the shoot.