Udayavni Special

‘Paava Kadhaigal’ influenced my way of looking at world: Sai Pallavi

PTI, Dec 15, 2020, 4:04 PM IST

New Delhi: South star Sai Pallavi says she has received so much love and respect for her work in her career spanning five years, it is fitting she gives back to the society — be it as a performer, public figure or medical professional.

The actor said her upcoming project, Netflix”s Tamil anthology “Paava Kadhaigal”, loosely translated as ”Sin Stories”, was a step ahead in the same direction as it helped her look at life from a different lens.

The 28-year-old actor stars in ”Oor Iravu” (That Night), the short segment directed by Vetri Maaran in the film, slated to be released on Friday.

Estranged from her family after eloping, a now-pregnant woman (Pallavi) is brought home by her father, played by Prakash Raj, who says he wishes to hold a baby shower for her in their village.

“This body of work is important in this day and age because that might start a conversation at least. On a personal level, this film has also influenced my way of looking at the world and how I might have to learn a lot more. The society has done a lot for me, it”s important for me to give back,” Pallavi told PTI in an interview over Zoom.

“Paava Kadhaigal” features three more shorts, directed by Vignesh Shivan, Sudha Kongara and Gautham Vasudev Menon, and explores how love, pride and honour influence complex relationships.

Pallavi, who rose to prominence with her debut as a lead in Malayalam-Tamil romance drama “Premam” and Telugu debut “Fidaa”, said she knew the National Award-winning director will paint a different world in his short.

“He would not intentionally throw a thing at us but subconsciously we”ll be aware of what is going to happen in the film. I have always gone on the set prepared because I feel one shouldn”t waste another person”s time.

“Here, sir said he was not ready to give the lines until he reached the location. He said ”I cannot decide what a person would go through when I sit in a concrete room”. It made sense.”

She added she was “intimidated” by Raj, a multiple National Award winner known for films like “Kanchivaram” (Tamil), “Antahpuram” (Telugu), and “Singham” (Hindi) among others.

“It”s surprising one man can bring so many layers to each character. I have always looked up to him. Having to share the screen space was always a fear thinking I should be able to do good.”

The actor, still recognised as Malar Miss from “Premam””, said even though she made a successful foray into movies, it took her a while to do “something better”.

“I want to be part of movies that have a little more meaning. The success of ”Premam” didn”t take me by surprise because I was playing myself. When I was accepted for that role, I felt confident.

“Films have always influenced me. ”Fidaa” was one such film where I never thought I would play a loud role because I”m not like that,” Pallavi, who hails from Kotagiri town in Tamil Nadu, added.

The actor believes in leading by example through her choices and when she decided to turn down a fairness cream endorsement last year it came from a personal experience.

“When my younger sister was in fifth-sixth grade, she would eat vegetables and fruits because my mom would say ”If you eat this, you will grow fair”. My mother wanted her to eat all of that because it was healthy and my sister ate because she wanted to become fair,” Pallavi recalled.

“As an actor, I wanted to take a stand. I wouldn”t have been able to sleep at night had I done that ad,” she added.

Pallavi, who studied medicine from Tbilisi State Medical University, Georgia, said the coronavirus pandemic has pushed her to seriously pursue a career as a doctor and help the society.

“I studied medicine for six years because I wanted to help. I thought I”ll take the exam anytime. When the pandemic happened, I realised I have to complete this. I got back to books and took the exam. I will get registered as a doctor soon. I will not let go of this passion,” she said.

Asked if she was up for a Hindi film, Pallavi, who straddles Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam film industries, said she is open to new experiences.

“I”ve always gone by scripts and what I felt when I did them. It”s a learning process. I don”t know what”s in store for me. If there”s a time I do a Bollywood film, I”d want to be confident about the script and my character.”

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