Priyamani’s is having an amazing year on the one hand, she has Ram Gopal Varma’s Rakta Charitra and on the other, Mani Ratnam’s Raavanan, waiting to hit screens. Both movies have triggered huge expectations and are on the way to be sure-shot winners at the box-office.
But for Priyamani it is not just the success part of it that has delighted the actress. What has pleased her more is the fact that she has been able to work with some of the best professionals in the Indian film industry.
Talking about her experience of sharing screen spaace in Raavanan, with Vikram, Aishwarya Rai, Prithviraj, Prabhu and Karthik, she says, “What can I say? It was a roller-coaster ride! All that I can say is I definitely would like to work with Mani sir over and over again.”
Everybody who has worked with Mani has always claimed to have gained by the experience. Has she too gained by working with him in Raavanan? Says the actress, “I’ve definitely gained. By working with him, I’ve learnt to — I don’t know if it would be right or wrong on my part to say this — but to act. He’s one person who has helped me further my acting skills. Prithvi and Vikram would agree with me when I say that Mani sir gives you the freedom to express yourself. He is one director who says, ‘Don’t follow the dialogues. You don’t have to actually say the dialoges word to word. You can say what you want but which mean the same as what the lines written there mean.” Ask her about her role in the film and a smile automatically appears on her face, giving away the fact that she is not wanting to talk about it. However, restraining herself, she says, “ I can’t divulge much about my role but all I can say is it is a performance-based role.”
Make her pick one trait of each of her co-stars, which she thinks is their biggest strength and she says, “Vikram is an extraordinary actor. Vikram is that sort of a guy who will come up to me and say, ‘Priya, shall we rehearse the lines once?’ We will rehearse and I’ve seen this, believe me, after rehearsing the lines, he would take a mirror and repeat the lines looking at the mirror to observe his facial expressions and his body language while he’s saying his lines. On the other hand, Abhishek is such a spontaneous actor. The moment ‘action’ was said, Abhishek would turn into the character Beera and remain so until the word ‘cut’ was uttered. There was never a dull moment in the sets when Abhishek was there. He would make everybody feel at home.”
At a time when most actresses chose to stay away from commercial cinema, Priyamani made it clear that she preferred to do commercial roles. Would she categorise her role in Raavanan as a commercial one? “Oh yes, I would. But, the only thing is that it has been shot differently. Yes, it is definitely a commercial film but it’s a Mani Ratnam film.”