2023 has been a special year for Rajisha Vijayan as she played some audacious, unusual roles. In Kolla, for instance, she played Annie, a seemingly innocent person who opens a parlour, only to later secretly rob a nearby bank. Completely unrelated yet equally intriguing was Meera, Vijayan’s character in Madhura Manohara Moham, a responsible and free-spirited woman. Speaking at The Malayalam Cinema Adda 2023, Vijayan says, “I think the fact that I have come full circle in my filmography is my best memory from this year. I could play a character with more daring shades as compared to the usual archetype of the conventional girlfriend.”
It’s also why Meera from Madhura Manohara Moham remains very special, the actress says. “I felt really happy that this tricky character turned out well as it was something out of my safe zone.” But it is not often that Vijayan gets to play challenging roles. “If you are a director, you will always want to work on diverse stories, right? I feel it is the same with the actors. Some stories might have a few things that don’t excite you at any level or be something that you’ve already done in the past. We all want to try new things and explore new shades of our personality. It's a small window in my case,” Vijayan says, adding that she tries to go with her gut feeling while listening to a script.
The actress is however clear that whatever the reason may be, she will never do films for financial reasons, even if that means she has to sit back with fewer films in hand. “I am well aware that we are not working in an industry where there is financial stability. I know the kind of pressure that aspiring for too much can bring to your career and personal life. I am content with the life I have, at least financially speaking. I am always particular that I won't fall into the trap of selecting scripts for the lucrative pay. “
The uncertainty that she experienced right after her debut helped her get clarity on how to choose films. She realised that apart from working hard, there was nothing much in her control. “Even after having a great start to my career with a once-in-a-lifetime debut like Anuraga Karikkin Vellam (2016), I had a slump where I had to sit home without much work coming my way and wait for the right story. And when June (2019) happened, I started getting many projects; that film changed my life again. I had this clarity that I would never do films for financial reasons and that has helped me a lot lately.”
If 2023 has been about changes in the kind of characters Vijayan essays, she has a lot more expectations from the Malayalam industry in the coming years. She says, “I want more writers to come forward. It’s not that it’s not happening. In fact, our industry is known as a space where writers are respected and taken care of. But more writers should be empowered. I also want to see a female superhero. I watched Darshana’s kick in Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey (2022) and seeing a strong, emancipated woman represented on screen made me so happy. It also looked good and gave people a high.”