Anandhi
Anandhi

Many Think Of Me As An Underrated Actress, But Mangai Will Change That: Anandhi

The actress speaks to us about filming Mangai, and mastering the art of saying no to scripts with clarity

“There are a few films where you take some time to say yes,” says Tamil film actress Anandhi. But for Mangai, her upcoming social drama, she instinctively knew she had to be part of the film, she tells us. The first-look poster and trailer of Mangai made heads turn for its take on women's place in a patriarchal society. While the poster shows how women are objectified in the digital era where everyone has a smartphone, the trailer gives us a glimpse at the titular character who is scrutinised by police and media. The actress calls it one of the challenging roles of her career. “I didn’t want to miss the opportunity. I have seen many people call me an underrated actress, and I think so too. But maybe Mangai will change that perception.”

Even if the actress has come to terms with the tag, she has done many films with starring roles, including Prabhu Solomon’s Kayal (2014) and the coming-of-age drama Kamali From Nadukaveri (2021). Speaking about choosing such films, the actress says, “I am just going with the flow but I have this thought inside me that when people watch a film, they should watch it because they believe indha ponnu nadicha, indha padam nalla irukum (they believe when I do a film, it’ll be good) and not because of the star cast around. I have wanted to create that impression for a long time now and so I want to choose the right scripts. Besides, such roles give me more responsibility.”

Anandhi in Mangai
Anandhi in Mangai

Anandhi further says she searches for purpose in all her films. This also means that she has had to say no to a lot of scripts early on in her career. “I have been very transparent right from the start,” Anandhi asserts, reminiscing a bitter incident from the past — the only time she did a film she couldn’t relate to. “When I did Trisha Illana Nayanthara (2015), I was initially told that it was a love story. But it (the film) was different when we started filming and I wanted to walk out at several points. I didn’t do so because a lot of money and other people’s work had gone into it. I didn’t even understand a lot of scenes because of language problems. It was at a very early stage in my career and I felt that discomfort. So after that, I listen clearly to scripts and understand the character before signing a film.”

If Trisha Illana Nayanthara taught her the importance of saying no, Kayal helped hone her acting skills and choose the right scripts. Anandhi was studying in high school when she did Kayal and wasn’t very serious about her acting journey.

Anandhi in Kayal
Anandhi in Kayal

Looking back, she says it was a turning point in her career. “Before that, I used to do whatever my director told me to. But Prabhu Solomon didn’t have a scriptbook. Even the assistant directors didn’t know what we were going to shoot. So I learnt a lot on the sets. The shooting happened for over a year and I learnt how to look at characters and understand their behaviour and thoughts. So working in the film was a transformational experience for me.” She recalls being unsure about acting back then. “I did want to do an MBA or go abroad. But now, I know I was meant to be here. I know now that even when I turn 60 or 70, an actor is all I want to be.”

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