I Listen To Songs To Get Into My Character’s Mood: Regina Cassandra, Film Companion

Anya’s Tutorial is scheduled to stream on Aha Video on July 1. Ahead of its release, Regina Cassandra talks to Ramya Subramanian about her character in this horror series, the scope for performance-oriented roles in streaming platforms, and the versatile roles she has played in her career.

Edited excerpts below:

It was refreshing to watch you play Bharatanatyam dancer Mrinalini Sarabhai in Rocket Boys. It is an important character in the series. Do you think OTT platform lets you explore a lot more new roles and get more scope to perform?

Yes, I’m very happy for OTT. On OTT, everyone wants to make a pan-Indian show and you can’t have a pan-Indian show without bringing in everyone from all parts of the country. In lieu of that, people are actually looking at actors from down south and the platform is bridging the gap. 

It’s now in its nascent stages, as it’s only just started. I still get asked like “oh would you like to be known as a south Indian actress or a pan-Indian actress” and I’m like Okay. Thanks to OTT, there’s work for everyone, be it your technician, a cast or crew, and that’s really good to see. Whatever be the reason, at the end of the day it’s good to see because finally we’re all able to explore. I’m doing so many Hindi OTT shows now I’m absolutely happy. 

 

Anya’s Tutorial is an important series when it comes to your lineup, so what is your character like in this?

I’m really glad that Arka Media has also forayed into the OTT space. My character’s name is Madhu and she plays Lavanya’s older sister. When Sowmya and Pallavi narrated the show to me, I loved it. I loved it from the word go. I was already visualizing what Madhu would look like, how do I get her angst on the screen. For me, it has always been this way – the look of the character is as important as how much I’m pouring into the character. Because for anyone, it’s visual arts at the end of the day. The moment audiences see Madhu, there is a vibe that I wanted them to get. And hence I wanted to have curly hair, I wanted to have this very lean sunken face. It was my input for the role and they agreed to it. 

So, they’re a family of three – mother and two daughters. They grow up in a very secluded environment for reasons that will unravel through the show. She’s the oldest sister. So, she takes on the burden of the mother, the younger sister, the financial stress and everything that goes on in the house. She tries to handle it and might not handle it the best way, but that’s Madhu.

In her world, everything that she did was for the right reason. She is like a strict older sister, quite radical in her behavior and all of that. So, I enjoyed playing it. It was a very dark, very very dark character to play and that’s something like literally eating the best biryani. Like you would like to just be into it. So, if I had to give an analogy, every time I was in the character of Madhu, I felt like I was enjoying a nice meal. I had a list of songs that I loved listening to, not every day though. Once in a while I listened to these songs to get into Madhu’s mood and to have that flavor. 

You do a negative role, a mainstream role and a song. There’s so much happening with you. Do you have a strategy? Do you have a goal as in this is how you want to be perceived or is it just about good roles coming your way?

As an actor, yes, there is a certain way I’ve always wanted to be perceived and that has been the case since day one. I have always wanted to be versatile. I don’t want to play only one certain role or one type of character. I want my character to have multiple layers. The best part of this whole thing was when the trailer of Rocket Boys (2022) was released. And simultaneously, the special number ‘Saana Kastam’ from Acharya had also been released. 

So I had the Rocket Boys (2022) trailer on one side and I had myself doing every other thing on the other side and that was the beauty of it for me. I was able to do this and that and stand my own ground. That’s exactly how I want it to be. I want to be able to do a Nenjam Marappathillai (2021) and I also want to do a Party (2020).

 

What about social media comments, do you read them or do you ignore them?

I read them once in a while. I do not read it always, like “oh what did they say about this picture”. I read it for entertainment’s sake. I mean if it’s something good, I will take it in and I’m very grateful. If it’s something negative, I will just be like, okay whatever, I don’t care. I think I’ve just grown up to rub things off my shoulder very easily, I won’t even remember. I am very happy to take it out of my memory. I have a very selective memory. It does not help when you have to remember birthdays and all. But yes, I don’t care about those comments.

Like I said, I’ve grown up doing the job and I feel now, after maybe 17 years of my work, that experience has led me to know and decipher what needs to be taken in and what needs to be shoved. People don’t affect me as much anymore. 

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