Not only was her starring role in “Aruvi” wholeheartedly accepted, but it also changed her life forever. For Aditi Balan, her film career that started as a gentle stream quickly turned into an ocean of opportunity. It didn’t take long for this law graduate, Bharatanatyam dancer and football fanatic to embrace cinema with open arms. She makes her second foray into Malayalam in Nivin Pauly’s ‘Padavettu’, due out this week. Aditi, who has her roots in Kerala, talks about movies, language barriers and more.
Making his way through Malayalam cinema
I heard the story in 2019 and agreed to be part of the film. It was while I was in Pondicherry as part of a theater workshop that the team approached me for the film. They approached me after seeing my Tamil film and had no idea of my Malayali roots. I have always loved acting in Malayalam cinema. “Cold Case” came in between. Since these were the films of Prithviraj and Nivin Pauly, I didn’t have to think twice before accepting them.
Padavettu talks about different politics and takes place in Kannur. Since the character had to speak in Kannur slang, I couldn’t dub for my character and that’s something I really regret. I really want to do voice acting for Malayalam in a film. Although I speak Malayalam, Tamil continues to seep out. My family is from Mavelikkara. Although my father is a Tamilian, he lived in Mavelikkara. Both of my parents moved first to Bangalore and then to Chennai for their jobs. We are now settled in Chennai.
Although ‘Aruvi’ is a huge hit, how come you’ve made less films in the last 5 years?
I never came here with the desperate intention of doing a signing spree. Also, I didn’t have any film training either. My grandfather Mavelikkara Veeramani Bhagavathar was a music/drama artist. I have no connection with the cinema. I got ‘Aruvi’ through auditions. After watching the movie, Mr. Rajnikant called me at home. And I made it a point to take my parents with me to share the absolute thrill of meeting the superstar.
After ‘Aruvi’ I was mostly approached for the same kind of stories. It was a task to choose the best from this lot. I wanted to make a comedy film. But somehow I was only approached for serious roles. So we can say that it took me a while to understand all that.
Currently, how do you choose the films?
When someone approaches me with a script, I read it carefully. I don’t really look at my character alone. And I don’t really care how long my role is too. But I’m very particular about my character’s contribution to this film.
I would like to play various roles. In real life, I’m a comedian. But I have a serious image in the cinema. Now I played in three languages.
I have made two anthology films in Tamil which will be released on Ott. The shooting of my Malayalam movie with Sunny Wayne is over. I made a Telugu movie called ‘Shakunthalam’ in which Samantha plays the lead role. This movie will be dubbed in Malayalam and other languages.