In this interview with TNM, Andrea talks about 'Vishwaroopam 2', her love for music, and what the future holds.

I dont think Ive ever played a conventional heroine Andrea Jeremiah to TNM
Flix Interview Saturday, August 04, 2018 - 12:20

Andrea Jeremiah is somewhat similar to her character Althea in Taramani - she’s unapologetic, has clear priorities and speaks her mind. “I’ve been travelling back-to-back and promoting Vishwaroopam 2. The past few weeks, of course, had been quite strenuous,” she says. It’s not something she’s complaining about. On course of the conversation, Andrea tells us that she'd like to do a lighthearted rom-com someday and adds that Tamil cinema has undergone a sea change, with good scripts that have women as the protagonists, coming up.

Excerpts from a conversation follow: 

Pachchaikili Muthucharam happened in 2007. You’ve been here almost for a decade. 

I never took my film career seriously until I did Vishwaroopam. I’ve seen ups and downs in life -- but so far, it has been a wholesome journey. 

Are you a planner when it comes to films?

I am mostly driven by my instincts, but we all make choices to do certain kinds of films. Even as a beginner, I did different films. Be it Pachchaikili Muthucharam or Aayirathil Oruvan. I don’t think I've ever played a conventional heroine. Maybe, I always attract such projects. I am glad that Tamil directors are convinced that I can take on meaty roles. 

You got to share screen space with Kamal Haasan pretty early in your career. How important is the film to you? 

Vishwaroopam, on the whole, is something special because of the content. I didn’t see it as two separate films. I cherish the overall experience of being a part of it. In particular, I enjoyed wearing the army uniform. We camped at the Officers Training Academy (OTA) - the only institution that trains the lady army officers in India. 

I wasn’t even aware of its existence being a Chennaiite. (sigh). I got to perform some interesting drills and exercises along with those officers. Also, I’d say Vishwaroopam was the best thing that happened to me.

I am sure you must have learned a lot from Kamal Haasan. 

Absolutely. Vishwaroopam is the biggest film I’ve done thus far -- for someone who didn’t want to become an actor. I was more focused on music. But life always doesn’t happen according to the way one wants it to. The great thing about Kamal Haasan is that he teaches you professionalism and etiquette. After working with him, I’ve set high standards for myself. 

Have you ever felt nervous? 

Not at all. I am generally not intimidated by people. Because I don’t come from a film background. My parents weren’t movie buffs. Of course, I know who Kamal Haasan is. But I’ve never watched many films of his. In a way, it’s good not to be intimidated by someone you work with. (smiles) 

Can we see you behind the camera someday? 

Every day is a new day, and when people ask me questions about my future, I tell them I don’t know. I am not arrogant to assume and tell you where I want to be and what I’ll be doing in ten years from now. Your priorities change as your life changes. As your priorities change, what you want to do also changes drastically. I don’t know if I’d be in front of the camera or have children. I could also be in an ashram. (smiles) Anything may happen. 

Even before you were an actor, your priority was music. Has it taken a backseat now? 

Music is more close to my heart. I enjoy singing and love being on the stage. I do it for my happiness and well-being. It’s not the same as acting. It is stressful! Working for 12 hours a day is not an easy job. Whereas, singing is an intimate experience. I don’t have to depend on my director, cameramen, and co-stars. I’ve sung in Vishwaroopam 2 and also in Vetrimaaran’s upcoming production Annanukku Jai.

On what basis do you choose your scripts?

I think ‘choose’ has a negative connotation. I’d rather use ‘select’. I’d love to do films that I am not embarrassed to be in. I prefer to work with people who make me comfortable on the sets. But you do different films for different reasons. I did Taramani because I knew I was being offered something different. I can’t say I enjoyed the experience because it took a lot out of me. But the film was challenging. 

Tell us about your upcoming venture, Vada Chennai

The beauty of the film is that it showed me a part of myself -- I never knew existed. In the process, I discovered how much of a Tamil ponnu I am. It was a huge honour to work with both Vetrimaaran and Dhanush. They’re super-talented and hardworking. 

Why do you think people call you a ‘non-commercial actor’? 

‘Non-commercial’ is the wrong word and I’d prefer ‘unconventional’. What’s commercial, you tell me? Anything that makes money -- is. So, most of my movies have made money and I am a commercial actor. 

Vishwaroop was your Hindi debut. Why didn’t you do many films in the North?

I grew up in Chennai, and I am more comfortable here. Hindi is a different ball game altogether. I am not saying I’d never do Hindi films. I can speak the language, but not as fluently as Tamil. That’s the reason why I don’t do films in Malayalam though I love their scripts. Truth be told, Hindi is also doable, but Malayalam is just impossible! But cinema is more about emotions and expressions. There are dialogues, too. I can’t play a mute person in every film and get away with it. 

You’ve Kaa in the pipeline where you play a wildlife photographer.

I’d rather not talk about it because I haven’t started the shooting yet. 

Do you regret doing films like Aranmanai and Idhu Namba Aalu, which didn’t do well at the box-office? 

Aranmanai was a hit film, and I don’t understand why you fail to acknowledge the fact. It made pot loads of money. Sundar C made Aranmanai 2 because part 1 was successful. No director does a sequel to a flop venture. As for Idhu Namba Aalu, I played an extended cameo, and I wasn’t the heroine. Maybe, when you meet Nayanthara, you can ask her why the film failed.