Sai Pallavi opens up about 'Karu', playing a mother so early on in her career, and the love she received from the Tamil audience for 'Premam'.

I wanted to enter Tamil cinema with a sensible film Sai Pallavi interview on Karu
Flix Interview Wednesday, March 07, 2018 - 16:32

In 2015, she won our hearts as Malar teacher in the Malayalam coming-of-age drama Premam. Last year, as the fiery, independent Bhanumati in Telugu romantic drama Fidaa, a Sekhar Kammula film, she proved she’s no one film wonder with her applause-worthy performance.

As she gets ready for the release of her first Tamil film Karu, a psychological thriller that explores the relationship between a mother and her unborn child, we caught up with Sai Pallavi to talk about her long wait to foray into Tamil filmdom, working with director AL Vijay and her rise to stardom in such a quick span of time.

On Karu and playing a mother

Sai Pallavi is no stranger to Tamil audiences. Nevertheless, she’s a bundle of nerves as she awaits the release of Karu, which launches her career in Kollywood.

“The overwhelming love Tamil audiences gave Premam will always remain special. This love has come with a lot of responsibility too. For all the times I’ve been asked why the delay to foray into Tamil filmdom, the answer would be Karu. I wanted to enter Tamil cinema with a sensible film,” Pallavi says.

In the film, Pallavi absolutely had no qualms about playing a mother so early on in her career.

“Honestly, I don’t know what kind of roles one should do at what stage in their respective career. When I choose a script, I ensure that I get to contribute to the film in some way and in turn grow as an actor in the process. When I read the script of Karu, there was a spark within and I instantly connected with the story. I was emotionally attached to the story. After we finished shooting, I was so attached to the kid who played my daughter, I wanted to adopt her. That’s how strong my emotional attachment was with the role and the story," she says.

Karu touches upon the pro-life and pro-choice debate. A doctor by profession, she said she didn’t accept the offer to make a point.

“I don’t have such complicated thoughts while signing a project. I was so moved by the script when I read it, I couldn’t think of a better debut," she says.

On working with director AL Vijay

Pallavi says she can’t take full credit for her acting.

“I’m not a trained actor. I surrender to my directors and they make me act. I also believe God acts through me. If audiences loved me as Bhanumati in Fidaa, I can’t take full credit because my director Sekhar Kammula worked really hard to present me as a Telangana girl. In the case of Karu, I placed my faith in Vijay Sir and he knew what exactly he wanted from me,” she says.

Pallavi was supposed to make her Tamil debut with Mani Ratnam’s Kaatru Veliyidai. For reasons unknown, she opted out of the film and was eventually replaced by Aditi Rao Hydari. Did the long wait to do a Tamil film make her restless?

“I believe if something is meant to happen, nobody can do anything about it. When I was part of the dance reality show Ungalil Yaar Adutha Prabhudeva, I was flooded with film offers. I was in school then and I wanted to take up films just as an excuse to miss classes, especially Math. My parents asked me what I will do after 5-6 years when offers stop coming, and I didn’t have an answer. That’s when I realised I needed to continue my education and I did Medicine because I was genuinely interested, and not because my parents forced me. Had I taken up acting back then, I don’t know where I’d be today in the industry. I’m not new to the waiting phase. I believe if something is taking time to happen, it’s meant to be that way,” she explains.

Despite her delayed Kollywood debut, Pallavi managed to bag two Tamil biggies recently. She currently has Suriya’s NGK and Dhanush’s Maari 2 in her kitty. 

“As long as I act, I want to be part of projects that help me discover myself in some way. I don’t want to repeat characters as I enjoy being someone else in front of the camera,” she says, remaining tight-lipped about her role in both the projects.

With two blockbusters Fidaa and MCA to her credit in 2017, Pallavi says she’s not someone who lets box-office numbers worry her.

“I never think about the box-office numbers. In my mind, when I take up a project I tell myself that I should live up to the full potential of my character,” she says. Pallavi’s next release will be Karu, which has been dubbed in Telugu as Kanam. The film also stars Naga Shaurya and child artist Veronica.

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