Tamil films are too youth-centric, says Nadhiya.

Married women with kids are desirable too why not cast them in lead roles Asks actor Nadhiya
Features Cinema Wednesday, October 05, 2016 - 17:39

Actor Nadhiya Moidu’s new bilingual film “Thiraiku Varadha Kadhai” is expected to release later this month. The film, directed by Thulaseedas, has no male characters at all and is a unique effort in film-making. “Snegithiye”, which came out in 2000, had only female characters in the lead roles but the entire cast was not female.

“Thiraiku Varadha Kadhai” also features actors Iniya, Kovai Sarala, Sabitha Anand, and Aarthi among others.

The News Minute caught up with Nadhiya for a chat on “Thiraiku Varadha Kadhai”, her perspectives on how the film industry and audiences have changed over the years, and more. Excerpts from the interview below:

Tell us about “Thiraiku Varadha Kadhai” and your role in it?

Nadhiya: The film has no male actors at all. It’s a suspense thriller. There are four girls, film students, who stumble upon something and this leads to a chain of events. I can’t reveal much but I will be playing a cop who investigates the case. I’ve done the role of a police officer in Malayalam and Telugu but this is the first time I’ve done it in a Tamil film.

When I heard the story from Thulaseedas, it sounded interesting and new. There are no men even in the background of scenes that we’ve shot!

As someone who has seen the Tamil film industry from the inside since the 80s, do you feel things have changed, especially for women actors?

Nadhiya: The industry treats women well but it is male-oriented and very youth-centric. I wish people would make films of different genres and for different audiences. I live in Mumbai now and watch so many Hindi films that cater to a wide range of audiences. I feel that the Tamil cinema audience too has evolved and is ready to watch such films. Malayalam cinema has explored other themes but I feel Tamil films are largely made for young people. Of course, producers need to make money at the end of the day and the film needs to do well but I do think the time has come to experiment.

Actor Samantha recently said that there are very few good roles for women in the South Indian film industries. Would you agree?

Nadhiya: I come from a different era where actors like me and my contemporaries, Suhaasini, Radikaa and Revathi, got meaningful roles. We were lucky that way. Somewhere down the line, the glamour quotient went up and films have become very particular about the packaging. The heroine’s role is very often just eye candy.

But having said that, one can always choose to wait for the right role. Back then, I did only fifty odd films which is not really much. I took a sabbatical for fifteen years also because I didn’t want to do every film that came my way. The choice is ours.

Do you feel the industry is ageist towards women? We see senior male actors acting with very young heroines while their female contemporaries are playing their age on screen.

Nadhiya: Unfortunately, there is this assumption that a woman who is married and has kids cannot look desirable. This is not true at all. I think middle age is a very interesting phase for women as well as men. I wish films would explore this age too and not focus on the very young always. It’s a shame that heroes are paired with women who are young enough to be their daughters – it does not look right to me but that’s the formula. And sadly if the formula didn’t work, they wouldn’t be making these kind of films. I think women actors in the industry accept their age and are more secure about their appearance than are the men. We learn to age gracefully.


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