Speaking to ManoramaOnline in an interview, actor Kavya Madhavan, who once ruled the roost in Malayalam films as the leading lady, opened up about her comeback after a brief hiatus, her experiences with the film industry and her personal life.
Kavya entered films as a child artist, at the age of five, in director Kamal’s “Pookkalam Varavayi” (1991). She says that this happened solely because of her father’s desire. The latter saw the director’s ad in “Malayala Manorama” asking children to audition for a role in his film and decided to send Kavya’s photograph.
Her mother, who got married at seventeen, was not in favour at all of Kavya working in the film industry. She wanted her daughter to get her degree and get married soon after. Kavya says that her mother was intensely uncomfortable with the idea of her becoming a heroine but that gradually, she let go and allowed it to happen.
Young Kavya’s talent was apparent to everyone and she quickly signed many films as a child artist. With the song “Vennila chandana kinnam” from “Azhakiya Ravanan”(1996), she became a household name.
Her first film as heroine was with Dileep and the two of them became a hit pair who went on to sign over twenty films together. Her most recent film, “Pinneyum”, was also with Dileep.
Speaking on the male-dominant film industry, Kavya says that most scripts are hero-oriented and that actors like Mammooty, Mohanlal, Kamal, Rajinikanth, and Amitabh Bachchan have managed to retain their stardom over so many decades because of their hard work and dedication.
She believes that it isn’t easy to stay at the top and that she doesn’t have a problem with the attention that male stars get, seeing it as simply “reality” – as far as she’s concerned, she’s never felt any disrespect directed towards her because of her gender.
Kavya recalls being made fun of for her deep voice. Once, someone told her that since Mammooty was too busy to dub his voice, she could do it for him! Kavya felt very upset hearing this and cried to her mother. The latter consoled the young girl and said that she ought to feel proud because Mammooty has a grand voice!
Calling herself an adaptable person, Kavya says she’s ready to take on new films and experiment with roles. “Bahubali” is among the many films which she has watched and wished she’d had an opportunity to be part of.
Kavya’s marriage and subsequent divorce with Kuwait-based Nishal Chandra was a much publicized affair. Though Kavya did not speak of this directly in the interview, she did say that her family and close friends have been a pillar of support to her through tough times. She added that cinema gave her the courage to cope with many things in life, having played many roles and interacted with different kinds of people.
Kavya expressed her admiration towards late actor Sugumari, who had played a number of versatile roles and who Kavya says, was an extremely independent person: “She wouldn’t even let me carry a bag for her!”
Kavya believes that if not for films, she’d have been a homemaker with 2-3 children, leading a comfortable life, as she never had the desire to work for a living!
Speaking of her stardom, Kavya acknowledged that she has got everything in life because of the love that people shower on her and that she will always be grateful for it.
All this and more in this interview: