The young actor says she is in real life, the opposite of all the mature characters she has played on screen.

From Thondimuthalum debut to Kerala State Award The Nimisha Sajayan interviewNimisha Sajayan/ Lebison Gopi /
Flix Interview Friday, March 01, 2019 - 18:09
Written by  Cris

One and a half years ago, when Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum had just come out and those who loved it hailed the new heroine, it came as a surprise that the actor was a 21-year-old Malayali from Mumbai. She seemed to be so much of an Alappuzha Malayali, and so very mature playing the wife opposite Suraj and alongside Fahadh, two actors known for their powerful performances. It’s only when you talk to her that you realise how Nimisha Sajayan contradicts this image you have of her in real life. 

“I have absolutely no maturity, chechi,” says the now 22-year-old winner of the recently announced Best Actor (female) Kerala State Award.  She immediately warms up to people, easily calling them chetta and chechi – she is pretty sure that she is going to be the younger one around. 

“I wouldn’t accept characters that are like me, bubbly and not mature. I am so much the opposite that I was shocked to see myself play the mature Sreeja in Thondimuthalum. It’s all the director’s work – Dileeshettan in this case,” she tells TNM.

For two days, her phone has continuously been ringing and she has answered pretty much everything there is to answer, she says, about the award. “There’s no desire to add anything special, I am not someone with a lot of desires, chechi,” she says, laughing.

When the two movies that brought her the award – Madhupal’s Oru Kuprasidha Payyan and Sanal Kumar Sasidharan’s Chola – came to her, Nimisha didn’t need longer than a moment to say yes to both of them. “I have always wanted to work with independent filmmakers – I am talking about Sanal chettan. Madhu chettan approached me after Thondimuthalum, but it was my third film. To do my third film with such a director as Madhu chettan was big. And I loved the character,” she says.

Nimisha with Madhupal

She plays Hannah in the film, a young and nervous lawyer taking up a difficult case reluctantly. She is to bring justice to the character Tovino Thomas plays in the film, a young and hapless labourer, falsely accused in a murder case, with no one to turn to. Like Nimisha, young Hannah too is taking up a challenge too big for her early years, and like Nimisha, she works hard for it. Nimisha may not want to see herself on screen, but she might have been able to relate to Hannah who has a big responsibility on her young shoulders. It is also the first film the actor dubbed for herself. 

Read: 'Oru Kuprasidha Payyan' review: Tovino and Nimisha shine in well-made thriller

“It was not at all easy but Madhu chettan would come at 7 am and patiently help me with the words," she says.

Chola is the other extreme of all the mature characters Nimisha has played. In Chola she turns into a schoolgirl called Janu, going to class VIII.

 “Like in Oru Kuprasidha Payyan, the most challenging part was when I had to cry (apart from acting opposite an actor like Venu achan – Nedumudi Venu). I had to sob like a schoolgirl. The first two days were hard when Sanal chettan had to scold me for getting it wrong. He needs perfection,” Nimisha says. It was shot in sync sound and so Nimisha’s now familiar voice will again be heard on the screen.

Nimisha with the 'Chola' team

She is next doing a film by Lal Jose – a socially relevant theme, she says, which is about Kannur politics. Didn’t she just do that for Eeda, her second film, we ask. 

Read: 'Eeda' Review: A brilliantly executed film on star-crossed lovers

“But it is two different perspectives when it is two different directors. It is two kinds of politics,” says the young woman. 

Nimisha’s own politics was visible when she spoke in favour of women entering Sabarimala. But she has not spoken much about the exchange happening in her own field of work – between the members of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes and the Women in Cinema Collective. 

“There are opinions (of the WCC) that I support and there are those I don’t agree with. We can’t politicise everything, can we?” she asks. She is just here to act in some good movies, but isn’t it ‘adipoli’ to be politically aware as well, Nimisha asks. 

Also read: 'Kanthan' is on the social disregard towards tribal people: Director Shareef to TNM