Actress Miya was born and brought up in the small town of Pala in Kottayam and even when she became the leading lady on the silver screen, she didn’t leave her beloved home town.
Miya confesses that she is a quintessential Pala girl even when she continues her winning streak in Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu cinema. The actress talks to Onmanorama about her latest movie ‘Ente Mezhuthiri Athazhangal’ and her experiences as an actress.
What is Ente Mezhuthiri Athazhangal about?
This movie is a poetic love story. My character Anjaly is a candle designer. I came to know that there is such a profession only when I heard the script of the movie. Anjaly is a strong character who has her own opinions and stands. It was Anoop Menon who narrated the story to me. No one has narrated a story as beautifully as he did. I committed the movie as soon as heard it.
Why don’t you move to Kochi even after becoming so busy in the movies?
I am a quintessential Pala native. I don’t think those traits would ever leave me. I like to be in constant contact with the place. People usually ask why I am not moving to Kochi as it would be easier for me. It would take only two hours from Pala to reach Kochi. I chose to stay in Pala as I don’t find the travel very difficult.
Didn’t your family and relatives oppose your passion for cinema?
I came into this profession playing the role of Mother Mary in the TV serial Alfonsamma. I did that serial after completing my tenth standard. I acted in a religious serial and that too as Mother Mary. May be because of their devotion to St Alphonsa no one opposed it. It wouldn’t have been the same had it been a different role. I have heard a lot of people saying that they had to face oppositions when they first came into movies. However, I had no such experiences.
You started in serials and then did supporting roles in the movies before donning the lead characters. Do you think this development had worked in your favour?
I started my career in TV serials. In my first movie I played the role of the hero’s sister. I was offered the lead roles only after doing a few more supporting roles. I still do character roles and I think it was good that I didn’t suddenly make an entry into the movies as the lead heroine.
I got enough time to learn. I learned a lot from the serials and from the small roles that I did. The confidence that I gathered by playing all these characters really helped.
Had I begun my career as a lead actress, then I may have freaked out seeing the camera for the first time and made things worse. So I see this kind of a progression as a positive factor in my career.
What is your take on actresses becoming glamorous in films?
It depends on the comfort level of each individual. The dressing style in north India is totally different from what we have here. The kind of clothes they may be comfortable in may not work for us. I am not usually comfortable wearing extremely glamorous outfits or short dresses.
We become happy and satisfied only when we do things that are comfortable for us. I am not at all interested in trying out things that don’t make me happy.
Are women safe in cinema?
Women’s safety is not something that has to be analyzed based only on a particular profession. Many issues are being raised these days. Women are safe neither at their homes nor in public spaces.
I intend to perceive and address this issue as a problem faced by women everywhere and not particularly in relation to Malayalam cinema. Those who commit crimes on women must be punished, no matter who the culprit is.
What do you have to say about the new women’s organization in Malayalam cinema?
I really don’t know what to say about it. I have been a member of AMMA for the last 4 years. I took the membership after my film ‘Vishudhan’ released. I became a member as per the rules of that association. I have no idea what are the formats of other organizations. No one forms an association to create problems. It's aim would definitely be something good. I think it should continue to survive if it benefits everyone.
What do you have to say to about moral and social restrictions on women wishing to pursue an acting career?
I only have one thing to say to those who don’t allow women to pursue a career in movies thinking that it is unsafe – just accompany them to a location to see and understand things for yourself.
If you are still not happy then it is fine. But do not restrict a woman just because you have some misconception.
Is there male dominance in cinema?
Men are comparatively more in number in cinema. They are involved in all the aspects of film making. So naturally there would be male dominance. However, personally I don’t feel that someone has tried to oppress me because I am a woman. Cinema as an art is being marketed by foregrounding the male hero’s name. Many films are released in the hero’s name itself.