Nothing limits a soul that is set on fire. For Asha Sharath, her passion for dance, performance arts and social activities took her career to the next phase in her early forties. Keralites can never forget their very own Professor Jayanthi of 'Kumkumappoovu,' a hit TV serial, Geetha IPS of blockbuster movie 'Drisyam' or Suma of 'Anuraga Karikkin Vellam'. Now, as her latest movie 'Thelivu' directed by MA Nishad is returning to the theaters through a re-release, Asha Sharath opens up to Onmanorama about her life, passions and career.
What is your character in 'Thelivu'?
The name of my character in 'Thelivu' is Gouri. I am sure you would have come across women like Gouri in your daily life. She is a single mother. Gouri lives alone with her daughter in an isle in Kerala's Alappuzha district. Gouri is a daily wage coir-spinning labourer. The movie discusses certain burning contemporary issues of today's society. Gouri is a very strong and assertive character.
Every role I have played differs from one another in its characterization and the bond shared with their children. Gouri is a very affectionate mother. I could relate very well with Gouri because I have a very friendly relationship with my two daughters. We are more like three friends living under a roof. Gouri's daughter, Paru, is quite like my own daughters. Gouri puts Paru to sleep the way I used to lull my daughters to sleep.
I have played a lot of mother roles. Gouri stands apart for one reason: Gouri never separates her daughter from her. Paru accompanies Gouri to her workplace, helps her with spinning the coir and talks with her all through the movie.
Who is the biggest critic in your life?
My daughters are my biggest critics. They are old enough to distinguish between my real self and the characters I play. Still, when I interact very closely with child actors who act as my children in movies, they get a little jealous. We met Prajwal Prasad, the boy who acted as my son in the movie 'Varsham' in a shopping mall in Dubai. I didn't notice him. He called me “Amma” and came running to me. He embraced me tightly and spoke as if he was really my son. My two daughters were really disturbed by that incident. (Laughs.)
What hooked you the most in 'Thelivu'?
This movie speaks about the drawbacks of single parenting. There are a lot of single mothers in our society, who are forced to raise their children all alone because they were widowed or separated from their partners for various reasons. I think that children need the love and attention of both the parents all along their life. We know many single mothers who work so hard to bridge the gap of a father in the family. No matter how they try to play the roles of both the parents, children will somehow sense the absence of their father and long for his love. This is the core idea behind 'Thelivu.'
Gouri's daughter Paru would perhaps never had a glance at her father. Yet, she longs for a father's love. Paru searches for her father in every crowd. Along with that, the movie also discusses the issues faced by a woman who lives alone. Child abuses, improper physical advances at women etc are some other social issues discussed in this movie.
What is your take on single parenting? What is your message for single mothers in our society?
A woman needs the support of her family however strong and independent she is. Gouri is a single mother, although two men pass through her life. Fortunately, I have got a very supportive family. I got married at 18. I have spent my life more with Sharath than alone. I wish all women to get a supportive husband and family like I have. It is a blessing to be able to fulfil your dreams without hurting your family. Sharath always tells me that I should not limit my talent just because I got married to him.
Which of your characters do you relate with the most?
I don't commit many movies. I do only one movie at a time because I have many roles to play in my real life, as a mother, a wife, a sister and a daughter. I am settled in Dubai. So I am very selective about the characters I play. I make sure that each character I play differs in some ways with the characters I have already done. In my case, I try to relate with a character when I listen to the script itself. I get too much involved in the emotional engagements of that character that it may haunt me for a short while after I finish the movie schedule.
Geetha IPS of the movie 'Drisyam' is such a character. The thoughts and mindset of Geetha would haunt me whenever I went to bed. I have acted as Geetha in many versions of the movie 'Drisyam.' Suma of 'Anuraga karikkin vellam' is also such a character which stays close to my heart.
What are your future plans other than acting and classical dance?
I don't plan too much about future. Still, I luckily became a member of World Kerala Forum four years ago. With that, I have started being socially active. I wish I can take both the passions forward with equal importance.