Swathy Nithyanand became a household name after essaying the role of Haritha in the super hit television serial 'Bramanam' aired on Mazhavil Manorama. The actress shocked everyone when she tied the knot with cameraman Prathesh Nenmara, in an intimate ceremony, during the lockdown.
The couple had been dating since the last two and half years and they decided to take their relationship to the next level. Swathy and Prathesh, however, became the target of online trolls when their wedding pictures were surfaced online.
In an exclusive interview, the pretty actress opens up about her career and marriage and also about the trolls.
TV audience is thrilled that Haritha of Bramanam got married. Tell us more about your marriage to Prathesh Nenmara.
We have been friends for the last two and half years. It was on the sets of Bramanam that we met each other and became friends. Our friendship soon blossomed into love. Prathesh is a straight forward and silent person. I may have been attracted to these qualities. I am someone who expresses sadness, happiness and anger very impulsively. I had a great time working in Bramanam. It was I who called him on the phone for the first time. These phone calls brought us closer and we soon became friends and then lovers. I wouldn’t say our relationship was ‘love at first sight’. We didn’t celebrate our courtship period as both of us work in the same industry. Besides, we never got time for it.
What was your family’s reaction when they learned about the relationship?
I was a final year degree student then. Usually, I don't use mobile phone much. But, my parents had their doubts when they noticed me using mobile phone even while I was preparing for my exams. By that time, we had been in a relationship for six months. Then I openly told my parents about the relationship and expressed my wish to marry Prathesh. In the beginning they didn’t take it seriously. But, I faced some problems when they realized that we were serious about it. My mobile phone was seized; I wasn’t allowed to go outside either. Naturally, any parent would react like this. But, all these news spread like wild fire and was turned into nasty gossip. I was allowed to continue acting after I promised that I wouldn’t pursue the relationship anymore. But it was when we faced all these problems that I and Prathesh realized the strength of our love for each other.
Why did you decide to get married during the lockdown period?
We had been in a relationship for the last two and half years. We had already decided to get married in May, even before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown. It was delayed this long because we didn’t have the blessings of my family. We had no idea what to do when the lockdown was announced. We weren’t sure about how long we would have to wait until everything gets back to normal. Now, it seems everyone has to live with coronavirus and we thought there is no point in waiting. That is why we decided to get married in a simple ceremony. We had no intention to avoid or ignore anyone on purpose.
Wasn't marriage during the lockdown a unique experience? What do you have to say about it?
We couldn’t have had an elaborately planned wedding even if it wasn’t the lockdown phase. We knew that our wedding would send shock waves. So, both of us were mentally prepared for such a hasty wedding. But we are sad that we couldn’t inform our closest friends as it was lockdown. Even though there weren’t any elaborate ceremonies, I was upset that we couldn’t have all those special rituals which involve all our dear ones. However, I don’t think about it anymore. I am happy and satisfied that we are married now.
Did you ever dream of a simple wedding ceremony like this?
Absolutely; but the wedding in my dreams wasn’t as simple as our real wedding. I never dreamed of having elaborate wedding festivities that lasts for days and never imagined myself as a bride wearing truckloads of gold ornaments. I wished for a simple temple ceremony in the presence of our parents, close relative and friends as well. But, I am not too sad that it didn’t happen. It was just a wish.
What was your parents’ response?
We were really upset getting married against my parents’ wishes. But, after the wedding, Prathesh and his family spoke to my parents and clarified things. After that, small reception was held at my house in Bharathannur in Thiruvananthapuram and at Prathesh’s house as well. We met all our close relatives and sought their blessings. Now, both families are cordial and everyone is happy.
Do you enjoy the transition from Thriuvananathapuram to Palakkad?
I am proud to say that I am Anatapuri’s daughter. Palakkad is one place that I always wished to visit since my childhood. I am happy that marriage brought me to Palakkad. I am a simple girl who grew up in a village. Prathesh’s place in Nenmara at Palakkad too is like that. So, I feel as if I have just gone next door. Besides Prathesh’s parents, his elder brother and sister-in-law live in the house. I was already friendly with all of them. So, I don’t feel like I am living in a different house. The only thing is that I miss my parents and my house. But, Prathesh’s parents make sure that I am comfortable and happy. So, I am not the daughter-in-law but the daughter of Palakkad.
You told that you and Prathesh were friends in the beginning. Do you still enjoy that friendship?
Yes we do. The friendship between us has always been quite special. Prathesh’s genuine persona is the main reason for that. He speaks openly only to people who are close to him. But do not think that he is too silent. We talk to each other a lot. It is true that ours is not like a typical love relationship or marriage. We have the freedom to openly speak to each other’s face. I wouldn’t hesitate to speak up if don’t like something. It is the same with Prathesh as well. We believe in equality and mutual respect. So, we enjoy our special friendship even after marriage.
What attracted you to Prathesh?
It is his genuine nature that attracted me the most. He is extremely straight forward about everything. In the serial industry, people tend to compete with each other and form cliques for the sake of landing more offers and opportunities. I have seen many such people in my career of four years. But Prathesh is different from all those people. He has an experience of around two decades in this industry. He definitely shows the maturity of that experience. He would never destroy the career of anyone else for selfish purposes.
Do you miss traveling together or the customary treats at relatives’ house due to the lockdown?
I am not someone who is interested in traveling. Neither do I travel a lot. Usually, all the newly wedded couples plan a honeymoon. But, we haven’t even thought about it. Prathesh has never told me that we could travel to some destination; even I haven’t spoken about it. For me, being together is what matters. I want someone who stays with me and holds me closer until death. I am happy that I found someone who wishes the same. Besides, as I hail from Thiruvananthapuram and him from Palakkad, every month we enjoy at least two long drives. Those journeys are sweeter than any honeymoon trip. After marriage, we entered a world where there were just the both of us. We stayed at our flat in Ernakulam for three days after the wedding. We really enjoyed that privacy. Moreover, we are aware about the current situation and do not wish to violate the lockdown norms by goings for trips.
What are your new projects and future plans?
I have shot the pilot for a new project for Mazhavil Manorama. I hope the filming begins soon. I am not accepting too many offers as I have decided to work only in one serial at a time. But you cannot say that I have taken a break from the industry. After Bramanam, I was active with many shows. I am interesting in pursuing the acting career; at the same time I wish to continue my studies as well. After that, I wish a transition to the traditional family life.
You were targeted by online trolls especially after the wedding. How do you react to such gossips and trolls?
I have been a target of trolls and unwarranted gossips just because I married the person who I love. My husband and family too have fallen prey to such gossips. The cyber attack, mostly done through Facebook, should be addressed. Some point out that Prathesh doesn’t smile in the photos; while some others accuse him of being a drug addict.
He works behind the camera while I perform in front of it. How can you say that both of us should smile or behave the same way while clicking pictures? Besides, many people comment that he is short, thin and dark. I just have one question to these people. Why do you care if I am alright about it? I didn’t care about his job, looks or family’s background when I fell in love with him. I was drawn to his genuine character and the way he behaved with me. I am happy and satisfied about it.
I noticed that some even wrote distasteful comments below a picture in which Prathesh is holding his sister’s daughter. There were gossips that Prathesh is married with two kids. When I posted my wedding pictures, some were eager to write that they would applaud when we get divorced. I am disappointed and sad that I live among Keralites who think like this. These people should realize that such comments cause pain and distress to lots of people. One should at least have the decency to not use such obnoxious words. Those who always find faults would continue doing that. All I have to say is that it would never affect our lives.