Ansiba Hassan who enthralled the Malayali audience, playing superstar Mohanlal’s daughter in the blockbuster movie Drishyam had hardly imagined that she would end up in the movies. A simple girl who grew up in the beautiful hamlet of Kallai in Kozhikode, Ansiba confesses she hasn’t deliberately tried to become an actor. However, like all things in life, movies too had come quite unexpectedly for the youngster.
In a candid interview to Malayala Manorama Ansiba opens up about her life after Drishyam and also her future plans.
How did the girl who never wished to become an actress end up in the movies?
I was born and brought up in a quaint village in Kozhikode. It was a reality show that paved the way for me into the movies. Acting wasn’t even in my distant dreams. It was my younger brother who watched the advertisement of the reality show in television and told my mother. My mother liked for me to act in movies. So, my mother had sent my pictures to the makers of the show. I was shocked when I got the invitation.
I had never imagined that I would become an actress. Some people would train to become an actor from childhood itself. From dance training to theater practices, they begin preparation from a young age. However, I came into the movies without any such training or preparation. Director Rosshan Andrews was the judge of that reality show. I was selected into the final ten and I won the title of the most popular actress. From then onwards I began thinking that I could act. After that, I received offers to play minor characters in a few movies. But nothing was good enough to get noticed. It was in Drishyam that I finally got a good role.
How was your experience working with a screen icon in Drishyam?
Jeethu sir had invited me into Drishyam saying that they were looking for a girl who sports a simple and traditional look. He had seen a picture of mine in which I was wearing a traditional outfit. But, when I met him he understood that I looked nothing like in the photograph. So, he asked me to act a portion. It was the scene in which Varun threatens me. I performed just as I was instructed.
I didn’t think that I would be selected. The costumes were designed by Jeethu sir’s wife Linta. She tried a few costumes on me and did the makeup like in the movie. Even then they didn’t tell me whether I was selected.
After all the trials, when I said goodbye, with an air of dejection, someone called me from behind. It was Jeethu sir and he asked me to give my measurements for the costumes. I was surprised. Sir then told me that I was selected and that I should leave only after giving the measurements. It really was a moment of surprise for me.
I was selected just two days before the filming began. Lots of girls had auditioned for the role before me. The fact that I had to share screen space with Mohanlal and Meena astonished me. The thought that I had to act alongside Mohanlal, who is loved my millions, shocked me. But, I calmed down after the filming began and could meet everyone.
Everyone was very friendly on the sets. Soon, all of us became close like a family. For me, acting with such senior artists was like a training session. I could watch and learn and improve a lot of things.
What about Mohanlal, the legendary star?
It was the first time that I was seeing Mohanlal. I would always watch him whenever I am on sets. I would act my portions and after that I would keep observing him. It was a rare opportunity to watch Mohanlal every day. Those who watch shooting may feel bored seeing the same scene being taken again and again. But, I never got bored watching Mohanlal. You can’t get bored watching him act. He doesn’t act but behaves in front of the camera. There wouldn’t be anything in it even to edit out.
The man who had been speaking to you until then would instantly transform into character. Those who imitate Lalettan can only emulate his physical movements; but they can never be Mohanlal. The way he acts is a natural process. I am only a beginner and am no one to comment on his acting prowess. From the light boy to the big stars, he behaves the same with everyone. We can learn lessons in acting and humility from him.
How was acting with Meena?
Meena chechi is a simple human being who doesn’t have the airs of a star. She was a superstar and had essayed countless roles. But she is very simple. She would sit with us when she is not filming. She is very childish. The way she speaks Malayalam is very cute. So, we would only speak Malayalam to her. It is indeed a privilege and honor to act alongside actors like Mohanlal and Meena.
All the characters in Drishyam were noticed. Did you get good offers after that?
No, I didn’t get too many offers after Drishyam. I was in fact confused after I did Drishyam. Until then, I used to do whatever roles that came my way. So, I wished to do roles that are better or as good as the one in Drishyam. But, it didn’t happen. Whatever roles I did after that didn’t give me any satisfaction. So, I returned to my studies.
I came into the movies by breaking my graduate course midway. I then completed BSc visual communication. I love to tell stories. I used to narrate film stories to my classmates. Later, I began writing stories and screenplays. I wish to direct one of them into a movie. Meanwhile, I had directed a short film called ‘A Life Story’. Pauly aunty and Kalabhavan Prajod had acted in that. That short film received great responses.
How do you feel doing Drishyam again?
Jeethu sir had called me when I had decided to quit movies. He told me that he was taking Drishyam 2 and that I should reprise the same role. For me, it was exciting news. The sequel to Drishyam is a much awaited one. Coming to the sets was like returning to my own family. Most of the crew members who had worked in the first part are there in the sequel as well. I was very happy to see all of them. We welcomed each actor into the sets with applauds and hurrahs. The sequel is a continuation from where the first part ended. This one too is a family movie. Now, Georgekutty has better living conditions. You should wait for the movie to know the rest.
How do you think this sequel would change your life?
I can’t say anything now. Everything in my life has happened unexpectedly. I never expected to become an actress; but I became one. Then I thought I would become a big star. However, that didn’t happen. I had initially enrolled for BA English course. But, I dropped it and later joined for BSc visual communication. I didn’t think I could write or direct a movie. But, I directed a short film. So, everything happens unexpectedly and I would like to leave the rest to fate.
Movie stars are often the victims of cyber bullying. What do you think about it?
My family, relatives and the people of my hometown are very supportive. All of them are happy and proud that I could become part of a movie that holds the record for the highest gross collection in Malayalam cinema. Lots of unsavory comments and videos appear on the social media. I think most female artists often go through this. There is no point in paying heed to such things. You would find lots of such videos in Youtube.
You would be shocked to see the headings and the thumbnails that appear on those videos. These are people who wouldn’t leave even the political leaders or superstars. So, what can you say if they pass opinions about a small actress like me? I don’t usually take all these seriously. They would keep saying for some time and then move on to the next issue. There is hardly anyone who hasn’t been a victim of cyber bullying. Even homemakers who do not go out of their houses aren’t spared. Can you say that people should only say good things about you? Our lives are short, so try to live happily by thinking positively. My policy is that you shouldn’t hurt anyone even if you don’t do any good.
There was news that you got married?
I too have seen it. I have only read about my wedding. It would be amazing if someone could tell me who I am married to. Some of my friends called me and asked whether I had actually tied the knot. I know I have to get married; my family has begun looking for a groom. But I am yet to say yes. I am a very romantic person. I like to travel a lot. So it would be wonderful if my prospective groom too is like that.
I have lots of members in my family. In fact, I grew up in a joint family. I would like to get married to someone who hails from a large family. Moreover, I am an artist and that person should be able to understand and support my career. Besides, he must be aware about the society and the current issues. We can’t delve deep into someone. It indeed is fortunate to get someone who perfectly suits us. I hope that whatever happens would be for the best.