Actress Maya Vishwanath had ruled the television screens until a few years ago, playing some incredible characters. She shined on the big screen too, essaying pivotal roles in super hit movies like ‘Sadanandante Samayam’, ‘Thanmathra’ and ‘Anandabhadram’. Meanwhile, she proved her mettle as a talented actress essaying a powerful character in Premkumar CV directorial ‘Aalroopangal’ in which Nandu played the lead role. Maya who had taken a sabbatical is all set to return to the entertainment industry. Recently, the actress’ pictures from a photoshoot had become viral on social media. Everyone was impressed by her timeless beauty and infectious energy. Maya, who has immersed herself in the wonderful world of books and nature, vows that acting is her passion. In a candid chat with Manorama Online Maya Vishwanath opens up about her dream role and her life so far.
Why did you take a break from movies and serials?
I have not been in the limelight for the last seven years. However, there aren’t any reasons for that. The truth is that no one offered me any roles. Now, I am coming back through ‘Aaraattu’ in which Mohanlal plays the lead role. Besides, I have signed three more films. I haven’t quit acting. I have been in this industry for more than two and a half decades. So, everyone knows that this is my career. For every success, you would have a low-point too.
I think it is alright to have a rough patch as it helps us realise the true nature of many people. Moreover, it could bring changes in our attitude and mental state as well. I am someone who takes everything on a positive note. Meanwhile, I had done a serial called ‘Suryakanthi’; but it got stalled midway during the pandemic outbreak. Most of the artists were from outside Kerala. It was difficult for them to travel amid the lockdown restrictions. This is the situation at most TV channels now. Most serial artists do not speak Malayalam. I have no idea about many things that is happening around as I am not an active user of social media.
Did you attend sessions at a slimming centre to trim down?
I underwent a treatment regime at a naturopathy centre. In 2014, I had acted in a movie called ‘Aalroopangal’. It was actor Nandu who called me when another artist had backed out. I played the female lead opposite him. It was based on a real story. I had hoped that ‘Aalroopangal’ would be successful. However, it didn’t get noticed much. Now, people are calling me to appreciate after watching the movie on Youtube during the lockdown period.
My character in that movie didn’t use any makeup. She wore simple blouse and lungi. I wasn’t too heavy at that time. The director said that I should put some weight to make the character look realistic. After that film, I gained a lot of weight. I looked heavier on screen than I actually was. It was actress Lena who told me about the naturopathy centre. Cameraman Azhagappan’s wife Uma took me there. I did juice diet, massage therapy and mud therapy there. I worked out at the gym, went for walks and played badminton too. The centre is run by nuns and Sr Sudeepa who is also a doctor manages the treatment. Sathi aunty was the masseuse there. After a few days, Sathi aunty told me that I need not stay there anymore as my weight got reduced significantly. My weight kept dropping even after returning from the centre. Then people began telling me that I looked too slim and that I shouldn’t lose weight anymore. I soon became size zero. People could recognise me only when they heard me speak or laugh. The treatment at that centre was really effective. I had recently attended a seven-day treatment session. Their treatment is natural and healthy; it rejuvenates our mind and body.
What about the latest makeover pictures?
I haven’t done any makeover. Neither do I regularly do photoshoots. This is how I look now. I was dressed up to attend my cousin Nithin’s wedding at Guruvayur. Wedding Bells Photography based in Ernakulam was there to click the wedding pictures. They liked my outfit and asked me to pose for a few pictures. However, I wasn’t interested. I agreed after my cousin insisted. Photographer Clinton had clicked those candid photos. Meanwhile, Viji, Rohini and Raji of Fair Saloon in Kannammoola decked me up for the photoshoot in which I wear black outfit. It was my nephew who shared those pictures on the social media. Lots of friends called me and asked whether they were old pictures. They said I look young and energetic in those photos. I don’t feel that I am getting older. I am my greatest motivator. I don’t think my mind grows old. So, it doesn’t affect my body too.
Why aren’t you seen on the social media?
I do not have a Facebook account. But, there are lots of fake accounts in my name. I prefer communicating with people directly. I am not active on social media; neither have I given any interviews until now. No one is going to gain anything by knowing about what is happening in my life. What is the use of sharing my life story if it cannot motivate others? My nephew started an Instagram account for me and posted the photoshoot pictures. Lots of people are calling to appreciate me after seeing those pictures.
I live at Jagathy in Thiruvananthapuram with my parents and my nephew. My sister is married and settled abroad. She has two sons. My pet dog came to our house during the 2018 deluge. The dog is really attached to me. Everyday lots of crows, sparrows, eagle and many more birds come to our house for food. Feeding them has been my greatest hobby lately.
My father and my maternal grandmother are my role models. Since I value my family greatly, it wasn’t difficult spending my time with them. We were really joyful during the lockdown period. I made friends with animals, birds and nature. Besides, I really enjoyed reading books sitting in my balcony.
What is your favourite character that you have done so far?
I would say that my best character is yet to come. I hope that the most amazing character in my career comes my way soon. Meanwhile, in serials, I had done lots of good roles. Janaki in ‘Kayamkulam Kochunni’, Heeramma in ‘Amma’ and the police officer in ‘Manasa Myna’ are some of my favourites. It is true that I haven’t done any significant roles in the movies. I have been in this industry for the last 26 years doing small and big roles. So, I truly believe that my most splendid role comes soon.
Who are your greatest motivators in life?
It indeed is Mohanlal. His behaviour to others is worth emulating. I have told him that I have great love, respect and admiration for him. From super stars to small artists, he behaves the same with everyone. If he couldn’t pick up our call, he would definitely return the call later and apologise. He is not just an amazing actor but a great human being too.
I have great respect for SN Swami sir too. My cousin Nithin, Jayasree, her husband Vijayan, SN Swami sir, Giri sir, actor Nandu and his wife Kavitha, Lalettan’s makeup man Liju, producer Suresh Kumar and his wife Menaka are some of the people who had supported me a lot in these seven years. I cannot forget my friend Rajeesh who had headed a television channel. My brother-in-law Ani too had helped me. I am grateful to Seema G Nair and Hari chettan for all their support. All of them have come into my life as a divine presence.
What are your new projects?
I have just completed ‘Aaraattu’. I did a small role in that mass movie that boasts of a stellar star cast. Mohanlal has delivered a splendid performance in ‘Aaraattu’. We shot at a picturesque countryside in Palakkad. All of us were in a fun mood as if we were there to enjoy a vacation. Besides, I am also doing a web series called ‘Aroopi’. Nandu who was the editor of ‘Oru Kuprasidha Payyan’ has written and directed it. The first episode of the web series is already out. The discussions of another movie are underway. I cannot reveal more details about it. I am sure that my best time will come soon.