Malayali audience remembers Meera Jasmine as the girl next door who would charm with her innocent smile. Even though she had taken a break from movies, the talented actress is making a comeback through the movie, ‘Makal’ directed by Sathyan Anthikad. She says she doesn’t have any qualms playing the mother of a teenage girl. In a candid chat, Meera opens up about her latest movie and about her love for travelling.
The audience hasn’t seen you for quite some time now. Where were you?
I was busy in my own world. I am mostly in Dubai; besides, I have been travelling in Europe and Australia too.
Did this break give you enough time to travel?
Yes, I really like travelling. I have been able to enjoy travelling, especially in the last few years. Besides, I was busy running my business too. It was these trips that taught me responsibility and freedom in an amazing way.
Weren’t you able to travel a lot when you did the movies?
Yes; but there is a difference. In the movies, there are lots of people to take care of us. We don’t even have to carry our own bags. We never worried about our tickets or accommodation. Cinema pampers us a lot. But, now, I have moved into a different reality. I learned how to do everything on my own. I am, in fact, a bit prouder about it.
Did you miss cinema?
I had lots of fond memories to cherish as I had been in the movies for quite a long time. Moreover, I have always been noticing the new movies. However, when new and interesting things happen in our life, we tend to concentrate more on them. I was able to make new friends. There are some friends who came to know that I was an actress, quite later in our friendship. That is one of the advantages of living in a foreign country. We could develop a personality other than being an actress.
Moreover, I was able to do a lot of things I had missed in life. I learned how to live without depending too much on others. This would only sharpen our skills. From cooking to managing the finances, I can do everything on my own now.
Your entry made social media go crazy. What do you think about the comments about how you look more beautiful and youthful?
I am really happy. I wasn’t quite active on ocial media. However, now, I notice everything. I thought about starting an Instagram account while I was acting in ‘Makal’. It was fun. It is almost like you have suddenly gained a huge family. I can instantly feel the audience’s love.
Did you prepare before making a comeback into the movies, especially in the way you look?
No. I have been enjoying a healthy lifestyle since some time. I follow a proper diet and work out regularly. Moreover, I try to stay away from negativity. Instead, I focus only on things that give me happiness.
During the lockdown period, I used to work out inside my house. A combination of yoga and pilates is my favourite form of workout. It focuses on the wellness of the mind and body. On the days when we are dull, going out for a stroll can bring a huge change. We would look and feel beautiful if we take care our physical and mental health.
You are making a comeback through ‘Makal’ directed by Sathyan Anthikad. Aren’t you worried about your image, playing the mother of a teenage girl?
I didn’t feel scared and worried as it was Sathyan uncle who called me. He is a filmmaker who I respect and like a lot. He takes care of everyone in his set, just like his family members. I am safe and comfortable there.
Sathyan uncle told me an incident when he narrated the story of ‘Achuvinte Amma’ to Urvashi chechi. When he told her she had to act as my mother, Urvashi chechi said that she was ready to act even as Sukumari chechi’s mother if Sathyan uncle was directing the movie. It is a unique kind of trust. So, I wasn’t worried about my image. In fact, my character Julie has become my favourite.
The video of your first day on the sets had become quite viral. You were jumping with happiness. It was evident that the ‘old’ Meera was still inside you.
I was really nervous. I told Sathyan uncle that I won’t act on the first day, but just observe everything. However, he began the filming with my scene. Even though I was tensed, most of the people on the sets were familiar faces. The song ‘Entu Paranjalum Nee Entethalle Vave’ was played to welcome me into the set. I was so happy that I jumped with excitement.
I was really happy and thrilled as I acted in ‘Makal’. I would sit near Sathyan uncle and Jayaram chettan just to listen to their old stories from the sets. It is moments like that I miss the most.
Can you speak about ‘Makal’?
This is the story of a teenage girl and her parents. There is humour in this movie. There are elements of surprise too. The most magical thing about Sathyan uncle’s movies is that they are closely related to the lives of those who watch them. Each of us would feel that it is our own story. Besides, there was a team of newcomers including Sathyan uncle’s son. New generation stars like Naslen and Devika too are part of the cast. Devika who acts as my daughter and I had become close friends in real life too. Many people told us that we look like sisters rather than mother and daughter.
Did you recall your teenage days while acting as a teenage daughter’s mother?
No, I didn’t have to recall those days as I have always been a teenager inside.
Sathyan Anthikad said that you had become more mature in character and in the way you act. Did you deliberately bring that change?
An actor shapes herself from the experiences in their life. Besides, cinema too became more realistic than before. I have noticed this change while acting. There was no dubbing in this movie. Sathyan uncle moved to sink sound from ‘Njan Prakashan’ onwards. Recording the sound on the sets is a big advantage for an actor. Even a breath that we draw would influence our performance. So, we would try to be less dramatic. Sathyan uncle called me after the editing was completed. He told me that two of his favourite scenes in which I had acted were from ‘Makal’.
Can we hope to see you regularly in the movies?
Cinema is always a part of my life. It is a job that I enjoy the most. I remembered that I had taken a break only when you called it a comeback. I will always be here wishing to be part of good movies.