Not only was her titular role in ‘Aruvi’ accepted wholeheartedly, but it also changed her life forever. For Aditi Balan, her film career which started as a gentle rivulet soon transitioned into an ocean of opportunities. It didn’t take much time for this law graduate, Bharatanatyam dancer and football enthusiast to embrace cinema with open arms. She is making her second foray into Malayalam in Nivin Pauly’s ‘Padavettu’ which is all set to release this week. Aditi who has her roots in Kerala talks about films, language barriers, and much more.
Finding your way into Malayalam cinema
I heard the story in 2019 and agreed to be part of the film. It was while I was in Puducherry as part of a theatre workshop that the team approached me for the film. They approached me after seeing my Tamil film and had no idea about my Malayali roots. I was always keen on acting in Malayalam cinema. 'Cold Case' came in between. Since it was Prithviraj and Nivin Pauly’s films, I didn’t have to think twice before accepting them.
Padavettu talks about different politics and is set in Kannur. Since the character was required to speak in Kannur slang, I couldn’t dub for my character and that’s one thing I really regret. I really want to dub for Malayalam in one film. Though I speak Malayalam, Tamil keeps trickling in. My family is from Mavelikkara. Though my dad is a Tamilian, he used to live in Mavelikkara. Both my parents first shifted to Bangalore and then to Chennai for their jobs. Now we are settled in Chennai.
Despite ‘Aruvi’ being a huge hit, how come you did fewer films in the last 5 years?
I never came here with the desperate intention of going on a signing spree. Also, I didn’t have a film background too. My grandad Mavelikkara Veeramani Bhagavathar was a music/drama artist. I have no connection with cinema. I got 'Aruvi' through auditions. After watching the film, Rajnikant sir called me home. And I made it a point to take my parents with me to share the absolute thrill of meeting the superstar.
Post 'Aruvi' I was mostly approached for the same kind of stories. It was a task to pick the best from that lot. I wanted to do a comedy film. But somehow I was only approached for serious roles. So you can say that I took a while to figure all that out.
Currently, how are you picking films?
When someone approaches me with a script, I thoroughly read it. I don’t really look at my character alone. And I am not really bothered about the length of my role too. But then I am very particular about my character’s contribution to that film.
I would love to do varied roles. In real life, I am a comedian. But I have a serious image in cinema. Now I have acted in three languages.
I did two anthology films in Tamil which will be released on Ott. The shoot of my Malayalam film co-starring Sunny Wayne is over. I did a Telugu film called ‘Shakunthalam’ in which Samantha is doing the title role. This film will be dubbed in Malayalam and other languages.