Actor-singer Andrea Jeremiah, who is back on the big screen after more than a year, speaks about her film 'Taramani' that hits the screens today. She also speaks on being very choosy about her scripts, what she hates about the film industry, and gender pay-parity in films.
The excitement in Andrea’s voice when she speaks about her upcoming film Taramani is palpable, for the film that had been languishing in post-production for a long time, is finally hitting the screens. Talking about being part of the film whose teaser was quite well received, she says, "Taramani is an unforgettable experience, both because of the character I played as well as the unique treatment Ram sir gives his films. I think Taramani will definitely provoke a strong reaction from the audience. My role of Althea in the film is stronger than my roles of Lavanya Chandramouli and Ashmita from Aayirathil Oruvan and Vishwaroopam, respectively, put together."
The actress, who has been in the industry for a decade now, has been extremely picky about her roles. Her filmography of a little over 20 films is testimony to that. "Honestly, there are days when I hate the way the industry works. I wish talent was synonymous with success, but for some reason, it seldom is. But then again, I am a reluctant actor, I am not aggressive about looking for work. I do the films that come to me. Off late, I have had some really nice films fall into my lap. I’m happy about it," she says candidly.
Andrea, who dabbles in acting and singing, says that she is extremely comfortable in doing both. "People seem to forget that many yesteryear stars were actor-singers. MS Subbalakshmi is a classic example. Suddenly this industry has become a place where most actresses can’t even dub their own lines," she rues.
Post Taramani, Andrea will be seen in Mysskin’s Thupparivaalan alongside Vishal, Prasanna and Vinay Rai. While everyone terms Mysskin a tough taskmaster, the actress says, "Mysskin is crazy and equally lovable. He writes very quirky roles, but the best part is that he knows exactly what he wants and gets the best from his actors. Vishal and I shot for some action sequences in tough locations, but the end product was totally worth it. It’s going to be Mysskin’s most stylish film."
Apart from that, she will also be seen in a Hindi-Tamil bilingual titled, The House Next Door, with Siddharth. However, it is Vada Chennai, that has been the most-awaited among her films. While she doesn’t reveal much about her role, she is reportedly playing a rustic character from North Chennai in the film. "Vada Chennai means a lot to me. It is Vetrimaaran’s dream project, and I’m very grateful for that fact that despite several changes in the cast, he has been steadfast about having me for this particular role, and I consider it a privilege to be working with such a fine film-maker," she muses.
The actress also played a cameo in Balaji Mohan’s web series As I’m Suffering From Kaadhal and reveals that she was apparently approached to play one of the leads. "But he was unable to cast a suitable guy opposite me, so we decided that it is best if I just do a cameo instead. I’m thrilled that his web series was so successful and I really hope this breaks the stereotype that successful actors must only stick to the big screen," she says.
While a few of her contemporaries have been experimenting with women-centric films in recent times, Andrea hasn’t so far entered that territory. "People approach me for female-centric films all the time, but then they expect me to work for a smaller salary. Their reason being there is 'no market' for female-centric films. Then why do they want to make a female-centric film in the first place? Why is it that a girl who is just eye-candy in a big hero film gets a fat pay cheque, but when an actress who carries the film on her shoulders, should settle for much lesser? These are questions all female actors must start asking, and hopefully it will encourage our producers and directors to change their mindset. Actresses in Hollywood and Bollywood have been raising their voice on this issue and have been somewhat successful in bringing about changes. It’s about time we did the same in Kollywood," she signs off.
iFlicks wishes Andrea grand success ahead in all her upcoming endeavors.