In a conversation with DTNext, the very candid Janani Iyer opens up on her upcoming films, the self-laid boundaries that restrict her career choices, having a curfew at the age of 30, and who she’d love to break that for
Janani, who made an award-winning debut with Bala’s critically acclaimed Avan Ivan, says, “Honestly, I don’t get many good offers. Of those that come my way, I pick them based on my instinct.
I’m still learning how to gauge a script.
There have been times when I’ve said no to certain films and they’ve gone on to do extremely well. But, I don’t do regrets and I’m content playing by my own rules.” An outsider, wouldn’t she have liked to have a mentor? “When you have someone looking after you, you tend to lean on them. I prefer to fall and get up on my own. That way, bouquets or brickbats, I won’t have to point fingers at others,” muses Janani.
The actress, who’s also made a mark in the Malayalam film industry in films starring acclaimed names like Mohanlal and Prithviraj, has largely played girlnextdoor characters and has maintained a safe distance from glamorous roles.
Was that a conscious decision?
“Yes. I’d never do something that would make the audience cringe.” But doesn’t that limit her chances as an artiste? What if something like a Dirty Picture came her way? “I still wouldn’t. I don’t buy the argument that you need to do glamour to reach the top. Of course, it could be an easier choice. But I’d rather wait for something like a Piku or Queen,” reasons Janani, 30, who’s also been a successful model.
As opposed to her career graph that has four Tamil films in seven years yet, including the critically and commercially successful Thegidi, the actress has as many as three Tamil films lined up for release in the next few months. There’s Balloon with Jai and Anjali. “It’s a horror thriller. Jai plays three roles and I’m paired with the one set in 1980s. I’ve donned a simple pavadai sattai look in the film. Although a small role, it’s pivotal to the film’s plot and instrumental in taking the movie forward,” explains Janani. She will also be seen in Ulta, a dark comedy. “It’s like Final Destination gone funny. There are two shades to my character split across the first and second half of the film,” says Janani adding, “I’ve also shot for Tholikatchi with Ashwin Kakumanu.
It’s a proper village-based comedy film. My character Malar is very relatable.” When she is not shooting, Janani prefers to travel with her close group of friends. “Constantly being in the spotlight and doing the same thing over and over again can get a little claustrophobic at times. So, I try and go on quick getaways. Otherwise, I sit and binge watch sitcoms. See, I’m very low maintenance you know,” lets out Janani.
While we’ve bumped into quite a few of her contemporaries very often at parties, Janani is never to be seen. “I live with my parents and I have a curfew. So, I need to get back home once the shoot wraps up. However, I’m not a big fan of parties even otherwise. I find them too noisy and at a certain level, pointless.
I’d rather prefer to have a conversation with people over coffee,” says Janani.
Her personal life too has been closely guarded. “I’m fiercely protective about it. As celebrities, more often than not, we’re put in a situation where our professional lives take precedence over the personal. I want to cherish that space for myself and not bring it out into the spotlight,” adds Janani. Is she dating someone? “What did I just says now?” she finishes with a laugh.
Who from the film industry would you like to take on a date and why?
Kamal Haasan sir. I think he’s the most charming man ever. And I wish I were a little older or he a little younger. And I wouldn’t mind breaking my curfew to have a conversation with him.
Biggest turn on: Honesty
One thing about you that everyone would be shocked to find out: I’ve never had a one-night stand
The weirdest habit you have: Chewing my nails The film you’ve seen more than five times: Michael Madana Kama Rajan
Something you’d change about yourself: Laziness.
But I’ve never been late to the sets
Biggest fear: Losing trust in people