Vidyullekha Raman a.k.a. Vidyu, who makes her acting debut in Tamil-Telugu bilingual romantic-drama 'Neethaane En Ponvasantham' (NEP), credits her experience in theater for her becoming a film actor.
"It's because of my association with several theater groups over the years that the actor inside me was brought forth. Through theater, I learnt the art of improvisation, and it's through this skill that I managed to land a meaty role in NEP," Vidyu told IANS.
She has been part of theater groups such as Landing Stage, Madras Players, and Evam, among others.
Asked how theater helped her as an actress, she said: "In theatre, there are no cuts or second take. If one messes up on stage, then he or she should also know how to save the scene. In essence, theater gives an artist the strength and confidence to execute everything at one go because one is under the assumption that there are no retakes," she added.
Vidyu plays Samantha's best friend in the film, and is paired opposite Tamil comedian Santhanam. She adds that her role is not that of a sidekick to the heroine.
"Though I'm playing the heroine's best friend in the film, I consider my role as important as that of Samantha's. I don't come and disappear in one scene. Santhanam and I are seen throughout the film alongside the lead actors," she said.
Vidyu, a visual communication graduate, also played the same role in the Telugu version of the film titled 'Yeto Vellipoindi Manasu', and she dubbed in her own voice.
How did you manage to dub without even knowing a single word of Telugu?
"I considered it my biggest challenges while working on the film. Gautham Vasudev Menon (director) convinced me to play the role in Telugu as well and for which I had to learn the language with Telugu theater artists. But, I'm extremely happy because I feel I've done two films at the end of it," Vidya said.
Both versions of the film are releasing worldwide Dec 14. While Jiiva and Samantha Ruth Prabhu are cast in the Tamil version of the film, Telugu actor Nani replaces Jiiva in the Telugu version.
How was it working with Gautham?
"He knows how to extract the best out of his actors without being tough. He doesn't mind how I do it, but he is more focused about the final output. Most importantly, he knows how to strike a perfect balance between overplaying and underplaying," she added.
Asked how she would define NEP, Vidyu said: "It's the kind of love story you'll find in your own life. One can easily relate with the scenes and characters because they're lifelike, and don't appear to be made for the screen."
She considers veteran actress-comedian Manorama, commonly known as Aachi, as her inspiration.
"Aachi is my inspiration in life because she was not only a comedian, but an actress with conviction. Though I don't consider myself as talented as her, I hope to make it as big as her in the industry someday," Vidyu said.