Malavika Mohanan hit it big with her performance in Majid Majidi’s 2017 film, Beyond the Clouds. She was also part of the ensemble cast in Karthik Subbaraj’s Petta, starring Rajinikanth in the lead. Here, she talks about taking on trolls, working in regional films and how she prepares for her roles.
You recently took on the trolls who criticised you for an Instagram selfie in revealing clothes. How important is it to react to such trolls?
It is fun to give it back once in a while. The moment you put up a hot picture, there is backlash from a set of people who feel you should wear a sari or dress in traditional outfits. But one has to stand up and ask them to shut up. It is my life and I am going to wear what I want to wear.
You have worked in movies in all four south Indian languages and one in Hindi. How difficult is it to do movies in different languages?
The system works differently in the film industries of the south and the Hindi film industry. Unlike in Hindi films, where you mostly get the full script, in the south, they may only give you a part of it. In Petta, for example, I got [the script for] my scenes only and not a bound one for the whole film.
How do you prepare for your roles?
It changes from one character to another. Some roles require preparation, some do not. For my upcoming film in Telugu (with Vijay Devarakonda), for example, I am learning to play the piano. Then, I will have to learn the language because I do not speak Telugu. Even for Petta, I had to learn Tamil.
What has been the most difficult role so far?
It was my role in the Malayalam movie, Nalle (opposite Fahadh Faasil). The film never released because of issues between the producers. But I played a tribal girl in it and it is a role for which I worked the hardest. I had to learn basic things like how to walk and how to stand. I have a very urban body language. So, there had to be a lot of preparation. It is really unfortunate that the film did not release.