When working in a Mani Ratnam movie, actor Trisha Krishnan says screen time is not a concern as the ace filmmaker presents all his characters in an ”impactful” manner. Trisha first worked with Ratnam on 2004’s acclaimed movie ”Aayutha Ezhuthu”. The duo has reunited for the magnum opus ”Ponniyin Selvan-I”, in which she essays the role of Chola princess Kundavai.
Previous period dramas such as SS Rajamouli’s ”Baahubali” movies and ”RRR” as well as the ”KGF” series were criticised for the lack of screen time for women characters.
For Trisha, the depth of her character matters more than the length of her role.
”I know how impactful and powerful the characters are. Screen time is not a problem. More than the screen time, your scenes and what you do in a film needs to have power and impact. And if you can do that, you’re pretty much a winner. Your character is a winner,” the 39-year-old actor told PTI in an interview.
The lavishly mounted historical drama ”Ponniyin Selvan-I” boasts of a star-studded cast including Chiyaan Vikram, Karthi, Jayam Ravi and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
But Trisha, known for Tamil and Telugu hits such as ”Varsham”, ”Ghilli”, ”Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa” and ”96”, said she had full faith in Ratnam’s vision.
”I know what I’ve done and I’ve seen the rushes during the dubbing. And I know the way Mani sir visualised Kundavai. ”With screen space and screen time, you never know the final output. Only Mani sir knows but I’m very confident that whatever I’ve done is very impactful,” she added.
It’s always a dream of an actor to work with Ratnam, said Trisha.
”It was a dream 20 years ago and even today, every actor wants to do another film with him,” she added.
What makes the award-winning director stand out, the actor said, is that he makes an artist ”look different”.
”You would’ve never seen yourself in such a way in any other film. And there’s an aura about him, which the entire Indian cinema believes in and knows. So who wouldn’t want to be part of that,” she said.
Based on author Kalki Krishnamurthy’s 1955 Tamil novel of the same name, ”Ponniyin Selvan” tells the story of the early days of Arulmozhivarman, one of the most powerful kings in the south who went on to become the great Chola emperor Rajaraja Chola I in the 10th century.
For the actor, the film was special for more than one reason. It is also Trisha’s first historical project, a genre that she wanted to try her hand at for a long time.
”I’ve been in the industry for 20 years now but I’ve never done this genre. So definitely it’s very important to me. As an actor, you’re always looking for something different. ”Even for your fans because after many years in the industry, you want to try and do something different for them as well. So this was a very important film for me because I’ve never been part of a historical drama. There’s a first time for everything,” she added.
Trisha is one of the top actors in south cinema and like her contemporaries, she also stepped out from her comfort zone to do a Hindi movie — Priyadarshan’s satirical comedy ”Khatta Meetha” (2010), opposite Akshay Kumar.
”Khatta Meetha” remains the only Hindi project in her career, which started with a supporting role in the 1999 Tamil film ”Jodi”.
In today’s time and age, the actor believes ”cinema is global”.
”Everyone watches everything, whether it is subtitled or dubbed. ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ feels like an original Hindi film because that’s how much care they’ve taken with the lyrics, songs, dialogues, everything.
”I’m very open to any form of cinema. As an artist, I think we should be. Otherwise you’re restricting yourself. I’m open to good scripts. So, language, I genuinely feel, is no barrier,” she said.
”Ponniyin Selvan – I”, is backed by Ratnam’s production house Madras Talkies and Allirajah Subaskaran’s banner Lyca Productions, is set to be released countrywide on Friday in Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam.
Music maestro AR Rahman has provided the music with cinematography by Ravi Varman.