Stronger than ever

Stronger than ever
Actor Iniya made an impression with her very first Tamil film, Vaagai Sooda Vaa, which not only won a National Award but also gained critical acclaim. This Malayalam actor, who has since then become an integral part of the Tamil film industry as well, now has a horror film titled Pottu in Tamil coming up for release. In Malayalam, she has Aakasha Mittayi, the remake of director Samudrakani’s superhit film Appa, waiting for release. Apart from this, she is also working on two Tamil and one Malayalam films.

Of late, Iniya has been busy as she has not only been concentrating on her films but has also been learning mixed martial arts and kalarippayattu.

In an exclusive interview, Iniya opens up on a number of topics, including her upcoming films, stardom and more. Edited excerpts follow...

Could you tell us about your film ‘Pottu’, which has a huge star cast including Bharath, Namitha, Srushti Dange, Manisha Yadav and Nirosha?

I play the title role in Pottu, which is primarily a horror film. It is a full-fledged performance-oriented character around which the entire story has been built. The character, whose full name is Pottamma, is central to the plot. The story basically has two parts: one part is a flashback, and the other deals with the present-day scenario. The film gives a lot of details about spirituality and evil powers. It also has action, romance and comedy. So, one can call this film a mixture of all the elements. There are several horror movies out there in the world, but this one will be different as it also has some nice songs and fantastic background music, all thanks to music director Amresh Ganesh. He has done a great job and I would say his work is the backbone of this film.

What was the biggest challenge you faced while working on this film?
Actually, horror films are very demanding. You need to expend a lot of energy while playing these roles. You need to be loud and vocal, and expressions need to be broad. That apart, you need to perform a lot of stunts. In fact, there is one fight sequence in this film where I float over water and push someone into the water. I did all those stunts by myself by tying a rope around my body with the help of stunt masters. These risky stunts required a lot of effort and were also very painful. Though I didn’t feel any pain while doing these stunts, it hurt me the next day.

How was it working with director Vadivudaiyaan and actor Bharath in this film?
Vadivudaiyaan is someone who goes by the book. He is a director who demands exactly what he has penned in his script. Bharath is a very dedicated artiste and I find it extremely comfortable working with him. He is a good friend of mine with whom I had worked on a song sequence in Kathai Thiraikathai Vasanam Iyyakkam. My performance shines only through Bharath’s character in this film. He has done a wonderful job and I need to thank him for taking this character to the next level. On the whole, this was a very nice team to work with.

Tell us about ‘Akasha Mittayi’.
The film, which is the Malayalam remake of the Tamil superhit Appa, is being directed by Samudrakani sir. I am paired with actor Jayaram in this film and it’s a homely character. The film is ready to hit the screens. Apart from Akasha Mittayi, I have a Telugu film, Leela, also awaiting release.

You seem to have lost a lot of weight...
I have been attending mixed martial arts classes in Chennai and kalari classes in Kerala for almost a month now. I have also been playing a lot of badminton. Already, several people have told me that the difference is showing in my body.

But why the sudden interest in martial arts?
Well, the problems in the industry induce an element of fear. You see, we cannot seek the protection of parents or bodyguards or drivers and assistants always. Moreover, I was attending mixed martial arts classes right when I was in school. I was doing it as a means of maintaining physical fitness, to increase my confidence levels and to protect myself.

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