Carving her own niche

Carving her own niche

Varalaxmi Sarathkumar has followed in her father’s footsteps and has been slowly, but steadily climbing the ladder to fame as an actress, writes C V Aravind

Her father Sarathkumar entered the film industry as a producer, later went on don the villain’s garb before finding his niche as a successful hero in Tamil cinema. Varalaxmi Sarathkumar has followed in her father’s footsteps and has been slowly, but steadily climbing the ladder to fame as an actress.

Varu, as she is known in the industry, has done her Masters in Business Administration from the University of Edinburgh and has picked up the nuances of acting from actor Anupam Kher’s Acting School in Mumbai. The tall, good looking actor thereafter began to scout for roles in Tamil cinema and the first offer that came her way was Poda Podi directed by Vignesh Sivan where her co-star was Silambarasan alias Simbu.

A trained dancer, Varalaxmi was in seventh heaven when she was signed for the role as the character earmarked for her was that of a Latin American dancer based in London. With Simbu cast as a local lad fiercely loyal to his roots, the film depicted a clash of cultures. The highlight of the film was the dance sequences and with Simbu having earned a name for his energetic dancing skills, Varalaxmi had to be at her best to match steps with him. But as luck would have it, the film took an inordinate length of time to reach the theatres and this was heartbreaking for the debutant.

Poda Podi, however, clicked with the audience, especially with the younger lot, and served as a launch pad for the talented actor. The next film that she signed was the Sundar C directed Madha Gatha Raaja opposite Vishal, but the film has not yet seen the light of day and has been lying in the cans for several years now with tentative dates continuing to be fixed for its release.

Fine performance

Director Bala, who is known to be extremely particular about his casting, offered her the lead role in the film Thaarai Thappattai opposite Sasikumar, the actor director whose Subramanyapuram was hailed as a trendsetter in Tamil cinema. It was an extremely taxing role, that of a Karakaatam (folk) dancer. Varalaxmi had to not only shed a few kilos to suit the role but also master the extremely difficult and fast steps of the dance form. Bala has always demanded cent percent from his actors and Varalaxmi did not disappoint him one bit.

Plum roles

Varalaxmi had her hopes pinned on the Ilaya Dhalapathi Vijay starrer Sarkar directed by ace director A R Murugadoss and the success of the film at the box office has enabled her to further cement her place in the industry. Meanwhile, she has also signed up for the multi-starrer Neeya -2 alongside two other heroines, Rai Laxmi and Catherine Tressa with actor Jai in the main lead. The film, touted as a sequel to the film Neeya released well over four decades ago, and will feature Varalaxmi as a snake that turns into a woman to extract revenge. In Sandakozhi 2 a sequel to Sandakozhi Varalaxmi was cast as an antagonist crossing swords with the hero, Vishal, but the film failed to live up to the expectations of the audience as it was hardly a patch on the prequel. Actor-director Dhanush has cast her in Maari 2 and here too she has landed a plum role.

Multilingual star

The second film that Varalaxmi was offered after she entered films was the Kannada movie Maanikya directed by Sudeep who also played the lead role. In this film, Varalaxmi was saddled with the role of a village belle and Maanikya one of the costliest films made in Kannada, also had a good reception at the box office. Although she had a tough time with the dialogues though she was born and brought up in Bengaluru, Varalaxmi found the atmosphere in Kannada cinema very much to her liking and recounts that Sudeep ensured that she was comfortable right through the film’s shoot. With her commitments in Tamil keeping her busy, Varalaxmi has not found time for Kannada cinema though she admits that she would like to work with actors like Puneet Rajkumar and Darshan.