Nithya Menen Talks about working with Vijay and Atlee
Young and talented actress Nithya Menen has completed shooting for ‘Thalapathy 61’ and this is her first film with Ilayathalapathy Vijay and director Atlee.
In a recent interview the ’24’ actress spoke about working with Vijay. She said Vijay is a calm person and very non-invasive in the sense that he never intervenes in other work on the sets. She observed that working with Atlee was a fun filled experience.
Nithya Menen also quashed rumours that she is will be making her directorial debut soon but said that may happen in future. She said she is not satisfied with what she has done as an actress so far and she wants to take up more interesting characters to act. Probably after doing that she may venture into direction.
We caught up with the actress to get to know more about her directorial ambitions, her latest roles, how her outspoken attitude has at times landed her in trouble and more…
You have just finished shooting for Vijay’s upcoming film…
I am playing one of the heroines in the film. It’s the first time I working with Vijay. I found him to be very non-invasive and a silent person. It was also fun working with Atlee and I enjoyed the shoot. I can’t say more about my character.
There are rumours that you are taking it slow because your directorial debut is imminent?
It’s not true at all. I have no idea where the news came from, but people are taking it very seriously (laughs). I am happy that they are excited to see my first directorial venture. It’s encouraging. But it’s not true. I still am not satisfied with what I have done as an actress. I want to do more and maybe after that, I would try direction.
You have carved a space in the Telugu industry where people would come to watch a movie because it’s a Nithya Menen film. How difficult is it to hold your ground in a male-dominated industry?
Let me say this first, the Telugu industry is one of the most comfortable places a woman can be, in my experience. They make a lot of mass films but I can tell you as an actor that the people are very nice and welcoming.
In terms of holding my ground, it’s definitely not easy. Even today, when I do a film with a star, people say, “Wow, congrats for getting this opportunity!” What they don’t know is that several times before I have chosen to say no to similar films. To make that choice is tough because everyone opposes you and you have people saying, “How can you say no to that?” So, you sort of stand alone. But I have always had the courage to do that, even if it means I’m going against the popular trend.
You have always voiced your opinions and as an actress, have you faced flak for that?
Yes, absolutely. I have always thought about this. People often say that actors are fake; that they never say things as they see it and always have stereotypical answers. But then, if you speak your mind and say what you feel, you get punished for that even you are just stating the truth. You are not insulting anyone but often, your words get twisted and people get aggravated. So much that you feel like it’s not worth saying the truth and it’s better to stick to stereotypical answers.
Because of this, have there been instances within the industry where people have said that you have become intimidating?
Yes. It’s not just about my personality but also because of the way I work. I have always been shocked by this. Stars have told me that they have discussed among themselves and said “It’s a bit intimidating that she’s joining the project”. I can’t believe it happens but it does. And it does affect your career in a certain way.
Has that ever prevented you from speaking up?
It’s not in my system to say something I don’t mean. Of late, I have realised that in certain situations it’s better not to say anything instead of getting into trouble. I have also learnt to not say something in situations where I know it’s not going to be taken well. If you want to make a difference by saying something, it’s better to do it at the right places.
Do you believe that a thinking actress always gets her due even if her stand is against the vox populi?
I definitely get my due – whether it’s in the industry or outside. The way anyone talks to me, treats me or even looks at me is different. They are nice to me and appreciative. Even stars have come up to me and told me that they are fans of my work. Also, outside the film industry, the reaction I get is very different from the usual ones. It’s not a mass kind of fan base; people like me for the kind of films I do and I am happy because of that.
You started your career in Malayalam but soon a lot of producers had issues with you using a manager…
I was working in other languages and so needed a manager. Everywhere but in Malayalam, people have managers. So I asked producers to contact him. But some people don’t want to move forward.
Is that also why you have been reluctant to do films in Malayalam, or is it that you are too busy in other languages now?
I am not too busy, neither have I become a big star. It’s just that I go with projects where I know my work environment will be easier and I won’t struggle. At the end of the day, being happy is important for me. I want my life to be comfortable. I want to have nice people around – those who respect me and don’t give me too much trouble. Also, I don’t want to stick to a particular language. I just go with the flow.