June 02, 2012 Y. Sunitha Chowdhary
On her academics: I had no plans of becoming an actress or a TV Anchor. There was no way I was going to choose Physics anyway since I only chose physics in the first place while under the mistaken belief that I was Einstein. My original plan was to use my Management degree and become an HR professional. Which is exactly what I was starting off as in Thermax when Suhasini contacted me.
I found myself acting but I wasn't too keen on continuing as an actress. It took me 7 years to identify where my core competencies lay. I can do most things but I think I am most competent before the camera. (which may not be saying much ;))
Debut as an actor: I never considered it a debut. I was doing it for a lark. I enjoyed it but I wasn't sure I wanted to fit the mould of a typical heroine. So I stepped away. By the time I chose to come back I was anyway too old to be a heroine so - happy days.
I enjoy acting when there is a powerful actor working with me, I love singing. I love working on the book that I am writing. I enjoy Kalari for the exhilaration I experience when I get a difficult move right - although it has been more than a year since I practiced Kalari. Chat shows - well I enjoy talking with people with or without a camera recording it.
On her talk shows: With Koffee I was drawing on my experience of the world I had seen to try and relate to the world my guests belonged to. I am naturally curious so I ended up asking questions that paved the way for interesting conversation I suppose. It gave me a lot of pleasure to see how happy my guests were at the end of the shoot. I would like to think that I related to the person rather than the artist or celebrity.
With reality shows - well it was different with each.
With Anu Alavum Bayam Illai, I realised I wasnt really suited for it as I placed safety over thrill and concern over TRP.
With Kannadi, I ended up learning a lot as I had to do research in order to facilitate the discussion. Of course I also learnt that I could navigate mine fields with a reasonable agility.
With the cookery show 'En Samayal Arayil' - I realised that being a perfectionist is not necessarily an advantage and being overly organised and painfully punctual not necessarily appreciated. I also learnt that no amount of skill or ability can compensate for a short temper (mine).
Debut in Telugu film: I haven't done too many films because I haven't had too many offers that have appealed. I did start off with a few. But once playing Tamil Nadu's favourite sister palled, there was no slot I could fill. So honestly speaking that accounts for the fewer number of films as well. So the occasional Bomb Squad Leader (Akku), Aunt (Aadhavan), etc., do happen but like you said about 1 or 2 movies a year.
Although 2012 is surprisingly full. It's not even mid year and i already have Mr Karunakaran's Bilingual, a radar specialist's role in Mr Maamani's Kaanagam and a very different role in the lead in Mr Nantha Thurai's Kanavugal Aayiram being filmed in London.
Mr Karunakaran's Endukante Premanta marks my second Telugu movie. I did do a small role earlier in Evaraina Epudaina. But since I didn't dub for the role I didn't see it. I have dubbed for my role in this one - so technically I would say this is a debut.
Greatest influence: Personally everyone whom I dislike has been a great influence. They have made me work harder to try and NOT be like them. Professionally - sorry I have no one who is my role model or who has influenced me - at least not consciously.
On awards: Nope :) i enjoy acting but it has to be on my terms. I have only 2 Government awards that I have been awarded - one was the State award for my role in Run and the other was the Kalaimamani. Of course the fact that the English short film that I worked on for Revathy won the National award now is quite cool.
But all these awards do not really dictate the path I chose. To some extent they may indicate that the past choices were correct I suppose. As for becoming a technician - I think i will direct a movie one of these days..whether it will belong to the same standard as those done by the rest of my family - now that's telling isnt it?
On Endukante... I love the role that I play in Mr Karunakaran's movie. I am the aunt of the hero. I am a doctor and I looked at it as a woman who is progressive enough to take independent decisions yet traditional enough to accord respect to family traditions. And sometimes even brave enough to make a decision that contradicts tradition. What I enjoyed most was speaking Telugu. Learning the dialogues and then dubbing them gave me such a thrill :)
I am keeping my fingers crossed that they forgive my accent and use my voice in the final version. I have finished filming and dubbing for Mr Karunaakaran and Mr Maamani's projects. The london-based Tamil film - Kanavughal Aayiram is work in progress. And if you ask me what else I am doing - the response would be a smorgasbord of stuff :)
I am speaking to a few producers in Madras about Tamil projects and a producer here about a project in English, discussing being the PR and support resource for a financial events management company, writing a book in English, writing a recipe book in Tamil, filming for a series of how to videos for Videojug.com (complete with an attempted British accent too - some are already available online, going for the occasional auditions, compering for a show in North London, working on a deal where I am the media advisor as well as brand ambassador for another product to be launched in India.