Lakshmi Devy is not, by any standards, your usual Tamil cinema heroine. Well, how often do you meet a doctor turned lead actress, who gets to write her own on-screen character! The model cum theatre artist, who was last seen in the 2010 Tamil thriller ‘Nil Gavani Selladhe’, is making her debut as a script writer in the Bobby Simha-Mirchi Shiva starrer Masala Padam, releasing this Friday. If that’s not enough, she is also playing the female lead in the offbeat entertainer. In a brief chit-chat with Mani Prabhu, the multifaceted actor talks about her passion for writing, the idea of Masala Padam and how she couldn’t resist playing herself in it.
“Well, if you really want the cliché, here it is. May be, writing is indeed in my genes!” Lakshmy starts off with a grin. “My father happens to be a travelogue writer. And frankly speaking, writing in all forms has always excited me from childhood. As a medical student, I have dabbled quite a bit in poetry, stage-plays and creative writing, with a couple of my short-stories getting published”. Lakshmy feels her days at college made her see through her interests with more intent. “By the time I finished my studies, I was very clear in what I wanted to do. Though modelling excited me, I went on to seriously pursue theatrics – writing and enacting several plays in English.”
Lakshmi says she first met her director Laxman on the sets of her debut film ‘Nil Gavane Selladhe’. “This was when I got serious about writing screenplays. After attending a couple of screen-writing workshops, I was trying my hands on few scripts. Laxman had earlier worked in films like Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu and had an idea to direct a film himself. We hit it off well right from the start. When we were discussing themes, we talked about the widespread critiquing of our unique masala genre and from there, sprouted a very interesting log-line. The plot allowed us to focus on a burning issue- the antithetical points of view of people who make movies and the people who criticize them – in an entertaining way. There was scope for plenty of offbeat humour and sarcasm. It excited me so much, that I wanted to write it myself”
Lakshmi then spent two months writing the screenplay for Masala Padam. “Though I was initially sceptical, somewhere deep down, I knew I had to do it. I wrote the entire script in Tanglish and took the final version to Laxman, who wanted to direct it as his debut film. And when my good friend Vijay Raghavendar came on board as the producer, the project officially kick started”. Lakshmy says she didn’t write the characters keeping the stars in mind. “The casting was finalized only after the script was locked. But somewhere down the second draft, I knew I had to play a particular character. Being a powerful yet subdued role that I could easily identify with, it was too big a temptation to ignore! I believe I have done justification to the character”
Lakshmi also believes she learnt a lot about film-making during the shoot of Masala Padam. “Every member of the team, including me, doubled up as the assistant director. It was a wonderful learning experience to see my script get translated on-screen. Shiva, Bobby Simha, Laxman, music director Karthik Acharya and editor Richard Kevin have each given the final product, a whole new dimension. I would, in fact, go on to say that this would be Shiva’s best performance till date.”
Lakshmi hasn’t signed her next feature film till now. “The number doesn’t matter, but the kind of roles I do does”she emphasizes. “I am, in fact, open to doing films in any language, provided the script and my on-screen character excite me. I have signed a couple of short films in Hindi and have also started writing for a Hindi web series. Though I am equally mad about acting and writing, some day I would like to direct my own film. I am here to learn and every single aspect of film-making excites me”, she concludes.
Masala Padam getting a theatrical release on October 9th, we at iFlickz, wish the talented actress the very best for her every venture.