Kavya Madhavan - Riding the crest of popularity

Jan 4, 2007 NR

Ask anyone who the most popular heroine in the Malayalam film industry is at present, and the answer would most probably be Kavya Madhavan. With the year 2006 coming to an end, Kavya Madhavan seems to have become the undisputed numero uno, finding a place in the hearts of Malayalam film lovers.

While most of her contemporaries have sought greener pastures in Tamil and Telugu, and some have been rather inactive, Kavya has managed to remain here, cast alongside almost all the major stars of Malayalam. While it is with Dileep that she has acted the most (in almost a dozen films), she has also acted alongside Mohanlal in Onnaaman and Vadakkumnaathan, opposite Jayaram in Kochu Kochu Santhoshangal, with Mammootty in Aparichithan, and with Suresh Gopi in Thenkasipattanam.

Kavya Madhavan, hailing from Neeleswaram in Kasargode district of Kerala, began her acting career as a child artist at the age of five with the Kamal-directed Pookaalam Varavaayi. As a child artist she also did Paavam I.A. Ivaachan, The President, Irattakuttikalude Achchan, Azhagiya Ravanan, Oral Mathram, Bhoothakannadi, Krishnagudiyil Oru Pranayakaalathu etc.

When young director Lal Jose made his second film Chandranudikunna Dikkil, Kavya was chosen to play the heroine, opposite Dileep. Then came Kochu Kochu Santhoshangal, Sahayathrikaykku Snehapoorvam, Madhuranombarakaattu, Darling Darling, Thenkasipattanam, Dosth, Jeevan Mosai etc. With films like Thenkasipattanam, Oomapenninu Uriyaadappayyan and the Blockbuster Meesha Madhavan, she became one of the top heroines of Malayalam Cinema, a position that she has retained so far.

It is to be noted that she has also been one of the lead players in Classmates, which is not just the biggest hit of 2006, but also the biggest hit ever in the history of Malayalam Cinema. She has also delivered sensitive performances in films like Mizhirandilum, Jeevan Mosai, Perumazhakaalam etc. With the Lohitadas-directed Chakkaramuththu, Kavya has crossed the 50-film mark and now, this young actress continues to ride the crest of the wave of commercial success. Excerpts from an interview with this very popular heroine of Malayalam cinema by Unni Nair of nowrunning.com

How do you feel looking back on your career, spanning fifty odd films?

I feel happy. I am fortunate enough to have acted with almost all the top-ranking actors of Malayalam. I am also fortunate to have been part of all-time blockbusters like Meesha Madhavan and Classmates. It has also been my pleasure to have worked in films like Mizhirandilum, Annorikkal and Perumazhakaalam. Having had the fortune to do all these films and such a variety of roles, I should naturally be happy.

How did you come into films?

From a very young age, I mean when I was just about two-and-a-half years old, I started appearing on the stage. It was when I was just five that director Kamal placed an ad in the papers seeking a child-artist for his new film. My parents responded and things worked out. It was thus that Pookaalam Varavaayi happened for me.

What about Chandranudikunna Dikkil?

Director Lal Jose was there as an associate to Sir Kamal when I acted in Pookaalam Varavaayi and Azhagiya Ravanan. He was very friendly to me and my family and would often say that when he directed a film, I would be the heroine. And he kept his word by casting me as the heroine in Chandranudikunna Dikkil. I am very much indebted to him. He gave me my first break as a heroine; and he had also cast me in films like Meesha Madhavan and Classmates, which would be among my career bests.

One of the other persons you have been most associated with is Dileep, opposite whom you have acted in almost a dozen films. Could you tell us something about your rapport with him?

We share an on-screen as well as an off-screen rapport. On screen, film-lovers all across the state of Kerala have always loved seeing us together and hence we have been able to remain a lucky on-screen pair. Off-screen too, we have been the best of friends. The first time we met was when I was acting as a child-artist in The President and he was doing Maanaththe Kottaaram. But we became friends only with Chandranudikunna Dikkil. And then on, he has always been a good friend, a good advisor and at times a god critic too. I have always enjoyed working with him.

You have also done off-beat films like Jeevan Mosai and Annorikkal and some very sensitive characters like those in Mizhirandilum and Perumazhakaalam. Share with us your experiences regarding doing such characters?

It was through sheer luck that I got to work in such films and do such roles. In Jeevan Mosai, directed by T.N. Gopakumar, I played three stages or rather three phases of my character. Of course the film didn't get released on a commercial level. Annorikal too was a character that should have worked out well. But somehow that didn't get much notice. I would also like to mention Sheelabathi, which was a very off-beat film with a very relevant subject. But that too failed to create an impact. Doing Mizhirandilum and Perumazhakaalam could be called turning points in my career. I could bring out at least some aspects of the actress in me, not playing to the crowds, but portraying the characters to perfection. I am indeed indebted to the directors of all these films.

You have always been seen to accept rather small and insignificant roles too. Why so?

I have always concentrated on the merit of the character rather than on the size of the role. It does not matter whether it is the heroine or not. If it is a well etched-out character, I don't mind doing it even if there are only two or three scenes for the character. My character in Vadakkumnaathan was taken note of. Similarly in Vaasthavam, my character is not that lengthy, but it makes its own impact in the film.

Which is your favourite role, till date?

It's very difficult question to answer for any actor or actress. Same is the case with me. I'd be confused as to which to choose and which to reject when making a list of my favourites. I have enjoyed doing all kinds of roles equally well.

To whom would you credit your success in films?

First of all to God. It's definitely God's grace that has made me what I am. Then I am indebted to my parents and my brother. And then, I am very much indebted to the film-loving public of Kerala, without whose wholehearted support I wouldn't have been anything. And last but not the least, I would also like to mention those directors, those writers and all who have given me meaty roles to act out. And to my co-stars, who have always stood by me, guiding me with their experience.

Which are your forthcoming films?

My next films are Inspector Garud (Director: Johny Antony), Athishayan (Director: Vinayan) and Arunam (Director: Vinod Mankara). Some other interesting projects too are in the offing.

Kavya Madhavan Pictures


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