Abhirami was just 13 when she
acted in Adoor Gopalakrishnan's Kathapurushan. When she
returned as an adult, she failed to match reigning queen
Manju Warrier's overwhelming popularity.
Abhirami switched to Tamil, where her first film Vaanavil
opposite action star Arjun, was a big hit. Again, though,
she was never as popular as the Tamil industry's top three
actresses -- Devyani, Jyothika and Simran.
Virumandi, you are playing a woman staying in a
village. In reality, you are an urban girl. Will
it be difficult?
I don't think I will have any difficulty. I acted as a
villager in a 100-episode Malayalam serial, Akshaya Patram,
by director Sreekumaran Thampy. My character was very poor
and had a rural background. Her age ranged from 16 to 45
years. I played the mother of a 24 year old in it. So I am
at ease playing rural characters.
I am not tense about my character in Virumandi. But I am a
little bit tense about working with Kamal Sir. I have been a
fan of his since I was a small kid. I used to see him on
screen and then, there I was, sitting next to him and
reading lines with him. It will take a couple of days for
the excitement to settle down.
Why do you think he selected you for the role?
I really don't know. I have asked myself this question
several times but I have no idea.
Most Kamal Haasan films include intimate kissing scenes.
It is not war, only love. Many people have done such roles.
Why should I make a hue and cry about it? When Kamal Sir is
making a movie, he will not make it look vulgar. If you look
at his films, you will see those scenes are not repulsive at
How did your first film as an adult happen?
I stopped acting after doing a child artiste's role in Adoor
Gopalakrishnan's Kathapurushan [Vishwanathan, Mini]. Later,
after my schooling, I started hosting a show on the Asianet
television channel [Pepsi Top Ten]. It was quite popular. It
was because of the show that I got the call to act in Patram
[Suresh Gopi, Manju Warrier].
You are concentrating more on Tamil films. What is the
I had acted in Jayaraj's Millennium Stars. The costume
designer of the film was a leading designer in Tamil films.
He recommended my name to director Manoj Kumar. That was how
Tamil films happened.
I started getting more offers in Tamil. I don't know why
they say there is a dearth of actresses in Malayalam. I
didn't get that many offers from Malayalam films and
whatever offers I got were uninteresting.
I have a modern image, which doesn't go well with the
Malayalis. In Kerala, people are still very orthodox. Maybe,
I don't have a typical Malayali face.
When did acting become your profession?
After the release of Njangal Santhushtaranu [opposite
Jayaram], many people told me I did the role well. I
realised I could too could act.
Considering you have acted in all South Indian languages,
how different was it acting in each language (Malayalam,
Tamil, Telugu, Kannada)?
Acting is subtle in Malayalam and Kannada. It is a little
louder in Tamil and Telugu. It all depends on the director.