Actress Nikhila Vimal, who was recently seen in Por Thozhil, speaks to The Pioneer about signing the film, working with the director, working in substantial character-driven roles, and more.
With Por Thozhil, many intelligent characters were introduced — one of which was actress Nikhila Vimal, who was a product of smart writing setting the movie apart fro m other investigative thrillers that we have gotten accustomed to, especially with the fascination for this genre.
Accordingly, in an exclusive conversation with us for our Tollywood bit, she partakes and says, “I really liked the way my director narrated the script to me — will you believe it, he was playing the actual background scores during the narration. It was something so new to me! The least a director that he/she can do to an extent is to act out the scenes to an actor, but playing the score was so extraordinary. The whole atmosphere became intense! The clarity that was carved out for me, encouraged me to sign Por Thozhil.”
Her debut film was Bhagyadevatha in 2009 in a supporting role. Her big screen debut in lead role happened in 2015, where she played a female lead in Sreebala K Menon’s film in which she was paired with Dileep. Moving ahead in the interesting chat, “The director’s artistic expressions were very understandable to me. With every scene, he was transparent to me! He approved all the improvisations we had to provide him for more comprehensiveness. I shot for fifteen days with him, found him very serious yet curious about pulling this investigative thriller. Whenever the camera used to roll, you would see a very consequential director.”
The actress was born in Taliparamba. Her father retired from the statistical department while her mother is a dancer. The name ‘Vimal’ comes from the name of her mother. Nikhila learned Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kerala Natanam, and monoact and also made her presence in youth festivals. Maybe that’s where the quirk comes from. “It’s still very rare for us to get substantial character-driven roles in the industry. No idea why, but all the directors are stuck with giving us the role of a love interest. I know some of the male actors too, it’s happening with them as well! Many of my contemporaries are given those roles that hold no importance at all. All of us have something to demonstrate! You know what I mean? I really want to perform with a longer screen-space, and not with the hero! It’s high time, script-writing needs to change.”
Her Tamil debut happens to be Panjumittai, in which she is the female lead and opposite Ma Ka Pa Anand, but where does she actually situate herself in the industries that she predominantly works for? Shall we confirm it with the actress herself? She responded, “I am equally famous in the Malayalam film industry, my spree over there is still continuing. I am well-pleased here, also because it’s my mother tongue. Though there is a streak of boredom that I feel sometimes because of the roles that don’t suit me or are not worthy-enough. So there’s a gradual shift and inquisitiveness towards the Tamil film industry too. I have completed almost fifteen years in films; I started as a child artist, and now OTT has entered into the scene, if we talk about 2023. We have gone past those prototypical films now. Now actors can take how many ever takes they want, which wasn’t possible when I started in the industry. I wasn’t even aware of the technicalities before.”
When established actors come into the space, we are always tantalized to know about their filmy struggles, and we are sure so are our readers. Hence, “I don’t have a very tempting struggle story, all the actors in this industry are struggling everyday. All of us want the best characters! I know of A-listers too who are still searching for their eccentricity, the scripts that are idiosyncratic. The roles that have similar characteristics like mine work so well at the box-office, this is my personal observation. A girl-next-door role is easy to play, but I could never relate to it in my entire life span. These roles are not for me! And, the Malayalam film industry doesn’t work on adulation so much.”