'After Mahanati, I wanted a proper commercial film': Keerthy Suresh
Keerthy Suresh, whose last release was Vijay's Sarkar in 2018, is back with her next, Penguin (Tamil), which will be getting a direct release on Amazon Prime. The actor, who has six films (Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham, Penguin, Miss India, Good Luck Sakhi, Rang De, and Annaatthe, across three languages) lined up for release, expressed that OTT might be a blessing in disguise, in a chat arranged as part of Indulge Time Pass, a series of webinars organised by The New Indian Express group, and hosted by senior journalist Kaveree Bamzai.
Keerthy called her upcoming release, Penguin, an emotional thriller that would resonate with the audience. "The film is about a mother's struggle to rescue her abducted kid, which happens over a period of four days. It is neither gory nor a message movie. It has 60 per cent emotion and 40 per cent thrills, and is meant for all types of audience," she said.
On the impact of Mahanati / Nadigaiyar Thilagam (which fetched her a National Award), Keerthy said that the film has changed a lot in her life. "It opened up possibilities for me to explore new women-centric films. When Mahanati was offered to me, I was doing commercial cinema. This was an opportunity for me to prove myself to my detractors. On the personal front, I feel I have become more mature about my choices and stands. I learned a lot from playing Savitri on screen."
Keerthy also said that her mother, Menaka--an actor herself--had a big influence in shaping the character of Savitri. "I, in fact, almost said no to the film, because I didn't believe I could do justice to the star's persona. When I told my mother about it, she got excited, and she, along with director Nag Ashwin, convinced me to take the role up." Keerthi also revealed that her mother gave her a lot of tips during shooting. "She shared aspects she knew about Savitri like her style of acting and her mannerisms. They helped me immensely."
Keerthi said that replicating Savitri's songs on screen was the toughest challenge of all. "I guess I pieced together the character from various sources. I spoke to her daughter. I gathered a lot of information about her body language and style. I read a lot of books. I put all this together and formed a personality within myself."
Regarding life post Mahanati, Keerthy said that the film's success and critical acclaim made her pause and reflect a lot. "To be honest, after Mahanati I wanted to do a proper commercial film, just for variety. But what came my way were these heroine-oriented scripts. I waited a while to see if I would get commercial film offers, but then I thought I should take up more serious projects as they had some great storylines. Going forward, I would like to balance commercial films with content-oriented movies," Keerthy said.