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Independently, around the same time...
Bharathiraja's assistants saw me in the bus stand outside my college and felt I was a nice 'new face'. They also saw me for 2-3 days in near their office. I was visiting my uncle who lived in the same building. So, they managed to find out where I live and other contact info.
all these happened around the same time...
My parents got a phone call and the request for casting me as a heroine. In those days, I was not interested in films, not even in films shown on television. But I definitely had sleepless nights taking a decision. My parents spoke to me on the positive and negative points. But ultimately the decision was mine and you know what that decision was!
During the shoot of my first film Mann Vasanai at Theni (near Madurai in Tamilnadu), I studied in the nights for my twelfth standard exams. It was tough but worth the while when a reporter from Thina Thanthi (popular Tamil newspaper) called me and said that I had passed.
Initially between shooting for my films, I had some time to do other things like compering. One interesting experience was interviewing famous cine personalities in Balaji uncle's show on Doordarshan titled Malarum Ninaivugal.
Once when I interviewed K Balachandar, he praised my acting in the Malayalam film Kattathe Kilikkoodu, explaining in detail some scenes from the film. I was stunned and overjoyed at this compliment from this great director.
I am a great fan of the actress K R Vijaya, who was a popular heroine of those black and white movies. I interviewed her, too for the same show.
I chose my first few films judiciously, with help from Bharathiraja. I didn't mind just sitting back and waiting for the right film to come along.
Choosing a film depended on the story. My decisions haven't all been right. But, through experience, I have learnt to be more selective - though you can never be sure. There is a vast difference between the way you understand the story and the way the director visualises it on the screen.
I have always chosen my films only after listening to the story. Not only should my role be meaningful, but the whole film should be interesting, only then do I accept to do the role.