Ahead of the film’s release on August 15, Kalyani discussed her character, future projects and the pressure she was under while working with her father Priyadarshan in her debut Malayalam film.
Q. What convinced you to accept Ranarangam?
For this film, I went with my gut. I had a very good narration and it felt like the screenplay was something different. The narration goes back and forth. Sudheer Varma sir was able to make it come together very interestingly. You will understand what I am saying when you watch the film.
Q. Since the film revolves around Sharwanand’s character, do you think the film gave you enough scope to perform?
Yes, definitely! Because the film spans over 20 years of a person’s life. My character also grows (in the film).
Q. What is this movie about?
We have all seen movies about the growth of a don. It is one such film but Sudheer has conceptualised it differently.
Q. Tell us about your character in the movie.
The whole film is about Sharwa’s character. It is his life, growth, and everything. So, he is seen as an intense character throughout the film. My character is his character’s only weakness. If it weren’t for my character, people would have never seen the lovable side of him. That’s why I wanted to play Geetha.
Q. How did you prepare for your role?
The movie is set in the early 90s. So, for me, my inspiration was the work done by my mom (Lissy) and by yesteryear actors such as Shobhana Ma’am. The work of all these artistes and the roles they played around those times inspired me a lot.
Q. How was your experience of shooting for the portions set in the 90s?
It was an amazing experience. I don’t know how to explain it. I grew up watching the films (of the past era) on TV. It was interesting because I always thought, "Oh, I wish I was born and lived at that time!" I got the chance to go back in time with Ranarangam.
Q. Are you a fan of gangster movies?
I love gangster movies and I always wanted to hold a gun. I liked most of Scorsese and Tarantino films. Even though, technically, Kill Bill was not a gangster movie, it is one of my favourite films because of the female lead.
Q. How is your role in this film going to be different from your earlier characters?
My character in Ranarangam has a certain level of maturity. Junnu (Hello) and Lahari (Chitralahari) don’t have the kind of maturity that Geetha has. You will watch Geetha’s character evolve in the film.
Q. Will you take more offers from the Telugu film industry?
To be honest, I grew up watching a lot of Tamil and Malayalam movies. That’s why I have signed two other films in those languages. I want to explore that as well. Telugu is still a little new to me. I know that as an actor I will improve a lot if I also start working in those languages. As an actor, I should develop versatility and hence I need to start exploring all of that.
Q. Tell us about Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham.
I don’t want to work with my dad (Priyadarshan) again. I almost fainted and the whole set could feel my heartbeat. It was such an easy language (Malayalam) for me, but I couldn’t even remember the lines because my father was standing there with a mic. I realised that it’s too much pressure. Even for him. He prayed and all for my first shot.
Q. Did you ask for a role in the film or were you offered it?
I asked him first for a part in Marakkar. We had decided that for the first five movies, we will not work together. I have played an extended cameo in the film.