Gayathri Ashok was like any other ordinary girl though she wished to act in films like many of us. However, destiny willed she indeed realise her dream and her stay in Chennai gave her an opportunity in this regard. She had just started off her career as a graphic designer in a prestigious advertising company there, when she got a call for audition for the now-released 'Ladoo' by debutant filmmaker Arungeorge K David. Her experience on the sets while essaying the female lead role in the Malayalam film inspired her to decide on pursuing a career in the movie industry. Gayathri gives a sneak peek into her character and her ordinary life in this chat with Onmanorma.
When did you develop passion for movies?
I think each one of us has an implicit wish about appearing in a movie. As a teenager, I have also fancied acting alongside superstars. I never spoke out about my whim as I was afraid how people would perceive my interest. I was nervous that people around me would find my ambition odd and weird. Moreover, I wasn't confident enough about my acting skills. So I decided to bury my movie-love and pursue my studies and career like an ordinary girl. It was after I completed the shoot schedules of 'Ladoo' that I gained enough confidence to announce that I finally met my destiny. I just finished a three-month acting course at Koothu-P-Pattarai, a Tamil theatre group based at Chennai. Prominent actors like Vijay Sethupathi hails from this school. I think it is my first experience in acting that triggered the inspiration in me.
About your family and educational background...
My father, who is a DysP, is a Kannur native. My mother Bindu had shown her face in a couple of movies after she won a television reality show back in the 1990s. My brother and I did our schooling at Kendreeya Vidyalaya as my father had frequent transfers. I was a shy, timid girl till the tenth standard. After my SSLC, I was sent to Kochi for higher secondary education. Those two years at Toc-H Public School and the college days that followed brought out the talkative in me. I am a Visual Communications graduate from SRM university, Chennai. I was freshly placed as a graphic designer at an acclaimed advertising company when I saw the casting call of 'Ladoo' movie.
What is your character in 'Ladoo?'
I play the role of a short-tempered young woman who decides to elope with a man whom she had met just 25 days ago. My character Angeline seldom smiles and literally fumes even at people who try to help her out. I could perform that character realistically as I have good experience fighting with my brother everyday. The serious expression on my face was more out of nervousness than any acting skills. Vinu, the protagonist character, is played by Vinay Forrt. The movie tells the story of a venturesome register marriage between Vinu and Angeline.
About your first experience on movie-sets
I joined 'Ladoo's' crew by clearing the auditions. I also attended a 10-day grooming session wherein I was trained to ride a gear-less two-wheeler and was made familiar with the filmmaking process. Each one of the crew-members offered high level of emotional and professional support. I often apologised to the director for the numerous number of shots he had to take because of my silly mistakes. Arungeorge told me that only the last take will reach the editing table and that I don't have to bother about the wrong shots. Vinay Forrt served as a guide, a friend and a caring senior. I also had some wonderful leisure time with Balu Varghese, Shabareesh Varma and Saju Navodaya.
The most challenging scene
There is a scene in this movie where Angeline kick-starts her two-wheeler and leaves the frame, riding it. While shooting, after completing my dialogue I walked to my two-wheeler, locked my bag in the storage space and sat over the seat. I had to kick-start the bike now. It was then I noticed that I hadn't taken the key from the storage space under the seat. I knew that turning around would spoil the sequence. Everything was okay until then. As I sat still on the bike without moving a bit, I could hear the whole crew screaming from my behind. “Start Gayathri.. go!” Shouted the director. Nervously, I closed my eyes tight and sat there, clutching the handle. A production boy came running to check on me. I revealed him my helplessness to which he, and the whole crew responded with a huge round of laughter. I became the laughing-stock of the team from that moment.