She is just a few films old but somewhat wisened up by her experiences, Pearle Maaney is both content and excited in equal measure.
Pearle is no stranger to the limelight. She's unafraid of experimenting with genres. But the real challenge she says, has been the varied roles she had to don in films.
With a list of films under her belt, it only remains to be seen where she goes from here. Onmanorama in a candid chat with the curly beauty:
Back-to-back releases! How does it feel?
It's a great feeling! I take everything as an achievement. Different people have different working styles and the more you work with different people, the more mature you become.
Tell us about your role in Double Barrel and how was it working with the team?
I can't reveal much details but all I can say is that Double Barrel is going to be a very different movie; something that has not yet been tried in Malayalam industry before. A slapstick comedy, the film has an array of funny characters. I am paired opposite to Asif Ali and we are the silence breakers in the film. Every time we make an appearance, something interesting can be expected.
The looks are yet another highlight of DB. Everyone, except me, sports a different and stylised look. I was told that I already have a 'dangerous' look and thus, there wasn't a need to sport a different look for my role.
Director Lijo is a perfectionist and he is keen about each and every shot. His approach to filmmaking and his craft is a thing of beauty.
The film will undoubtedly be a perfect treat for Onam with different shades of colours in it.
How about Mohanlal and Loham?
I had a close acquaintance with Ranjith sir after Njaan and when he called me for Loham, it was a pleasure to be part of this as well. I just had three days of shoot and I didn’t get much time to interact with Lalettan.
From day one, I was trying to take a selfie with him, but couldn't do so. And by the third day, I was so desperate that I told director Ranjith sir to help me out. And when the moment came, I was all excited and tensed at the same time. However, Mohanlal is such a calm and composed person that he made me at ease and asked me where he should stand for the selfie.
Are you choosy about your roles?
Well, I wont call myself choosy but I go with characters, which I feel is good. Once you hear about your role, there's an instinct that comes to play, making it easy to decide whether I should take it up or not.
Have there been any roles which you felt like doing?
(Laughs) Oh yes. The lead character from Lal Jose's movie Nee-Na was one that I would pick up. Just like in the movie, I too respond in real life when someone teases or comment behind my back. In fact Deepti (who played Neena) and me watched the movie together. I love doing those kind of adventurous and risky roles.
Who is your role model?
Before entering into the media world, I always wanted to be a motivational speaker or trainer and thus I used to follow American host, actress, producer, and philanthropist, Oprah Winfrey. Even after her retirement, she leads a simple spiritual life. Apart from her, my father is my real insipration.
Do you like it when you are tagged as a curly girl?
Interestingly, nobody else in my family has curly locks, though my dad says his great grandmother had similar hair. Initially I hated my hair.
(Chuckles) During school days, it was a rule to plait-up our hair. It was so hard to set my hair and till last minute I kept on working on it. once I reached college, everything changed. And then I realised my identity is to let things how it is. Everybody has there own individuality and I do I with my own style. In fact now I feel curls are becoming a fashion statement, which gives a tough look and I am happy with it.
Being part of 'D4 Dance'
While acting in movies, an artist is not the real person and all one can do is making justice to the particular character. But being in a show like 'D4 Dance', one ought to take down all hidden masks and be your own self. When I am on the show, I'm not a celebrity but just as pearle at home! Since television has a huge impact on kids, it is a responsibility to deliver the right message in the given time.
Initially I had negative vibes thinking what how would people accept me on the show. And now when people identify me and ask me “Pearly, how are you?”, it feels so great.
'D4 Dance' is a huge platform. We are like a family and that homely feeling is there within each and every person who is behind the show.
What about your Telugu project?
It was on my birthday that I friend of mine rang me up and asked me to fly down to Hyderabad telling me that I have been roped in for a Telugu flick. Thinking it was a big prank, I just went to meet him up and discovered that I was indeed cast in B.V. Nandini Reddy's upcoming movie. Nandini Madam had launched actors like Nithya Menen and it was after a big search that ended with me.
Touted to be a romantic comedy, my character is an adventurous girl who loves widlife. The untitled film will have Telugu actor Naga Shourya as the lead. Although language was an initial barrier, I managed to pick it up gradually. Moreover, my character needed more use of facial expressions and body language.
Can we see you in Tamil soon?
(Laughs) Let's see how things go. But if an offer comes, I will be comfortable. My dad is a Tamilian and mom, a Malayali. While I completed my schooling in Kerala, I graduated in media studies from Bangalore, before joining the Malayalam television. So I am fluent in Tamil and Malayalam.