In Conversation with: Keerthy Suresh
Siddarth Srinivas -
If you leave out her little cameo in Manmadhudu 2 last year, Keerthy Suresh’s last release was Sarkar back in Diwali 2018. After she was honoured with the National Award for the Best Actress, Keerthy has taken her time to make decisions on her upcoming films, and the first in the list is Penguin, which drops on Amazon Prime this Friday. Prior to the release of the film, LetsOTT caught up with the actress to speak about the project, her choices and a lot more.
What drove you to sign Penguin?
Karthik Subbaraj’s name is something that always gets attention, even when he is just producing the film. Apart from that, Eashwar Karthick was very talented and sensible with the way in which he brought the story to me. Eashwar doesn’t have much of a background in cinema and was working in a bank. But he showed a lot of passion when he narrated the story to me, over a period of four hours. Some new directors narrate stories convincingly but cannot overcome the practical issues, but he was very quick and managed to finish the shoot within 35 days. I felt like I was working with a director who had made 10 films.
You play the role of a pregnant woman in Penguin. How was the experience of doing something like that for the first time?
We see a lot of pregnant women around us in daily life, so it was an important point to observe them, first up. Both before and during the shoot, I used to bombard Eashwar with a lot of questions, and prepare myself accordingly based on our discussions. It was all up to him, as he instilled a lot of confidence in me to work on the entirety of the film.
Does Penguin’s entry into OTT platform widen horizons for an actress to try out the spaces which are more niche, such as festival films? Do you see it happening in your career?
The OTT release model definitely gives an opportunity for a different kind of opening. This is something which is trending right now, and I think it is something that all of them could try. This way, a bigger reach is guaranteed, such as from people who don’t usually go to theatres too. I really think that it would make every actor step to a different level. You cannot differentiate this as of lesser quality in any term, so any director, technician or artist would like to explore it. It is surely going to be of help.
Do you have regrets that Penguin is missing out on a theatrical release?
This was a film that was made for a theatrical experience, and that is going to be missed out. But in a situation such as this, I am actually happy that I can have a release. It is also a very satisfying thing that a lot more people will get access to the film, and will be talking about it from Friday.
How have you warmed up to feedback over the course of your career?
When the right, honest feedback comes by, criticism is always important. I have so many great critics around me – my sister, my mother and so on. I’m pretty much used to it now, as it helps me look at whatever I have not looked into, in a very different way. I think that is very necessary, and ultimately – both accepting criticism and appreciating where due is very important.
Are you limiting yourself to women-centric films now, after the added responsibility which has come from the National Award?
Mahanati gave me an opportunity to prove myself, and after that, I started to get a lot of offers for women-centric films. I took my own time and tried to pick the scripts which are vastly different from each other, and choose the best out of these. I have films such as Penguin, Miss India and Good Luck Sakhi in the pipeline, but I can assure you that they will be unique in their own ways.
Keerthy Suresh’s Penguin will be live on Amazon Prime, from Friday, the 19th of June.