I really enjoyed playing a glamorous role in Puta 109: Vaishnavi Chandran Menon
When filmmaker Dayal Padmanabhan announced two
back-to-back projects immediately after his stint on Kannada Bigg
Boss, he cast actors he had struck a rapport with on the show, like
and Anupama Gowda (for Aa Karaala Ratri). Vaishnavi Chandran
Menon, who is the lead of his Puta 109, was also on the same season of
the reality show, but tells us that the offer to collaborate with
Dayal happened even before she went into the house. “People think
that I got Puta 109 because of Bigg Boss, but I had already shot
for five films before I got into the house. Bigg Boss just happened
before any of them released. I had actually met Dayal sir after he
came out of the house and he mentioned that he was interested in
casting me for one of his films. A week later, though, I went into
the house as a wild-card entry. I have been fascinated with Dayal
sir’s work as a director, especially Actor and Haggada Kone, and
the fact that I could work with him was the clincher for me as far
as Puta 109 was concerned. Add to that the fact that I am a big fan
Krishna. His performances are unmatched. I was looking forward
to working with the team, because it is a beautiful assortment of
talent. The script was just fabulous. It’s a crime thriller and
very unlike other Kannada films. There were two other scripts that
Dayal sir told me about, but I wanted to go with Puta 109. It’s a
slightly performance-oriented role, with more emphasis on glamour
and looking good. But I was very comfortable in the character,”
says the Bengaluru lass.
Acting, says Vaishnavi, was what she wanted to do. “I always wanted to be an actress and have been very clear about my goal in life from a very young age. My parents were not only supportive, but always encouraged me to do what I wanted. The only issue was safety, so my mother quit her job to accompany me for my work. As for my preparation to get into showbiz, I didn’t train in acting as such, but I did learn dance extensively. I did six years of Bharatanatyam under late filmmaker Puttana Kanagal’s son, Ramu Kanagal, followed by two years of ballet and seven years under Shiamak Davar. I think I have been dancing from even before I could walk properly,” says Vaishnavi, who believes that her sound foundation in dance gives her the poise, grace and expressions required for acting. “If I can perform onscreen today, it is only because of dance, especially Bharatanatyam. In fact, the high that I felt while performing onstage is a reason for my entry into showbiz,” she adds.
The first film offer, says Vaishnavi, came after she won a beauty pageant. “Truth be told, the first couple of offers didn’t take off and were shelved eventually. I was a little upset because of that, but I did not give up. I have had to audition for a lot of roles and was then offered a role in Padarasa with Sanchari Vijay. The cute little circle of life is such that Vijay sir was the one who crowned me at the pageant I won, and then I got my first movie with him. My first release, though, was Devarantha Manushya with Pratham, after which Nagavalli vs Apthamithraru hit screens. Padarasa turned out to be golden opportunity, because I was a very raw artiste back then. Vijay sir had a major impact on my performance in that film and I still consider him my mentor in the industry and I will until my last breath, because he taught me all the nuances required for the screen,” she says.
The roles that she digs are performance-oriented, which she knows are still few and far between in the film industry. “I am not a big fan of roles in which the woman is the bechara abala nari, who needs saving. For me, to be able to pull off a role, I need to be able to respect the character. If I can’t then I don’t take it up because I know I can’t do justice to it. I really enjoy performance-oriented roles because they challenge me. But at the same time, I am very aware that in this day and age a heroine needs to do some sort of a glamour quotient as well to keep the audience enticed. So, I am definitely into glamorous roles as well, but not the clichéd bimbo. Of the 12 roles I have done so far, quite a few have given me creative satisfaction. Scripts like that give me purpose in life,” she signs off.