Happy Days are here for Miss Padikaathavan, who did her Kalloori when she was still in school.
Soon, we will get to see this Ayan actor opposite Suriya do her Ananda Thandavam. We will then see her with that Paiyya, Karthi.
Tammannah is also doing the Jab We Met remake with Bharath, Raja Rani. The teen will soon turn Queen, backed with a little love and a little hard work (Konjam Ishtam, Konjam Kashtam in Telugu). She has no dates till July, we learn.
“When I began, I had hoped that someday, my schedule would be this busy. I am enjoying the pace,” she says.
No surprise considering that’s a quick learner. “For my 12th exam, I got 64 per cent. People spend a whole year studying for it. All I had was barely 15 days to prepare. So yeah!” she grins.
Having made her debut at 13 and a half (no kidding, she played the leading lady) in Hindi, this child prodigy has been living out of suitcases at Hotel Green Park for four years now. And now, she’s doing B.A. Economics by correspondence.
“Yes, I don’t get to attend college like the other kids. But I think I am doing something more interesting, something I am very passionate about. Beside since my Mom’s or somebody from my family is always with me, the emotional support has been great.”
Growing up, whose shoes did she want to get into?
“Madhuri Dixit was somebody I always looked up to,” she says flashing that 1000-watt smile she seems to have perfected from her role model. “Some people say that I look like her. When I was 13-14, I didn’t know I was going to look like her someday. But now, I feel that I have to be me, I have to search within and find myself.”
Girls from the North have always made it big here.
“Maybe because there are many more girls in Bombay and Delhi who have grown up on Bollywood and they see it as a career option. Here, I am not sure if people see acting as a career choice.”
Tammannah realises that in a male-dominated industry, she has to strike a balance.
“I can say I have been fortunate to get films like Happy Days, Kalloori, Ananda Thandavam, Paiyya, Konjam Ishtam Konjam Kashtam and commercial films like Padikathavan and Ayan. I want to do a little bit of both… Like the ‘Jab We Met’ role in Raja Rani. Indian cinema is male dominated. I understand that, I am OK with that but I want to do my own thing.”
Which is why though her Dad manages her career and Mom accompanies her to shoots, she’s the one who chooses the scripts herself in an industry where nothing is hard-bound.
“I’ve always been a given a pretty decent narration about what the film is about. That gives me a more instinctive view. Sometimes, the narration is too vague and sometimes, it is vivid.”
What if the script changes as they shoot, a common phenomenon in Tamil cinema?
“As for any actor, it all depends on how grave the change is. For example, I don’t do kissing scenesI it’s there in my contract. So, all of a sudden the director can’t decide to add a kissing scene. But, my directors have been very professional. I understand when my scenes have to be taken out when they are killing the pace of the film.”
She believes that learning on the job is the real thing.
“I was into theatre for eight to nine months when I started out. I did experimental theatre. I have performed on stage and I am sure trained actors do more than that but I’ve been lucky to work with fantastic directors like Sekher Kammula, Balaji Sakthivel and K.V. Anand early on in my career.”
Being young, does she ever feel intimidated?
“When I first acted with Suriya, I was very nervous during the first two or three days. I am a huge fan. I could not believe I was working with him. But when the camera starts rolling, you even forget who you are. You have to become someone else.”
Tammannah doesn’t let criticism bother her either. “A review is a perception of one person. Films are meant for people and different people have different takes. My critics are Mum and Dad, I take them very seriously and they give me honest feedback.”