Hariprriya is busy shooting for her debut Malayalam movie – Thiruvambady Thamban – in Kanyakumari and Munnar. “It has been four years since I came to showbiz. I have been trying to find a good role in Malayalam movies. My attempts are finally yielding results. I am excited to be part of this project,” Hariprriya declares.
Her excitement is understandable because she is acting with a highly reputed technical team that delivered the Malayalam hit Shikkar – in 2010. Thiruvambady Thamban has Jayaram in the lead, and is being directed by M Padmakumar, while the music is being composed by National Award winner Ouseppachan. “My debut film in Malayalam has such a great team…I am confident that it will be a hit. I play the role of a traditional girl. There is a lot of scope for acting in this film,” she chirps.
Before Thiruvambadi Thamban, she was seen in a special role in a devotional Malayalam movie Manikanta. But the question on everyone’s mind is, why Hariprriya was keen on acting in a Malayalam film as a female lead. “Unlike other languages, the number of remakes in Malayalam is fewer. They pay a lot of attention to the story and their treatment of the characters is special. It’s all about natural acting here. I had heard so much about Malayalam movies that I so badly wanted to act in one. This has been a dream come true,” she smiles.
Her decision to act in a Malayalam film also stems from the fact that there is hardly any female-centric movie or role in the Kannada film industry from where she hails. She had rejected two Malayalam movies in the past because of the language factor as she was unsure of acting in a fourth language movie. She was also busy with Telugu and Tamil projects.
So is Hariprriya finding Malayalam difficult to grasp? “The language is a tongue twister!” she laughs, “You see, the problem is I hate being prompted when I am shooting for a scene. Prompting takes away 30 percent of the attention from acting. Therefore, I try to rehearse the dialogue, understand the situation, and emote in front of the camera. Fortunately, I have been successful in this approach.”
Hariprriya has come a long way since her debut in the Kannada film Manasugala Mathu Madhura when she was just 16 years old. She has acted in close to 20 films in the last three years including Telugu (Thakita Thakita and Pilla Zamindar) and Tamil movies (Kanagavel Kaakha, Vallakottai and Muran). She was always considered a rank outsider in the Kannada film industry. Though she made her debut in a romantic film, she remained off limits for the top directors. But when Hariprriya went on to act with top actors in Telugu and Tamil projects, the Kannada film industry realised her potential. 2012 is a big year for Hariprriya in Kannada as well; five of her films will hit the theatres this year. Manjina Hani opposite Ravichandran, Khiladi Kitty opposite Srinagara Kitty, Saagar and Super Shastri opposite Prajwal Devaraj and Nande opposite Murali are all lined up for release this year.
It is typical of the Kannada film industry to go after its own talent desperately after ignoring them in their formative days. Hariprriya is just another example. But the actor does not have any qualms about this. In fact, the actor used this to her advantage, and moved to Telugu and Tamil films to explore the market. “In Telugu, a lot of importance is attached to the commercial elements of glamour in addition to acting. In Tamil and Malayalam movies, natural acting and characterisation are given top priority. In each film industry, I’ve had a different experience. It is fun working in so many languages,” she admits.
Hariprriya has been literally living out of her suitcase for the last one year, acting in films continuously without a major break. By the way, notice the addition of the extra letter ‘r’ in her name. “I am the last person to believe in numerology,” she laughs, “But my mum found out that an additional r in the name will fetch me luck and fortune. It has been one month since I added another r and I am already riding the lucky wave, I hope it gets bigger!”
The 21-year old has handled her success carefully. “Sometimes I feel burdened, but since I enjoy my work, there is no time for me to introspect,” she says. With no film background and very little experience on her side, the actor was taken for a ride by her agent in the initial years. “That guy went on to spread the word that he was responsible for my success. I hate people who try to be smart with me. He will never try to fool another actor after I gave him a dressing down!” Hariprriya says confidently.