“Parvathy is how my name is spelt with absolutely no surname. Menon has never been there,” she clarifi es as she settles down for the interview. When you call her, you fi nd that her caller tune is very unlike what most actors and actresses opt for – a song from their upcoming fl ick for one, or from a popular fl ick of theirs. “I must say that Kutty Revathi and Bharat Bala made fun of me, asking why I would not have a Mariyaan song for my caller tune for obvious reasons, as a part of my fi lm and for its publicity. Not that I did not try – I did. But it wasn’t working out with my BSNL caller tunes. I browsed BSNL’s international list of caller tunes and chose a Taylor Swift song, Making Waves. Later when someone called me, I simply got to hear a ‘Wow! What a caller tune! Is that Taylor Swift?’ and I have had that ever since. I like the mood of this song,” she gushes. A trained Bharatanatyam dancer, to Parvathy, dance is a way of life and a mode of meditation. “I learnt classical dance – Bharatanatyam, for more than ten years. But I was not able to continue formal training as I started acting in fi lms at 21,” she says. “I can recall my visits to Anita Ratnam’s performances as a kid. Recently, I witnessed a Priyadarshani Govind performance where she focused on the nuances of dance, and it was brilliant.” When you ask her about her inspiration from the world of dance, she says, “Pina Bausch! Not to say that there aren’t any in India, but when I saw this movie by Wim Wenders, a roughly two-hour movie on Pina Bausch – which was a dance documentary, I was at a loss for words. I also happened to watch Pina Bausch’s Café Muller, now that’s something that really affected and moved me. Pina Bausch is god to me when it comes to dance.” So, does Parvathy have any other hobbies or talents? “Art elevates and makes the quality of your life better. I love visiting galleries and watching performances. I would love to take to painting at some point of time. Dance is very personal to me.”
Parvathy stays tight-lipped on her personal life and relationships. “No comments on that. It is personal, and I want to keep it that way!” But giving me an overview of her family and their support in her career, she says, “My parents are retiring lawyers. And they want to enjoy life now. My mother has been a trained classical Bharatanatyam dancer herself. My father too had been into the arts. My brother Karunakaran works in Bengaluru. I moved out of home when I was 21 and it is not something that generally happens in a Kerala household. I could do that only with the support of my parents. I chose the science stream for class eleven and twelve, although I still don’t know why. Very soon, I realised that it was not my cup of tea. Finally literature helped me to connect with my craft.”
Parvathy recalls her early days. “I was an anchor in a television channel called Kiran TV for over a year and a half. Very often on shoot days I would run back from school, rush to the studios for my show and would still be late. I would stand in front of the camera with only half the make-up on and would say, “Hi everybody. Here’s the next song for you!” And then I would put on my mascara. That way only after nearly half the show, would I have my full-make-up on! The show was very well received and fans used to send me collages of my photographs, along with letters and emails. I was also anchoring this show called Darling Darling, for young people in love. Older men and women would often call me and abuse me, saying that I could talk about love and all that, but I shouldn’t be counseling young couples. I would be miffed but I was not in a position to vent my anger, so my producers had to calm me down. I was also known to be talking a little too much!”
The TV show helped her enter films. “I was spotted by a director and my first film Out of Syllabus happened, followed by Notebook,” she says. Eagerly awaiting her Tamil release now, Parvathy says, “I was out of work for over a year and a half. I hadn’t gotten an offer from any industry. Not that I was going for any auditions. It was then that Bharat Bala approached me for this role in the film. I accepted the role immediately, given his outstanding body of work in the past. There was no written agreement or contract, everything was just understood.”
She is all admiration for her co-star Dhanush. “He is a reserved guy, a no-nonsense actor who comes, does his work and leaves. He sticks to his job. We had our share of fun moments as cast and crew, but overall the setup was very professional. We were not there to make friends but to just do our job.” Panimalar, her character in the film is “very sensuous and sexual”, she says. “Although it might not be portrayed on screen, it is implied. She owns Mariyaan completely. She is sexually liberated, crude and certainly not the clichéd type.” As preparation for her role, she went through the “hardest part” of her “research” in Nagercoil, watching fishermen and observing their way of life and work.
So what after Mariyaan? Parvathy says she would like to take a break and wait for the right opportunities to come her way. She adds, “I have played enough of the lover girl, I would like to explore different genres now, and other relationships, something like a story of two girls, or a boy and girl story where there is no love between them, crime thrillers, something that is bold and challenging… I want to prove myself in different genres.