A sunny presence on the silver screen for about eight years, Samvritha Sunil is back in Malayalam cinema after a six-year break. Early in 2018, when she came on board as one of the “mentors” of a reality show on the mini-screen, a comeback to cinema seemed on the cards. And it is happening with Sathyam Paranja Viswasikkuvo?, directed by Oru Vadakkan Selfie-fame G Prajith.
“I couldn’t have asked for more. Everything just fell into place,” says Samvritha over the phone from Mahe where the movie is being shot. She is paired opposite Biju Menon in the film scripted by National award-winner, Sajeev Pazhoor.
She plays Geetha, wife of Biju Menon’s character, Sunil. In her words, Geetha “represents a homemaker from a lower middle-class family in Kerala. It is not a full-length character. But she is integral to the storyline and that attracted me to the role,” she explains.
Although she was away from the arc lights after her marriage to Akhil took her to the US, Samvritha says that there was no dearth of offers. “I was offered a few films prior to this. But I felt my son was too young and I was not prepared to take up assignments that involved travelling to India. Also, I wasn’t sure about the kind of roles I would get now. Life was comfortable as a wife and, later, as a mother. However, my husband felt that I should take up good projects that came my way,” she says.
Samvritha avers that Sathyam Paranja... was too good a chance to let go. “The role came at the right time. Our son, Agastya Akhil, turns four in February. Moreover, I have only 15 days of shoot and so I don’t have to stay away from him for long,” says Samvritha.
So how did the first shot go? “(Laughs) I had apprehensions about facing the camera after a long time. But there were no hiccups. The fabulous team made me comfortable. They have clarity about every aspect of the film and that made things easy for me,” she says.
The conversation naturally veers to how Malayalam cinema has changed during her sabbatical. She says both Akhil and she have been watching a lot of movies. “Our movies have become more realistic than before; characters are grounded. Actors are so natural in front of the camera. Those mandatory dream sequences have become rare (chuckles),” she says.
Listing some of her favourite films she saw in the recent past, she says it was an incredible experience watching movies such as Action Hero Biju, Maheshinte Prathikaram, Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum.
“The making and narrative are so real that you feel as if you are looking into the lives of people whom you know. I am thrilled that I am now working in such a project,” she adds.
So did she miss being an actor? “Never, until I faced the camera again!” It was on the sets of Nayika Nayakan (a reality show for wannabe actors on Mazhavil Manorama) that she realised that acting was something that made her happy. The reality show was a learning experience for her and she was surprised when the offer came her way because “I am not an experienced actor. I didn’t know how to connect with the young talents who were high on confidence. While I felt like a newcomer, they were raring to go. So, after the show, I thought I shouldn’t let go of a second innings, if things pan out well,” she says.
Quiz her about the current unrest in Malayalam cinema and Samvritha is guarded. “I was expecting this question. I have been repeatedly asked whether I thought myself lucky to be away from all this. Even though I was living miles away, I knew what was happening here and I have my stand on this. But I don’t want to share it on any public platform and start a discussion,” she asserts.
She keeps herself away from social media too. “I have an official Instagram account, that’s all. I am not cut out for social media,” she says.
Looking ahead, Samvritha says that taking up another project will depend on how well she is able to juggle her professional and personal life. “I might do one movie a year, that too if I am able to work within the limitations I have,” she says.
And in the meantime, she adds: “I love cooking, it makes me happy. I like to experiment with recipes. One day, I might write a food blog or even bring out a recipe book...,” gushes Samvritha.
Lal Jose introduced Samvritha to the industry with his film, Rasikan. Her last movie, Ayaalum Njaanum Thammil, was also directed by him. She has acted in over 45 movies. Some of her standout roles were in Achanurangatha Veedu, Moonamathoral, Vaasthavam, Thirakkatha, Neelathamara, Cocktail, Swapna Sanchari, Diamond Necklace, Manikya Kallu and Arike.
I am not 100% satisfied with any of my roles. But certain characters are special to me because the film worked as a whole, like the ones in Diamond Necklace, Ayaalum Njaanum Thammil, Arabikkatha, Neelathamara.
I exercise and hit the gym whenever I can. That’s all. Running around my son is an exercise in itself.