Performing in three different languages was breathtaking – Divinaa
Very few people get the opportunity to play a character as magnificent and intense as Lady Macbeth in their debut film. Divinaa Thackur is one of those few lucky actors to bag this role in the trilingual film Veeram. But it has not been an easy ride for the debutante.
Her very first film required the actress to learn martial arts, put on almost 10 kgs and master Malayalam, a language she was alien to. But Divinaa absorbed it all and loved every moment of it. Here’s what the actress shared with us about her experience.
Tell us about your foray into acting. Was acting always on your mind?
Acting has been there in my mind since childhood. I always craved for a platform of the artistic world to showcase my talent. The journey of acting began from taking professional training under the guidance of Barry John followed by theatre, hundreds of auditions, TVCs and then finally, my debut Veeram happened.
How did you bag Veeram? What was it about the role that drew you to the film?
It was the usual audition process. Director Jayaraj happened to see my audition tape which was with the casting director, Meera. A meeting with the director was followed by a proper look test, a few script readings and sword rehearsals and finally I got the confirmation to play the lead in the film.
Were there apprehensions due to the action requirements of the role?
No, not at all. Infact! I was very excited. Action was one of the reasons that I badly wanted to bag this film.
How did you prepare for the role, did you refer to the original Macbeth for inspiration? What did your training for the action comprise?
To play Lady Macbeth in such a grand film is a like a dream come true. I put in my heart and soul to prepare it. Yes, I did refer to the original play, watched almost all the adaptations of Macbeth like Throne of Blood, Roman Polanski’s Macbeth, Maqbool etc.
I prepared an entire character study which included what kind of music Kuttimani (Her character of Lady Macbeth in Veeram) would enjoy, her mannerisms, body language and so on. A lot of interpersonal communication went into the process of getting into the skin of Kuttimani.
The initial action training was to build strong muscles and develop a strong core, followed by basic Kalari (Kalaripayattu) moves like defense mechanisms, several types of kicks, different animal stances, kalari salutation etc. At the later stage, we had to undergo rigorous weapon training for almost three months, which led to lot of bloodshed.
What are your views on the increasing number of actresses performing their own action stunts?
It’s awe-inspiring! When I see girls like Sonakshi Sinha, Taapsee Pannu etc., performing such die-hard action sequences in films, I feel more encouraged and proud of my future colleagues (smiles). I am assuming it equally stimulates the normal girls to pursue martial arts to defend themselves in back-breaking situations.
Since Veeram was a trilingual, what was the experience of shooting the film like?
The experience of performing in three different languages was breathtaking. As an actor, it was very challenging and I love tough tasks. With every language, the length of lines differs, the movement differs, the facial expression changes etc. As an actor the challenge was to pull off the scenes in all the three languages with equal, if not more intensity.
What were the other challenges you faced on this film? How would you sum up the journey of your first film?
Challenges were many! The most difficult part was to put on weight and at the same undergo hard core Kalari training. It was a very tricky situation for me as I had to put on almost 10 kgs of weight. The second challenge was learning Malayalam, one of the most difficult languages in the world. I refer to it as a tongue twister. It took me almost a month to master my lines in Malayalam. It started with the basic understanding of the language; the sounds, enunciation, etc. followed by learning the flow, meaning of the lines and understanding the subtext. This journey of mega study of learning the language with the help of a Mallu friend in Mumbai was truly memorable.