Anna Ben, known for her roles in the critically praised Malayalam films 'Kappela' and 'Kumbalangi Nights,' says she does not want to become a "safe" performer because of her recent success. The 26-year-old actor made her debut in the 2019 drama 'Kumbalangi Nights,' and she followed it up with the survival-thriller 'Helen,' which won two National Awards the same year.
In 2020, Ben headlined the acclaimed 'Kappela', featuring Sreenath Bhasi and Roshan Mathew and then had her Prime Video release "Sara's", last year.
In an interview, Ben said her aim now is to find ways to evolve and not get comfortable as a performer.
"I want to make mistakes, figure out all kinds of movies, see what I enjoy the most and not be someone who plays safe. Probably I will have a few hiccups here and there on the films that I have chosen, but I want to do that earlier on. I want to push myself.
"Just because I have done three-four films that have done really well, I don't want to be safe. Right now, especially, I want to experiment so that later on I have my space and wisdom," she added.
Ben said one of her biggest challenges right now is to be on the lookout for interesting projects, which will give her the opportunity to do something "out of the box".
"Especially when you are starting out and you get good scripts, you tend to hold back in trying new things and playing new characters out of fear, but that is something I don't want to do. I don't mind having a few films which don't do well right now rather than later on.
"Everytime people tell me my choices have been great, I get scared whether they will like the next one. It is a gamble that you take when a story moves you. Like any other actor, I know I can go wrong in the future, and I don't mind," she added.
The actor is currently seen in her latest theatrical release, 'Narandan'.
The Aashiq Abu directorial features 'Minnal Murali' star Tovino Thomas as a TV news anchor and is a stinging commentary on the sensationalism practised by broadcast journalism.
The political-thriller stars Ben as a lawyer and the actor said it was a difficult role for her to pull off.
"Because I play a lawyer in the film, it required a completely different space of performance. The entire persona of hers is different from what I am as a person. She is louder, more constructive. Her screen time is also less so the challenge was to ensure that the audience understands who she is, within that screen time.
"So you have to be more careful with nuances. She is a lawyer so it was a dialogue-heavy part. In some of my previous roles, I have consulted my directors and writers before tweaking my lines, but here that wasn't the case. There was a lot of homework I had to do, I would write the lines and learn. I just wanted to get it right," she added.
The film has opened in cinemas at a time when conversations around "pan-India" movies have been the focal point for many in the trade, after the success of titles like 'Baahubali', 'Master' and 'Pushpa' in the northern territories.
But Ben, who hails from Vypin island in Kerala, doesn't want to design her career in a way that she becomes a pan-India star.
"The OTT platforms have no doubt made my work reach a wider audience. But I don't want to put myself under the pressure of spotlights. The whole pan-India aspiration is great and I am glad films today are doing well, irrespective of geographical boundaries, but I just want to focus on my art. I am not thinking about anything else," she added.
[With Inputs From PTI]