Evolution for an artist is a continuous process. As time progresses, an actor learns more and develops as a human being as well. One is therefore aware of the changes that experience and maturity bring in one’s life. Actor Sudha Chandran talks about her journey so far.
“Actors have to evolve with the period of time. When I started 35 years ago, the acting at the time was much different to what happens now. I started with movies in the south. At that time the pattern of acting was very different. Today when I come to the Hindi industry or on OTT platforms, certain directors want to be very natural and mild, while others want me to be a little loud. It all depends on the character. Yes, it’s very important like I always said. I am a director's actor. I believe every project is the director’s baby and that way it becomes easier for me. I feel directors know how every character should be performed. As an actor, that makes me evolve over a period of time. I can swing between a very settled to an extremely over-acting performance. I will give the credit of my growth to my directors,” she says.
In presenting an actor or a scene perfectly, there are a lot of people working behind the screen. However, at the end of it, only the actor gets all the limelight.
Agreeing, Sudha Chandran adds, “When I came into this industry, I was only like this wet clay ready to be moulded. I was very fortunate that I got the best of directors and the best of technicians. With them I always stayed in the learning process, from my first film Mayuri to my show Naagin, I have always evolved. I personally feel that it is the technicians, directors and the team that always helped me to grow. I definitely feel lucky that I have been working with the best of directors who have moulded me so well. Many people in this long journey of mine have stood behind me, and taught me what a good performance is, how to change performances and how to get into the skin of the character. I want to thank all my directors, producers, productions, the technical teams that stand with me which means my make-up, costumes, hair, the light departments, everybody. I personally think that what we are today a lot comes from them.”
Feedback is important for an actor. But many can’t take criticism. They only want to hear nice things about their craft.
“It’s very important to be open to criticism because you are a public figure. When I started, I came as Mayuri, a very simple-looking girl and people said that ‘she got that very girl next door image’, we don’t think that she will fit into the glam roles and demands of a feature film or television. But it was the same media which accepted me as Ramola Sikand in ‘Kaahin Kissii Roz’. When I started ‘Kaahin Kissii Roz’ the makeup was a little garish, my lashes used to be really long and the costume was loud, the jewellery was heavy, and the bindi I put on was huge. Later, all that became a craze. I remember telling Ekta (Kapoor), how people are criticising my makeup, and she said Suddha ji remember to go by your conviction and it will reach the audience. If it’s meant badly, then I would ‘I am what I am, and I will take full responsibility for whatever I am presenting on screen’,” she states.
Actors have their individual ways to break the monotony of the profession. Sudha Chandran has her own style too.
“I have been working in Hindi and South Indian films. I did both emotional and strong characters. I have always tried to break the monotony. I also take my intermittent gap in between projects because it's very important to introspect and refresh before you restart. Many times, it happens that you feel tired at work. At that moment, I always tell myself ‘Suddha you need to take a break, come back again with more energy and you can do magic’. In those little gaps you also give time to your family life, which you miss out on while working, more so if you are doing daily soaps. And every time, after the break when I take on a new project it excites me,” she smiles.
About variety in her performance, she adds, “I always see a lot of films and television as well and learn a lot from actors. I don't copy them but yes, I do get influenced by their performance. Let me give you an example. I am a huge fan of Mohanlal sir and Shivaji Ganesan sir. I don't think that there are any characters that they have not done. For me, they are an encyclopedia in themselves. Whenever I have to refer to Mohanlal sir’s films in Malayalam and Tamil and of course Shivaji sir who has been a thespian I normally take a lot of references from them. I do not match those acting skills but see if I can improve my skills from whatever I have learnt from them.”
Sharing three tips that she wants to give upcoming actors, Sudha says, “Firstly, there are a lot of people in the industry who are like ‘I don't have something to do that's why I chose acting’. This is something that really bugs me because I think it's very important that they should take acting as a very serious profession. This industry deserves your love and respect. So have patience and you will get what you deserve. Don’t get frustrated, be professional, committed, truthful, and true to yourself and your profession. Make sure that you don't take your work lightly. It’s a very hardworking industry so put in your best and most importantly wait for your turn. That time will definitely come, ‘sabka time aata hai, aur ayega bhi’.”