No debut blues for Manjima Mohan

Having been a child artiste, Manjima Mohan is not new to facing the camera. For Malayali film-goers, however she became all the more endearing after this year’s smash hit Oru Vadakkan Selfie. The Tamil audience is waiting with bated breath for Gautham Menon’s Achcham Enbadhu Madamaiyada, which she is currently filming. 

Surprisingly enough, just the trailer of OVS was enough for Gautham to pick Manjima as his leading lady replacing Pallavi Subhash, who walked out of the project citing date issues. “To work with a director like Gautham sir and a top star like Silambarasan is a dream debut. I didn’t have second thoughts about accepting the film. Gautham sir likes to take his time — he doesn’t pressure you and gives you space and time to learn,” says Manjima, adding that she didn’t have any misgivings about replacing anyone, as for the name ‘Gautham Menon’ was enough to convince her. 

She is also equal in her praise for Simbu, whom she bills as a natural. “I take my time to learn my lines. It is the opposite with Simbu, who doesn’t waste time on memorising lines. All he has to do is get a gist of the scene from Gautham sir to work his magic. He’s an incredible actor,” gushes the 22-year-old, who is the daughter of acclaimed Malayalam cinematographer Vipin Mohan. 

Most imports from Kerala shy away from glamour and Manjima clarifies that she belongs to that tribe as well. “I know that Gautham sir would want a lip-lock if it goes with the script. I made it clear right from the beginning that I wasn’t comfortable with kissing scenes or revealing clothes, at least not at this point in my career,” she says, adding, “I don’t understand why people in the showbiz associate glamour with exposing. You can look just as ravishing in a salwar or a saree.” 

After OVS, which was a run-away hit in Malayalam, curiously enough it is not just Kollywood that can’t get enough of the pretty girl. “There have been a lot of offers from the Telugu industry. I think I will give it some more time before I lock something good,” she says, adding on a concluding note that she hasn’t given any thought to straddling industries but would just go with the flow as of now.
Published in TIMES OF INDIA Daily English News Paper Dated 26-11-2015