It took several short films and character roles for Amritha Aiyer to land a lead role in Kollywood. The actress made her debut with Padaiveeran, and followed it up with Kaali. But it was her character, Thendral, in the Vijay-starrer Bigil that catapulted her to fame. So much so that her handle on Instagram is now called Amritha–Thendral. “People recognise me as Thendral. I don’t think many of them know my actual name,” smiles the actress.
With Bigil giving her a wide reach, Amritha went on to sign two Telugu films — while one is ready to hit screens, the other one will roll out soon. She has Lift opposite Kavin, and another project that she wants to keep under wraps for now, in Kollywood. With quite a few films in her kitty, the Bengaluru girl says she is happy she decided to chase her dream — of being seen on the silver screen.
“I have always been passionate about acting, but I didn’t know where to start. My friend in Chennai was into modelling and gave me a heads-up about a few shorts and commercials. I was working for a corporate and didn’t want to quit my job. So, I used to shuttle between Chennai and Bengaluru to do ads and short films. When I got selected for Padaiveeran, I decided to quit my job and focus on cinema,” says Amritha. Was she not apprehensive about doing character roles, like in Theri, when she was aspiring to be a lead heroine? “My journey was difficult, but I decided to take that route. I did a lot of short films and small roles hoping that I would get a big role some day. I waited for opportunities and eventually, got it. All I needed to do was to believe in myself,” she answers with a smile.
In fact, her role in Theri helped her land a part in Bigil. “Atlee (director of both the films) sir knew I was into sports (basketball) and when he wrote Bigil, he approached me for the role. I was glad he thought of me and called me for the film. Isn’t that a big thing?” she asks, adding, “It felt like a blessing to be a part of it. I was nervous initially, but became comfortable over time. Vijay sir is very humble and has a lot of patience. All of us, the girls, got along really well, too.” While she knew the film would do well, Amritha says that she didn’t expect she would receive so much love from the audience. “Atlee sir told us that our roles were important and that we would shine. And whatever he told has come true,” she gushes.
Soon after this film, Lift happened. The team had released the first look before the lockdown. “Its unusual story made me sign up for it. As the first look suggested, Kavin and I get stuck in our building’s lift. The entire film happens in a day’s time. It was nice to work with Kavin. We used to discuss our scenes a lot,” she says. So, what’s the latest update on the film? “Honestly, I don’t know. We shot a lot before the lockdown, and we still have a couple of portions left to be shot. A lot of people keep asking me for updates, but I didn’t get any information from the team. Recently, they had done the dubbing, but I was not aware of it. I am a Tamilian and I speak the language fluently. When my manager had asked the team about the dubbing, they told us that they had got someone else to dub for my portions. They didn’t even inform me! You work really hard for a film, and the least you expect is respect. I am disappointed that I couldn’t dub,” says Amritha.
The actress says the lockdown gave her a lot of time to introspect. She recently put out a post, asking her fans if she should get her teeth straightened “I have crooked teeth. Being in this field, everything needs to be perfect, right? I am conscious of it, too. But I didn’t know if I should get my canine fixed or not. So, I had put up a post on Instagram, asking fans for their opinion and many said it was my USP. I’ve now decided not to get my teeth straightened,” laughs Amritha.