I do not believe in preparation says Varalaxmi Sarathkumar

CHENNAI: Varalaxmi Sarathkumar’s latest film ‘Sabari’, releasing on May 3, stars her as an anxious single mother. It is a character that would otherwise require an actor to do some homework. However, Varalaxmi does not believe in elaborate preparations before essaying a role, which is surprising given that her over-a-decade-old career encompasses everything from regular commercial film leads to a menacing villain to supporting characters with emotional arcs. Instead of extensive homework, Varalaxmi says, “I observe a character, the emotion in that role, and a scene’s tone, and perform accordingly.”

Delving more into the film, she says, “’Sabari’ operates both as an emotional story between a mother and her daughter who are pushed to the brink and as a mind-bending psychological thriller.”

Going by its trailer, what it also has is a set of intense chase and stunt sequences. Talking about her fitness journey and how helpful it is in pulling off Sabari’s stunts, Varalaxmi says, “My line of work is my primary motivation to take up the weight loss journey, but some health issues made it all the more necessary for ‘Sabari’. My current body frame makes me feel at ease while performing stunts. Earlier, I might hurt my knee trying to do a stunt fall. In general, I believe one can be healthy in any shape; if you can walk up a flight of stairs without panting, you are healthy no matter how you look.”

However, Varalaxmi confirms that ‘Sabari’ has no quintessential fight scenes. “Though I am now open to doing stunts, their placement shouldn’t feel forced,” says the actor while adding, “The stunts in Sabari are designed in a way that the lead fights impulsively, like a cornered cat.”

When it comes to Varalaxmi and Mime Gopi’s approaches to film and character choices, the latter says that he will take on even a one-scene role as long as it leaves an impact. “It is necessary that I am told how my character interacts with others in scenes. More importantly, the roles should appeal to the actor in me and have novelty,” he says. In agreement with her co-star, Varalaxmi reveals, “It is necessary for me too; if something in the film or my role is attractive, I would readily sign up for it.” Of course, Varalaxmi has played negative roles in films such as ‘Sarkar’, ‘Sandakozhi 2’, ‘Veera Simha Reddy’, and ‘Kondraal Paavam’. Talking about these roles, Varalaxmi says, “I am not gravitating towards them, but they choose me. Further, people like to see me in roles that challenge the leading men in my films. I felt honoured hearing from fans that, after Ramya Krishnan ma’am, they like seeing me give male heroes a run for their money on screen.”

On the other hand, Gopi regards the late actor Raghuvaran as his inspiration for mostly taking up bad-guy roles in films. Having his roots in mime, a purely visual form of art, Gopi says his transition to the audio-visual medium of cinema has been smooth. “Mime is the first way of communication among people, as sounds and languages only emerged later on. I have to convincingly convey a statement solely with expressions in a mime performance. Do you think I will find it hard to transfer a piece of information orally? Not really.”

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