Abarnathi : Meet Pavithra From Irugapatru!

A rising star in the making.

There are times when movie characters stay with you long after it gets over. When a character is brought to life by an actor’s sincere performance, it makes an indelible mark in the hearts and minds of the audience. Amid glitz and glamour, an artist emerges whose sheer sincerity and simplicity lights up the screen. Abarnathi’s earnest portrayal of Pavithra got her raving reviews, her character was relatable to many women that she instantly became a household name. We meet the girl behind the doe-eyes and get to know her better in an exclusive interview with JFW.

Irugapatru is a story about marriages, love, companionship and mental health, how one person’s insecurity could be the reason for the downfall of this institution. It’s such an honest take on marriages, so real and unfiltered, that it was greatly appreciated by critics and audiences. What made the movie a success were the performances, each actor played their part to perfection. When you can’t differentiate the actor from the character, you know they have done their jobs flawlessly.

Born in Kumbakonam and brought up in Chennai, Abarnathi studied Fashion Technology and wants to open her design studio one day. While studying, she got a chance to venture into modelling and that’s how she entered the field. “I did a reality show in my final year of college called Enga Veetu Mapillai which was a match-making show for actor Arya. I got popular from there and that’s when I got my first chance to work in Tamil Cinema. My first film was with Director Vasantha Balan Sir and my co-star was GV Prakash, the movie is called Jail. Vasantha Balan sir’s wife used to regularly watch the reality show and she recommended me since my personality was similar to the role that they had in mind, my bold way of talking and attitude.”

From there she got an opportunity to work in a second film titled Thaen. “My second film was Thaen, it was based on real incidents related to Government ID cards, Aadhar and the water can issue. We shot in Theni. I had to prepare for this role, so I went and stayed at the place before the shoot. I got to interact with the girls and women there. I could understand and adapt their body language, mannerisms, the way they talk. And that helped me play the part. This was also a serious film that talked about the issues faced by the people living in remote areas and villages.”

She’s a young 26 year old girl, but in Irugapatru, she plays a married woman with a new-born baby who is trying to convince her husband to not get a divorce. When we asked her how she gets into character for something like this, she said , “ Complete credit goes to the director. He’s worked on this script for 8 years. For every scene, he would explain the plot with such depth and feel, it was easy after that. The only challenge I had was to gain weight and then lose weight. When Yuvaraj Sir shared the script with me, I was sure that I wanted to do the film. I would get to show a transformation in a character, which means I get to play two versions of her. That was exciting. Even physically appearance wise, I start a little overweight in the film and transform into someone fitter and stronger.”

“The team was excellent. Working with Vidaarth sir was a little intimidating, but I would prepare in advance. Also, my personality is very different from that of Pavithra, I’m very jovial and upfront which she isn’t. During the shoot, I would be quiet and settle for Pavithra and as soon as they say cut, I would break into my real personality. There is one emotional scene in the film where I’m begging my husband to not give me a divorce and accept my love. After the end of this scene, I just burst out laughing. That’s me. I can get in and out of character like that.”

After doing mature and serious roles, now Abarnathi wants to get into comedy. Her role as Pavithra had a bit of a humorous undertone to it, when people noticed it and appreciated her, she realised that’s something she wants to explore. She’s currently signed 2 new projects, “ One is a political drama that’s to do with the issues of the current generation and the other is about street-food and hotel-food industry. It’s a suspense and thriller movie which I’m excited about.”
“The love I received for Irugapatru is unbelievable. I got calls and messages of appreciation from Dulquer Sir, Tovino Sir, Aishwarya Lekshmi Maam, Karthi Sir. Getting recognition by actors who do such great work was the high point. I got really sweet messages from the audience on social media, one person messaged me saying even she struggled with her weight but watching me in the film gave her motivation. That made my day, to be able to reach people with your work is priceless.”

We asked her if she had a list of filmmakers and actors that she dreams of working with, she said, “ I want to work with Sudha Kongara Ma’am. The way she takes a story and gives equal importance to the women artists in the film, I eagerly wait for a chance to work for her. I also want to do a new-age romantic movie,like how Mani Ratnam Sir did Ok Kanmani or Alay Payuthey. I want to be part of stories like that, the ones that reach out to a generation of people.”

She wants to open her fashion boutique in Chennai in the next couple of years, that’s her dream. Acting happened by chance, she said she got it in a lucky draw and decided to go with the flow. A warm, passionate young actor who is conscious about the roles she’s taking, Abarnathi is a rising star in the making.

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