On journey into cinema
Sanjana shares, “Acting was never a plan. I wanted to join as an assistant director after graduating from college. I was interning with Awesome Machi as a graphic designer. My producer there wanted me to act in their concept videos, and I did it for the money. Eventually I started working in series and short films, and that’s when I got an opportunity to audition for Vadhandhi.” Seeing the backdrop—Pushkar and Gayathri, S. J. Suryah, Laila, etc.—Sanjana decided to give it a shot, and that’s how she became the Velonie we all know now.
On first shot experience
“It was a walking sequence, and I was equally nervous and excited. I was well prepared both physically and mentally. I was asked to shed some kilos, and I attended a workshop with Kalairani ma’am,” she explains. Vadhandhi—a crime drama—was created by Pushkar and Gayathri under the banner of Wall watcher Films and directed by Andrew Louis. This Tamil Amazon Original series stars S.J. Suryah, Laila, M. Nasser, Vivek Prasanna, Kumaran Thangarajan, and Smruthi Venkat in lead roles.
On working in Vadhandhi
“Auditioning for Velonie moulded me; I literally felt the fear leaving my body while performing in front of my director and creators. Overcoming the fear factor is crucial in any art form, and I am happy that I overcame mine within seconds,” she smiles. When asked about her experience working with SJ Suryah and Laila, she says, “Both were sweet and down-to-earth, and they made me feel comfortable. I was more of an observer, and I am grateful that I got to work with such talented people on my debut project.” Vadhandhi had live audio, so only the voice overs needed dubbing. Sanjana believes that dubbing holds the essence of a character, and she wants to do the dubbing herself in her future works too.
On workshop with Kalairani
Kalairani is an actress who has worked in films like Mudhalvan, Alaipayuthey, Anbe Sivam, Boys, etc. She is also a performer in the Koothu P. Pattarai group. As part of her preparation for Velonie, Sanjana attended Kalairani’s workshop. “Learning from Kalairani Ma’am was a life-altering experience. The way she is approaching an emotion, her nuances, inspired me. I have this new-found respect for the art and its techniques,” she says.
On Lubber Pandhu
“My character in Lubber Pandhu is way different from Velonie. I want to do justice to what I have in my hand right now. I’m really looking forward to Lubber Pandhu,” she elaborates. When asked about how she chooses her scripts, she says, “I am very picky; I should be able to see myself in the character. I do believe in my gut.” Earlier, Sanjana had faced rejections, but Vadhandhi changed everything for her. “I am greedy to work with everyone and in every genre.”
On getting nominated for the JFW Movie Awards 2023
Sanjana has been nominated for best actress in an OTT series alongside Sriya Reddy, Aishwarya Rajesh, and Anjali. On talking about the same, she says, “I feel honoured. I loved Sriya Reddy mam’s work in Suzhal: The Vortex. I am looking forward to the results.”
“People tend to assume that I am not a native speaker of Tamil. Na Tamil Nalla Pesuven” (I am fluent in Tamil), she ends with a smile.