Saturday, October 12, 2013

Blowing up the Indian Prime Minister

Tinu Menachery, who plays a suicide bomber in the film, 'Madras Cafe', talks about her experiences
By Shevlin Sebastian
On the first day of her shoot in the Hindi film, ‘Madras Café’, in the Vypeen Islands, off Kochi, Tinu Menachery felt scared. She had a touch of hydrophobia. And she had to be on a boat, which was supposed to be coming from Jaffna to the coast of India. When Tinu expressed her apprehension, the assistant director Arjun said, “Don't worry, it will be a long shot so your face will not be seen.”
However once the shot was done, the director Shoojit Sircar asked Tinu whether she was afraid of water. Tinu nodded. “Fear was written all over your face,” he said. “Let us do it again.”
This time, Tinu thought about pleasant subjects like her college life. As a result, she looked relaxed and natural. “What I really liked about Shoojit Sir was that even though it was a small scene, he was very particular that the right expressions were shown,” says Tinu.
The dusky actress – a Malayali who grew up in Mumbai – was playing a suicide bomber of the Liberation of Tamils Front who blows up the Indian Prime Minister in the last scene. As for the type of person the bomber is, Tinu says, “She is introverted and shy, while I am an outgoing and jovial person. So I had to contain all my energy and not be myself, while depending on Shoojit Sir to guide me.”
One unusual aspect was that Tinu looked plain and devoid of make-up in the film. “People were shocked to see my face,” says Tinu. “But it was not a hard decision to be unglamorous since I looked upon the role as a great opportunity.”
What made Tinu feel good was when the director praised her. “Shoojit Sir told me that I have expressive eyes and even if I don't say much in a scene, my eyes talk a lot,” she says. “My postures are good. The moment he says, 'Action', I do have visible changes in my body.”
Tinu is also having visible changes in her life now. And it all began rather accidentally. A friend suggested that she send her CV for the Glad Rags model competition in 2008 in Mumbai. She did so, and was selected. “And when I walked the ramp I found a happiness that I had never experienced before,” says Tinu.
Thanks to her 5’8” height, she got several modelling jobs – Ritu Kumar, Levis, Lee, Amprapali Jewellery, among many others.
From there, she gravitated to television where she got a role in a serial on Star Plus. Thereafter, she acted in a Malayalam film, ‘Kaash’. And soon, she heard that there were auditions for ‘Madras Café’. “They were looking for a particular type of person,” says Tinu. “After the screen test, I was selected.”

Not surprisingly, her best moment occurred was when she met the hero, John Abraham on the set. “I looked stupid because I was so much in awe of him,” says Tinu. “He is extremely good-looking and a nice person to talk to. I thought John would have starry airs, but he was humble. One day, John was having a chat with another person and I was sitting right behind them. And I was listening to the conversation and thinking, ‘Oh my God, do they still make these type of guys nowadays?’” 

(The New Indian Express, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram)

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