#NewsBytesExclusive: 'Great film doesn't need big stars,' says Darshana Rajendran
Malayalam actor Darshana Rajendran delivered two commercial successes in 2022 - Hridayam and Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey. One of the most bankable actors in Mollywood, Rajendran's next, Purusha Pretham will stream on SonyLIV from Friday. In an exclusive chat with NewsBytes, she talks about the reason behind the success of low-budget Malayalam films, the importance of box office numbers, and more. Excerpts.
What made you say yes to 'Purusha Pretham'?
It's a slow-burner dark comedy. I was initially approached by Prashant Alexander, who plays the lead and is also backing the movie. I had heard a lot about Krishand's film, Aavasavyuham. When Krishand narrated the story of Purusha Pretham to me, it clicked immediately. The dark comedy space is something I personally enjoy, and thus I was looking forward to it.
As an actor, how important is it to trust director?
I am a person who fully trusts the director and his/her vision. I'm a very director-dependent actor who goes to a film set with an empty mind space and lets the director mold me as per the film's need. Acting becomes a fun process when you fully trust your director or co-stars. I'm really lucky to have worked with such directors.
How crucial are box office numbers to you?
I'm very focused on the work I do and try not to think hard about other factors that are not in my control. Those (box office numbers) are things that are a step away for me. Of course, I want the best for my films in terms of money. But for me, it's the process of acting and filmmaking that I focus on.
Why are low-budget Malayalam films more successful than big-budget movies?
Films like Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey aren't focused on the actors but purely on the story. It's the content that gets all the attention. Purusha Pretham is also about that. Basically, you can make a great film without having big stars. With Malayalam cinema, I feel we are getting to do that a lot. It's a great time to be in the industry.
How did OTT shape your career?
C U Soon, co-starring Fahadh Faasil, came right in the middle of a pandemic. Shooting it was a very different experience for me. There are a lot of my friends who know that I am an actor but haven't seen much of my work. C U Soon was the first time that my friends watched my work. And thus, I credit OTT a lot.
Where do you map Malayalam cinema on the world map?
Malayalam cinema is reaching places, internationally. It has a growing audience across the globe. For instance, when I was in Sri Lanka, I realized how big a thing Malayalam films were. Everyone is well-updated with films there, and in fact, they have a separate group for Malayalam movies. It only goes to show that we are getting a wider reach of the audience.