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    She may be Kamal Haasan’s co-star and a busy singer, but there is a lot you don’t know about actress Andrea Jeremiah

    The movie Thupakki wouldn’t have been the same without the peppy Girlfriend, making us glad Andrea Jeremiah never went ahead with her initial plan of becoming a psychiatrist. The 29-year-old has come a long way from starring in Girish Karnad’s Nagamandala to becoming a playback singer— starting with Kannum Kannum Nokia, Karka Karka, Um Mella Asanthan—and now sharing screen space with the legendary Kamal Haasan. ‘‘I have the soul of a gypsy, always wanting to be on the move. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an air-hostess, and even now, I envy travel show hosts,’’ says the sexy diva, whose Malai Neram (2010) continues to be on demand on radio. Her entry into the  Malayalam film industry was made memorable with Annayum Rasoolum, where she played Anna, an strong working girl. Now, the singer is upbeat about her acting roles in five films—Uttama Villain, Vishwaroopam II, Puthiya Thiruppangal, Taramani and a cameo in Idhu Namma Aalu. On the Malayalam front, there is Loham with Mohanlal. More from her:

    Your third with Kamal Haasan. What have you learnt?
    At a time when mediocre people are celebrated, he is someone who is the gold standard for what talent, passion and single-minded dedication can accomplish. As for a little secret about him, I do know that he likes his coffee black and super strong. In fact, it’s the one thing he likes to offer every new actor on set. But nobody can drink it except for him, it’s so potent. One day, however, while doing a look test for Uttama Villain, I was desperately looking for a good cup of coffee. So he went into his office kitchen and voila—one of the best coffees I’ve had, just the way I like it, semi-strong with a tiny bit of milk and sugar.

    What about Valiyavan?
    Stylist Sarala and director Saravanan have worked very hard on both Jai’s and my look in the film. It’s a slick, well-made commercial entertainer.
    Who do you play in Idhu Namma Aalu?
    I had decided to stop doing anymore guest roles. I initially said no to it, but the director of photography, Balu, personally requested me to do it. It is an adorable story. I’ve never been cast as the cute girl-next-door before and that’s precisely why I accepted this film.

    How do you manage films and write music?
    Last week, I shot for the last song in Valiyavan. Then I shot a couple of nights on the road for my film Taramani, directed by Ram. I had a photo shoot for a magazine the night before I left Chennai. I also quickly recorded a new song that I wrote for Krem Brûlée. This week, I’m in Kochi, working on a Malayalam film. If it’s important to you, you will find a way. If not, you will find an excuse.

    Tell us about Krem Brûlée.
    Prithvi Chandrasekhar and I waited for more than a year to release Flavours and this is our second song, which is  different from our first (Never Let You Go). We have another song releasing soon and we are working on a new ballad. It’s so refreshing for me to sing my own songs and put forth my musical ideas.

    Are you a musician first?
    Both chronologically and preferentially, I am first and foremost a musician. It keeps me grounded and slightly detached in the film world, which is very important to keep one’s sanity.

    Director wish list?
    When I entered this industry, I told myself that if only I worked with AR Rahman and Mani Ratnam, I could retire happily. Sadly, that hasn’t happened yet.
    Valiyavan is scheduled to release today.

    — Mrinalini Sundar

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