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Actor Poorna (left) and a still from 'Jannal Oram'

Poorna’s priorities clearly clash with that of her famous lookalike, Asin (a comparison made by actor Vijay). Unlike her Bollywood counterpart, who has always favoured glamour, this Malayalam actress would rather do performance-oriented roles. So in her next Tamil release, Jannal Oram, a remake of Malayalam film Ordinary, she plays the supporting role of a woman who has lost her lover. “I was more keen on taking up this role as I have some intense scenes in it. It’s only a misconception that Tamil cinema loves going over-the-top. My director was clear about the measure of subtlety I should bring to my role. He wanted my eyes to talk,” she shares.

Remake formula
Being part of remakes isn’t new to her. Her first Telugu film, Sri Mahalakshmi (2007) was a remake of the Malayalam film, Chinthamani Kolacase. Ironically, despite appearing in a slew of Malayalam films since 2004, Poorna tasted success with her Tamil movie, Muniyandi Vilangial Moonramandu. She was bang on as the feisty Madhumita who rebukes her lover in the name of religion.

It’s only recently that Poorna has managed to bag big banners in Malayalam cinema.Last year, she did the remake of Chattakkari (Julie in Hindi) which originally starred Lakshmi and which helped her to get enough mileage in Malayalam cinema. In Tamil, she is doing Thagaraaru with Arulnithi, Padam Pesum, a crime thriller with Shakti Vasu and Arjunan Kadhali with Jai. “I am really not interested in sticking to glamourous roles. I want to experiment with all kind of characters. I don’t believe in fussing about the length of my role or shying away from doing mature roles. I am an actor, I should be able to do all kind of roles ,” she tells me.

Passion for dance
A trained classical dancer and the former winner of a dance reality show on Amrita TV, Poorna makes time for shows all over the country. Today she is the permanent judge on the same show that made her the winner. Off the sets, she loves spending time with family and admits to being averse to parties. So no time for love? “You can’t predict such things but for now I want to give career my best shot. Love can wait,” she signs off.

— Neelima Menon