Malvi Malhotra was recently noticed for her Malayalam film — Abhyuham alongside Ajmal Amir, Rahul Madhav and Akhil Sreenivasan. She is kicked about how the South Indian film industry has welcomed her and has been loving her work. Her upcoming projects include Tiragabhadara Saami in Telugu, Chasmish, a webseries on an OTT platform in Hindi, another film titled Zorawar di Jacqueline in Hindi on an OTT platform, and another south Indian film. Her Tamil film is a remake of the super-hot Malayalam film Ring master, where she is playing Keerthi Suresh’s role.

Here are a few excerpts from a heart-to-heart conversation with Malvi.

Can you tell us about your recent release Abhyuham and what excited you about this project?
It was an exciting project for me as I had a very deglamourised character. The script is very different and unique. My role is that of a rubber-tapping girl in a forest. This really helped me to grow as an actor, since Malayalam films are known for their stories and direction. I had a lot of fun shooting for this film. Right now I’m so happy that Abhyuham has been running successfully in theatres and we have received a great response.

How did you prepare for the character?
I played the role of a rubber-tapping worker. I used to be with the actual forest workers to prepare for this role. These women would start their day at 4 am and they would go to work. They would sit together with other women and have their food during lunch time. They have a very different lifestyle from what we lead normally, so I lived their life for about a week. I lived in their house and lived exactly how they lived. I practiced rubber tapping work every day to master the skill and to make it look very natural. I actually lost 4 kgs as there’s so much labour work involved in this work. It was a lot of learning and a lot of interesting time for all of us.

Everyday we learn something different. What is your take away from this film?
Everyday we learnt something from each other. I didn’t have to worry about my hair, my makeup, my touchup or my looks as it was all very natural. I just had to focus on my acting and play my character well. It was my first script where I didn’t have to worry about my makeup and looks at all. This really fascinated me and opened a different side of the film industry for me. This is something which will live with me forever.

You’re doing lots of projects in multiple languages. What are the challenges you faced?
The only challenge I faced working in different languages was the dialogues. I had to prepare for the scenes and learn the dialogues by heart. Since I’m not very familiar with the language I wasn’t able to improvise much on the sets and just act how I was told to. I would love to learn more of Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada so that I can perform better in my future film projects in the South Indian film industry.

You worked in Bollywood also. How was your experience to working in Hindi film industry?
I have worked with all the amazing actors in Hindi films. Hindi is my mother tongue so that helps to improvise on the characters I’m playing. I love working in Hindi films.

South vs North has always been the talk of the town. Did you ever face any consequences of nepotism in the industry?
I haven’t faced any nepotism issues. I always got good work through auditions. I prepared well during my auditions and it worked well for me. If you do your auditions well it really helps. I have been lucky to have got good work so far and have worked in some wonderful films. I hope to continue doing the good work in the near future as well.

What has been the most significant lesson you’ve learned in your journey?
I have always tried to give my best. The only thing I’ve learned so far is to never give up. Keep trying and give your best until things fall in place. There’s always a right time and a right place for everything.

You worked in small screen also. Do you ever plan to get back to the small screens?
I started my career with Udaan on the small screen. I always dreamt of doing films and I’m happy where my career is going so far, but in case something good comes up for a small screen project, I don’t mind doing it.

You were stabbed by stalkers and it’s been almost three years now? How do you deal and how has your recovery been?
It was a nightmare and I have overcome it. The case is still going on and I’m still fighting for it. My recovery has been fine but when I think of it, I still get a nightmare. My parents have been very supportive and have helped me overcome that nightmare.

From theatre to films, you have had a very interesting journey in the entertainment industry. How would you describe it?
Theatre really helped me to be a good performer. It feels great when your director praises you for your good work. I always thank my theatre background that has helped me hone my acting skills. Every actor should always do theatre. It really helps. It’s been a great transition from theatre to films.

The acting profession looks rather lucrative but comes with its own fair share of challenges. What according to you is the hardest part about being an actor?
Its great being an actor but it comes with its tough side also. The hardest part about being an actor is that one has to always be on their toes. One has to constantly keep travelling, being active, sometimes you don’t get enough sleep and you may become restless too. But this is the life I chose and I always wanted my life to be like this, so I will always cherish it and work towards getting better and better.

What are some of your future projects we should look out for?
I always look for great scripts and good characters to play in my films. Right now I’m playing a blind girl in my Tamil film. I always try and pick offbeat characters and I feel instead of being a glam doll, I should play the roles that people will love me for and not just for my looks. I opt for character-oriented roles that have a depth in it. I will always continue to look for such meaningful roles in the future also. I have a few south Indian movies lined up and am also doing a Punjabi and Hindi web series.