“You know something? KPAC Lalitha chechi had called up to compliment my performance in Chandanamazha. That was like an award-winning moment.” Shalu Kurian sounds like she is over the moon when she shares the news with us. “She said that I am different from the many vamps on television who merely roll their eyes and go overboard with their dialogues and body language,” says Shalu, during a break on the sets of Chandanamazha in the city.
Varsha, her out and out negative character in the serial, plays all her cards to get married into a rich family and make life hell for her cousin Anjali who is also married into the same family. What makes her performance stand out is the subtlety that she brings into her acting. “I don’t know how I do it,” she puts it straight. “May be it comes from my serious approach to acting. I am inspired by many performances and try to bring certain elements in my performance,” she says.
That could be the reason why she is equally comfortable while playing another negative role in Sarayu, aired on Surya TV. She plays Rajani, who cheats on her husband and goes out of the way to help her lover. “Rajani is different from Varsha in that her character is closer to real life. She is an idiot, but has her share of negatives as well. The characters are totally different in their screen appearance as well. Varsha has to look rich and so I have to wear loud costumes and matching accessories, whereas to play Rajani I have gone make-up free in many episodes,” she says.
And if you want to see Shalu in another look, tune in to Kudumba Police on Kairali TV. She plays a police constable, Alice, wife of a sub inspector. “The comic situations in our lives is the narrative. Each episode is a new story,” she says.
Shalu, who belongs to Kottayam, has been in the industry for the last eight years, doing films, serials, anchoring and advertisements. “I have had a slow and steady career. I am a trained dancer and it eventually gave me a role in a documentary. Then I got my first film, Jubilee and I went on to do a handful of movies, the latest being Romans and Test Paper, the first sponsored movie in Malayalam,” she says.
Her one-off serial during the period was Thingalum Tharakangalum on Amrita TV. “That was a time when I wanted to do only movies even though many of my movies didn’t do well, because there was a perception that once you become a familiar face on the small screen, film offers won’t come your way. But now I realise that is all wrong because there are many artistes who are balancing cinema and serials.”