The young actress of Nadodigal fame, has had the kind of start most Kollywood aspirants would just dream of. Getting hand-picked by director Sasikumar and Samudhirakani to play Sasikumar’s sister in the film has been nothing short of a life-changing experience for this standard tenth student.
She is fortunate to have got into the school of the best director in business, says Abhinaya’s father when we meet her family at their home at Tarnaka, Hyderabad. ‘Abhi is God’s gift to us,’ he says. ‘We are as proud of her confident strides into the industry as we were when she took her first baby steps.’
Abhinaya’s speech and hearing impairment had come to light around that time too. ‘She was like any other infant till I noticed that she wasn’t responding to sounds,’ recalls Hemalatha, her mother.
With years of therapy and training Abhinaya has gained mastery over the sign language and lip reading in English. And with expressive eyes that do most of the talking, communication has hardly been a problem for her.
Abhinaya likes to think that she has got the acting gene from her father, Anand Varma, who has done minor roles in about 50 Telugu and Tamil films till now. She says, ‘I have the entire Nadodigal team to thank for bringing the best out in me. I wish to take up challenging roles in future and prove that anything is possible through hard work and dedication. With the Nadodigal experience behind me I now have the confidence to work in other languages too.
What would she pick as her favourite scene in Nadodigal? we ask. The ‘terrace’ scene is one of my favourites in the movie. That is not to say that the other scenes are any less close to my heart. If there was any issue, it was that I had to shoot the entire movie in paavaadai and T shirts. The paavaadai was too heavy, she smiles.
Abhinaya knows and acknowledges the fact that her parents have been a constant source of encouragement. Their support is my only source of energy. I derive my strength and confidence from them. If I have never felt disabled it is because of their positive attitude.
Her other interests?
She loves pets and Sudoku. She wants everybody around her to be happy all the time, her brothers chip in for her. The whole family is proud of the fact that even without any formal training she is a graceful dancer. ‘We are thrilled to see the kind of recognition she has got in a field which is so full of competition,’ they say.
What has this recognition done to her as a person?
Nothing. I am just the same Abhinaya. Acting in films was an opportunity that I got and I am here to give it my best shot. Fame hasn’t changed me in any way. I have just started. Have a long way to go, she smiles.
Abhinaya’s warmth radiates a positivity around her. Her friendship is infectious. The instant bonding she forms with people is her way of saying that I am one amongst you. I am not any different. At the end of the interview we know we have got more than the answers to our questions.