On the sets of director Aji John’s second movie venture ‘Namukku Parkkan’, we met Meghna Raj who swept many young hearts off their feet as she demurely floated onto the screen in the December 2011 movie ‘Beautiful’, drenched in rain drops and carrying oodles of freshness which the camera caught merrily for the viewers. But sitting in front of us, she is another character altogether. A far cry from the seductress that Meghna performed so convincingly in ‘Beautiful’. Here this very young and bubbly artist is getting transformed into a mother of two kids struggling with her husband to make their dream of having a home of their own a reality.
Meghna is totally at ease. But not fully, “My fear is whether the director would scold me. But Aji John is an extremely cool person who knows his craft. And he says what he wants and lets the artist do the job. I am totally comfortable here.” And she has her own way of dealing with the very mature character she is playing. “I do not have to strain to perform as a mother of two. Even in a normal circumstance when you are with people younger to you, you normally feel older and mature. The same works for me here.” No doubt Meghna, a Bangalorean who entered the world of Cinema in 2009 with the Telungu ‘Bendu Apparao RMP’ knows exactly what she is doing.
Director Vinayan was actually looking for a face to play a ‘divine looking ghost’ in Yakshiyum Njanum’ in 2010, found the face in a magazine and zoomed in on Meghna. And she totally enjoyed acting it out. "I cried on the last day of the shooting.” And the incident on the sets where as she was dancing on a raised platform with water all around and there was a loud scream followed by most of the crew around getting electrocuted and running for their lives while she herself stood safe but scared was for Mehghna as spooky as the ghost that she played. Then came Meghna’s stint in a few Malayalam movies till ‘Beautiful’ came her way, where she played ‘Anjali’ with elan.
Meghna’s transformation, from a Christ College campus biology freak looking forward to become a doctor, who hardly bothered about her appearance to this very elegant lady who shed her kilos to keep herself fit, has definitely not changed her as a person. “I am extremely friendly but I do not open up till I am comfortable with people. I am myself, as always. I step out when I want to. For me what is important is being true to myself more than anything else.” Reading is her passion that takes her into another world. So is dance.” As I was in the NCC, I even wanted to join the Army but as their only child, my parents were not happy with the idea.”
With two of her Tamil movies, ‘Kalla Sirippazhaga’ and ‘Nandha Nandhita’
waiting to be released and ‘Mullamottum Munthiricharum’ and another
movie directed by Anjali Varma in Malayalam also on the list, this
talented youngster looks all set to fly. “But my first experience in
front of the camera was a great lesson. I was over confident and fell
down as I was dancing for the shot. Then I knew that this is not a
joke.” But more lessons were to come. Though Meghna says, “Extremely
realistic movies are not of my liking,” the lessons in performing that
she picked up from her colleagues in Malayalam cinema are held valuable
Meghna with her mother
Meghna’s onscreen chemistry with Anoop Menon has been welcomed with open
arms by all. “Anoop is an extremely friendly person with a different
style of working. He hardly strains himself and he explains what he
expects from you. And he reciprocates to your performance.” And VKP or
VK Prakash who did ‘Beautiful’ was again an ‘amazing’ person to work
with. “He is a man who is simply open to ideas. He would simply tell me
to just go and do it the way I want to. When stylist Veena came and I
was decked up with make up and curly hair, VKP screamed, “Who the hell
are you?” I was shocked. He simply told me to get rid of all the extra
accessories and make up. He made me choose the biggest bindi which I
thought would make me look like goddess Durga. The bindi is all the make
up i was allowed.”
And the audience simply loved the way Anjali looked in the movie. “I
signed just 3 days before the shooting started. Though the synopsis
looked so childlike, I was taken aback by the evil shade of the female
lead. And that exactly made me choose ‘Beautiful’.
She cherishes her shooting schedule in the very beautiful Fort Kochi
with its “wonderful ambience”. Meghna Raj has already crossed borders
with ease during different language productions like Kannada, Telugu,
Tamil and Malayalam. “For me, different languages do not pose a
difficulty. But each production works in a different style.” For Meghna,
her mom is her best critic. “My parents move along with me and guide me
through,” the doting daughter says as her mom walks in.
Malayalam cinema would no doubt chisel this artist further, but then
Meghna as a person would any day surprise you. “I have two St. Bernard’s
called Dasha and Bruno and a Pom as pets at home.”
As your eyes widen, Meghna chides in fun, “Hey, I very much belong to
the new age.” True, clad in a sari, this beautiful actor has merged into
her character in ‘Namukku Parkkan’. And I forget that she is just 21. A
sign of a true artist indeed!