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South Indian star Kalyani Priyadarshan steals hearts with 'Hridayam'

Directed by Vineeth Sreenivasan, the Pranav Mohanlal, Kalyani Priyadarshan, and Darshana Rajendran starrer is out in UAE now


Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Mon 24 Jan 2022, 7:05 PM

Last updated: Wed 26 Jan 2022, 5:43 PM

Hridayam is here, finally! We suppose you’ve heard music director Hesham Abdul Wahab's soaring, soulful rendition of Darshana, one of the main tracks from the Malayalam movie. In that case, chances are you are one among the many cinephiles who’ve been eagerly awaiting the movie’s release.

With over 20 million views on YouTube, the song has been a raging success ever since it hit the airwaves in October last year. Since then, moviemakers have released 14 more songs from the movie.

Finally, on Friday, January 21, after a long and agonising wait for many, the movie found its way to the silver screen. A coming of age drama, Hridayam tracks the love and life of Arun Neelakandan (Pranav Mohanlal) from college to adulthood.

Darshana Rajendran is the protagonist’s love interest during his college days, while Kalyani Priyadarshan essays the role of Nithya, Arun’s flame, in the second half of the movie. Offering a truckload of nostalgia to millennials and packed with great performances from the central stars, Aju Varghese and Vijayaraghavan, you are left wondering – where is the real drama? Where is the plot twist?

The cinematography and music give a much-needed respite to a story that is a bit too convenient. City Times caught up with Kalyani, Sreenivasan, and Aju Varghese ahead of its release. Here are excerpts from our chat with them.

‘Shooting for Hridayam was like working with friends,’ says Kalyani

Kalyani says, “With the Omicron strain and the current public health concerns, I’m hoping people come to the theatre to watch the movie.”

Commenting on her role in the movie, Kalyani says, “Honestly, Hridayam is very character and story-driven. It’s a coming-of-age drama about an individual’s journey from college to adulthood.”

Working in the movie was a fun and happy experience for the young star. “It was like working with my friends. I do not think anyone would’ve been happier than me while working on this movie. Every day, we were raring to go,” says Kalyani.

“We are all childhood friends, and I have known them all my life. Acting alongside Pranav didn’t feel like work at all. Our parents have been best friends, and I’ve known him since the day I was born,” she adds.

‘Hridayam is the first film to have benefitted from a lockdown’

Though Hridayam has been in the works since 2019, the shoot and production were delayed for months due to the Covid-19 triggered lockdowns in India. However, Kalyani says the movie was one of the first to have benefitted from the lockdown.

“The central character was going through so many chapters in his life. There is a transition period of the character. We shot the first-half pre-Covid, and the wait to shoot the second half certainly helped the character’s transition,” she explains.

“Also, the second most important thing is that during the lockdown, the director added two additional songs to the movie. There are a total of 15 songs in the film. If we had completed pre- Covid, these songs wouldn’t have been there,” she says.

“I think Vineeth ettan (older brother) was incredibly bored during the lockdown and just happened to add two additional songs to the movie. We’ve always said whatever happened during the film happened for the better,” she adds.

On a personal note, Kalyani says the lockdown helped the industry grow for the better. “I am someone who will always see the silver lining in every dark cloud. I mentally block out everything that doesn’t make me happy,” she explains.

“We all went through a lot, and the industry has changed. I’m not sure if theatres will bounce back the same way; however, I choose to see the positive and look at how it has helped the community grow for the better,” she says.

‘I’m super in love with acting at the moment’

Kalyani Priyadarshan forayed into acting after spending a few years behind the scenes. She worked as an assistant in the production design of Krrish 3 (2013) and Iru Mugan (2016). She made her acting debut in the 2017 Telugu film Hello. She was drawn to act after reading a script penned by film director IV Sasi’s son – Ani I.V. Sasi.

“He is a very close friend. Ani wrote a script and shared it with me for some feedback. A character in the script sparked my first love for acting. That’s when I thought to myself, if I ever want to get into acting, it would be to play that role,” she says.

When asked if she would go back into art direction, she says, “I’m super in love with acting at the moment. Also, you never know with these things. Five years ago, if you would’ve told me I’d be an actor, I would’ve said hell no,” she says.

“Being behind the scenes and in front of the camera are two different roles. However, to me, it wasn’t much of a transition - this is the only world I’ve ever known,” she adds.

Hridayam is currently playing in UAE theatres

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