She is all of 16, ends up studying through Skype and feels the right encouragement and guidance will take her places in the world of acting. Thulasi Nair, who makes her debut with Mani Ratnam's Tamil romantic-drama "Kadal", says age has never been a roadblock for her.
Thulasi, raised in Mumbai, was in Class 10 when she was signed for the film. She wishes to complete her schooling at all costs.
"I had to discontinue school due to acting commitments, but I intend to complete it, come what may. I have been taking classes via Skype and I should really be grateful to my teachers for that. When I am not reading script on sets, I am reading my subject books," Thulasi told IANS.
Acting is in her blood - she is the daughter of Tamil actress Radha Nair.
"People ask me all the time 'Are you not too young to be an actress?', to which I only say that age can't be a barrier for acting. With constant encouragement and guidance, which in my case I received from my mother and director, I think one can be a better actor," she said.
She also looks up to her elder sister, Tamil actress Karthika Nair for inputs.
"My mother and sister are my source of inspiration, but they stepped back in the case of 'Kadal' as they believed I was in the right hands and needed personal grooming from Mani sir," said Thulasi.
She admits she didn't grow up wanting to be an actress.
"Mani sir was on the lookout for a young heroine and roped me in after he found that I possess the same qualities as his reel character," said Thulasi, who essays the role of Beatrice in the movie, which is about young love set in a fishing village in Tamil Nadu.
In "Kadal", she is cast opposite another debutant Gautham Karthik, son of yesteryears Tamil actor Karthik, in the film, also written and produced by Ratnam.
"The character I play is very dear to the director. It is complex in nature with different shades such as being rebellious and youthful. I remember there were a few expressions that Mani sir captured randomly when off shooting and asked me to re-enact them later. It was extremely challenging to remember and do something that I originally did a few hours back," she added.
The youngster reveals she spent nearly two months with Ratnam before the shoot in Chennai to understand the character in detail.
"Gautham and I also enrolled for a two-month acting workshop under the mentorship of (actress) Kalairani," she said.
"Kadal", which releases Feb 1, also stars Arvind Swamy, Arjun, Lakshmi Manchu and Thambi Ramaiah in important roles. It was shot in places such as the Andaman Islands, Rameswaram and other coastal areas of Tamil Nadu.
A perfectionist is what Thulasi calls Ratnam on sets and adds that it is a fun, yet difficult experience to work with him.
"I was told he is very relaxed and soft spoken on sets, but he isn't in reality. He is always on his toes trying to multitask and make everything look perfect. One needs to be mentally prepared to catch up at the pace at which he works and even though it is challenging, working with him is enjoyable," she said.
Thulasi has already started working on her second project titled "Yaan" with Jiiva.
"Since I was spoiled and pampered on the sets of 'Kadal', I found working for this film very different. I'm starting to get used to be independent because if I have to survive, I need to start doing things on my own," added Thulasi.
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