Actress Meena: Cinema Has Given Me Everything I Have Today Cinema News
As we enter Meena’s artistically constructed bungalow in the city, her seven-year-old daughter Nainika comes running towards us with a warm smile. She guides us to her mother’s office where we are greeted by one of the most beautiful and successful actresses of the 90s. A poem on the wall, Meen pondra kan na, illai un kanne Meena , describes the award-winning actress perfectly. We then engage in a candid conversation in which Meena talks about everything from entering the industry as a child artiste, being a star in the 90s, social media and more.
The excerpts. The beginning My film career started because of Sivaji Ganesan sir. My mother was in politics then, and so was Sivaji sir. On one occasion, when the party members were wishing him with a garland, my mom asked me to greet him with one. That’s when he decided to introduce me in films. Then I did a lot of films as a child artiste. Accidental actress I never wanted to be an actress. I wanted to be an IFS officer, but I ended up here. As many people in the industry knew me as a child artiste, they started approaching me for lead roles later.
Initially I was’t sure about taking this up as a profession. But with lot of confusion I signed my debut film as a leading lady. However, my second film, En Rasavin Manasile, and Telugu film, Seetharamaiah Gari Manavaralu , which released in the same year, went on to become huge hits. That’s when I understood destiny had other plans for me. Being a star in the 90s It was a lot of hard work. Everybody sees only the glam part of it. But we went through a lot of struggle. Back then, I used to have three to four back-to-back shifts, and would shoot without a break. I wouldn’t even have time to eat or take a nap. ‘Apple juice’ for heroines are all made-up stories. At times, I have not even found time to watch my own films as I was busy shooting for all regional languages. And travelling was quite exhausting then. We had to either take a van or a train if we wanted to travel from Vizag to Gopichettipalayam.
It was so tiring for all of us. We didn’t have caravans then, so just imagine how difficult it was for us. I would also be accompanied by one of my parents to all locations. Then and now I understand that artistes now have more comfort but I am happy that I have worked with all superstars in the industry. And it’s only in our period that we started to discover all new technology. In fact, mobile phones happened during our time. It was fun. What I miss now is the unity. We used to have long conversations, share food and even equipment with people who were shooting for another film in the same studio or location. Most producers knew about films of their contemporaries and which team was shooting where. Social media It’s really crazy. Life was much peaceful before without checking all these updates and live reviews. I can’t really relate to all of these. I enjoy my privacy and I’m very protective about it. Sometimes social media gets annoying, and in fact distracts artistes from achieving much more. Bad experiences I’ve been lucky to have worked with wonderful people. So there weren’t many bad experiences. But I’d cry and feel cheated when a character offered to me turns out different from what was narrated initially. But I have no regrets. I’ve learnt from every experience, good or bad. Casting couch To be very honest, I didn’t have such experiences at all. I wouldn’t have continued in this industry if that was the case. My mom was always around. So, I was very protected. But to be frank, people known to me have been the victims of it, and I feel sorry for them. I hope it doesn’t happen to girls today. Present perfect Parenting is a full-time job. Taking care of my daughter keeps me busy. It’s not easy at all. And she is doing films now and I must be with her round the clock. It’s tough to extract work from kids as they don’t know the seriousness of filmmaking. Sometimes, I feel bad for her as I’m forced to wake her up early for shoots. But how she plans to take her career forward is up to her. Cinema has given me everything I have today and I must be kind to it. This industry is not bad at all. Every field has its own merits and demerits.