ACTRESS Jaya Ganason had no speaking lines in her feature film debut, the 2017 release The Farm: En Veettu Thottathil.
In this Malaysian Tamil-language film, directed by Karthik Shamalan, the 29-year-old plays a hearing impaired girl who is stalked throughout a dilapidated farm by a masked madman.
Jaya’s performance in the film impressed both audiences and critics.
Her efforts paid off when she walked away with the Best New Actress award at the 2019 Malaysia Film Festival (FFM) in March, and the Best Actress award at the 2019 Malaysian Tamil Artiste Award show in April.
Not a bad achievement for the Kuala Lumpur-born lass.
Did you want to be an actress when you were young?
“I never dreamt of being an actress. A friend persuaded me to act in a 20-minute Tamil short film, Muthal Naal Indru, which tells the story of a young prostitute.
“I was curious and decided to give it try, and [ended up winning] the Best Actress award at the 2012 BMW Shorties Short Film competition.
“Then, I was offered a role in a second short film and a DVD movie.
“Later I was offered the lead role in my first feature film, The Farm: En Veettu Thottathi.
“Acting happened accidentally. For the time being, I would like to keep acting part-time. Acting is more like a passion.”
So what was your childhood dream ?
“I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher. I love children very much. But later, I pursued a diploma in tourism management. I love travelling so I believe that was the right diploma to pursue.
“The moment I graduated in my diploma in 2012, I worked in a travel agent company for three years before working for an automotive company.
“So far, I have travelled to Singapore, India and Philippines. I am planning to travel to Cambodia soon.”
Do you carry out any research to play your character?
“I am not the kind of actress who [conducts] research on my characters. I believe in giving an impromptu performance for the camera.
“You give your best performance when your mind is clear. If you carry out too much research on your character, your mind is occupied, and gets cluttered with too much information.
“I do not like to overthink my character. I am only in character in front of the camera. I never bring my characters home.
“Once the director shouts cut, I am back to being Jaya again.”
Do you have any aspirations to be a film director yourself?
“Not really. But I would not mind being a film producer. I would love to produce some good stories for the screen.”
Do you have any Malaysian film directors that you admire, and whom you want to work under?
“Shanjey Kumar Perumal. I love his movie Jagat (2015). He knows what he is doing.
I was so happy when he called me and congratulated me on winning the best Actress award [at FFM].
“The other film maker I admire is Vimala Perumal (director of the successful Vilaiyaatu Pasangge film trilogy).
“I have never spoken to her. But I heard from others [that] she is good what she does.
“I’ve always want to work with them because I want to learn from them.
Where will we see you in future?
“Married with kids (laughs). I would like to make my childhood dream a reality.
“Maybe I will open a kindergarten.”