Her character’s flambuoyant personality is what attracted Aucklander Vidya Venugopalan to the role of Geeta in “Curry Munchers”, the New Zealand movie with lots of flavour – set to hit the big screens next month.
“It was the free-spirited nature of Geeta that I could easily connect with,” Vidya told the Indian Weekender this week.
Vidya, the 23-year-old South Indian beauty, originally from Tamil Nadu, is one of the leading female artistes in the locally produced movie which is low on budget, but with a big heart.
“I’m really looking forward to the movie and how people will receive it. Quite excited that it’s finally happening.”
In reel life, she plays Geeta, who is sister of lead character Sid (played by Anand Naidu).
In real life, she is project leader of Mental Health at a Primary Health Organisation attached to the Waitemata District Health Board (WDHB).
Last month, she took a giant step in her personal life and became Mrs Vidya Sashank. She married Auckland software engineer Sashank Rajkumar recently.
Vidya’s favourite curry?
“Palek Paneer.” She’s a vegetarian.
So how did Vidya land the role?
“I was spotted by Padma Akula (the movie’s screen writer) during a dance competition. She approached me when I won the Dance Pe Chance competition in 2009, and it went ahead from there.”
Were you satisfied with your performance in “Curry Munchers”?
“You tend to look at yourself quite critically, so I think there’s always room for improvement. Definitely could have done better.”
What was it like relating to other co-stars, considering established actors Ajay Vashist and Leela Patel play your mum and dad in the movie?
“It was so easy to get along with them; we recognized similarities and connected well. Ajay and Leela are just so good as actors. I was really inspired and enjoyed the company.”
What did you think of the plot of Curry Munchers and its appeal to the international audience?
“It’s different. It’s first a New Zealand Indian movie, surely bound to attract a lot of interest. The plot is different, it does convey a message; stands apart from others.”
Your thoughts on the movie industry in New Zealand?
“New Zealand has a baby movie industry. Curry Munchers could have done with more support from government. Because of the constraints, we had to finish shooting within a month.”
Your favourite New Zealand movie?
“Boy was really cool.”
What next? Are you keen on furthering your acting career?
“We’ll see where life takes me. Getting married on Monday, so it’s a huge change.”
Your New Year’s resolution?
“To further my career and be a good wife.”
Curry Munchers The Movie tells the story of Sid, an Indian immigrant recently arrived in New Zealand. Instead of studying to become an engineer, Sid goes behind his parents’ back and gets a part time job at a restaurant to earn money and independence . Sid's plans however take a surprising turn when he and the kitchen crew have to come to the rescue of the failing restaurant, which leads to deceiving his parents, conflict over girls and cultural stereotyping - all with hilarious results.
Directed by Cristobal Lobos. Production Company: Mahayana Films. Shot in Auckland and Delhi.
Cast: Anand Naidu, Alison, Vidya Venugopalan, Leela Patel, Tarun Mohanbhai, Raj Verma, Ajay Vashist, Bhavnesh Soni.
New Zealand premiere: February 21. Opens to public on Feb 24.