ZEE Keralam’s new serial ‘Kaiyyethum Doorath’ has made headlines not only for its unique theme but also for the entry of actress Vaishnavi Saikumar. Though we have seen many actors coming from an acting background to Malayalam films and television recently, a young actress coming from the lineage of actors who have shaped Malayalam theatre and cinema is a rare sight. Vaishnavi is the granddaughter of the legendary actor Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair and daughter of actor Saikumar. Her mother Prassannakumari is also an actor and singer. Her many aunts and cousins are also actors in Malayalam. 

Vaishnavi in her first-ever interview speaks about her entry to the world of acting and her entry into the ZEE Keralam family

What attracted you to take up the role in Kaiethum Doorath, and what made you take up acting at this point in your life?

I had no dream to become an actor in my life though I had a grandfather, father, mother, and many others all into acting. My father, actor Saikumar, and mother, Prassannakumari, wanted me to complete my studies first. I was also interested in completing my course in English Language and Literature. I wanted to become a teacher.  I had even started my profession as a teacher in an educational institution in Kollam; my home town. After marriage, I went to Dubai for two years and it is my husband, Sujit Kumar, who insisted that I venture into acting. His support and encouragement has made me take this step in my life.

You are new to acting and how it was facing camera for the first time?

It was a pleasant experience. I have earlier done a television movie ‘Ezhuvarangal’ as a kid. It was only in two or three shots, and my father was there so I had not felt any kind of discomfort. However, at ‘Kaiyyethum Doorath’ location, I was a bit tensed. My co-actors are so helpful and their support has helped me do the role very well. It is truly up to the viewers to decide whether I have done well in the role.

How did you chance upon ‘Kaiyyethum Doorath’?

That was through a friend in the television industry. When this offer came, my husband and mother supported me. Acting was never my choice but the lineage that I am coming from has given me confidence that I can do justice to the role.

In Kaiyyethum Doorath, you are playing a character much more mature than your real self. How did you prepare for the same?

I owe it to my grandfather and father. My grandfather has done a role in the film ‘Aranazhikaneram’ as a 90-year old man when he was only 45 and my father has done a dozen roles much older than his real self. These two have inspired me to take up the character much elder than me, it’s all about giving yourself to the role. 

Is your character in the serial a shady, negative one?

Yes! Actually, I had given a screen test for two different characters in the film; a positive and negative. The director liked both the characters and asked me to pick the one that I liked. I chose the character with a negative touch. It is not about the character, rather, its about the scope the role gives you as an actor to perform that makes it interesting. 

Serial shoots tend to be like a family working together. How has been your rapport with your co-stars? Do you all spend time together on and offset?

It is because of their support that I did the role without any fear or delicacy. They are all most senior and have been in the industry for many years. Their advice had helped me a lot. We are like a family together. I also thank the producer who always takes an effort in helping every department of the serial. She along with my co-actors are a source of inspiration.

ZEE Keralam is completing 2 years and it has shown itself to be one of the fastest-growing channels in the Malayalam industry with progressive serials. Your thoughts on ‘Kaiyyethum Doorath’?

I am so happy to have associated with the ZEE Keralam and that too was at a time the channel was celebrating their second anniversary. It is a great honour and as a debutante artist, it is also a great inspiration.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I like reading and watching movies. I also paint.