There’s one thing to be said about Hansika Motwani: It’s hard to dislike her, even if a scheduled interview gets delayed. “I get to hear that a lot,” she confesses. “People keep telling me it is difficult to get angry with me, and so, sometimes, I get away with what I want.”
Bubbly is an oft-used prefix for the actress, but she says she is like that in real life too. “And so, while I might have played roles that veer towards the grey in some films, I’m someone who loves all things bright. I’m happy.”
That happiness comes from two things. Passion turning into a profession, and that it helps support people she’s taken under her wing. “I come from a well-to-do family and my earning is my pocket money to do as I please. But, my mother has raised my brother and I in such a way that we learnt to share early on.” She’s been supporting some children for a few years now, and has been working to better the lives of those with breast cancer. “I like that these causes nudge me to do better in my chosen field. If I earn better, I can do more.”
She’s didi to the children, listening to their stories, sharing hers, and letting them know they are loved.
As for the bubbly tag, Hansika says that many have liked her body of work. “Be it Aranmanai and Aranmanai 2 or Romeo Juliet… it looks very easy to play a bubbly role, but when you’re doing something that fuses the positive and the negative, you work extra hard so that people don’t hate you on screen,” says Hansika.
The actress started young. As an eight-year-old, she wowed television audiences in shows such as Des Mein Nikla Hoga Chand and Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. In the former, she displayed a gravitas far beyond her age. Does she miss doing a serious turn on the big screen? “Not really, I’m happy with what I’m doing. I go with the flow. I believe that acting is something that comes naturally to me. I’ve never been pressurised to do or not do something.”
Over the years, Hansika has travelled across industries, and, criss-crossed States to fulfill professional commitments. “Travel is my middle name. It’s fun when you travel for work. That said, language is just a label. Wherever I get the chance, even if it is a Korean film, I will do my job — entertain people. And because I’ve never been to acting school, I keep asking people what they teach there. I picked up nuances on the sets.”
In Gulaebaghavali, that releases on Friday, Hansika teams up with Prabhu Deva, known for his groovy moves. “He directed me in Engeyum Kaadhal and was the producer of Bogan. This time, he’s my co-star. The world knows him as a great dancer. But, he has an amazing sense of timing, is very spontaneous, and packs in so much expression in songs. So, imagine my joy when we checked a scene in the monitor, and he told me that my expressions were better than his!”
The film, she says, is a typical festival release. “I know other films are releasing at the same time, and I wish them well, but I also wish that mine stands out.”
Despite working in an industry that loves telling stories, Hansika still loves to listen to people. “I make new friends, speak to them, discuss things other than cinema. I’m not sure if it increases my world view, but I love listening to people’s stories. Actually, I’m quite inquisitive, you know?” she laughs.