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Back under the spotlight: FWD Life Gets Candid With Actress Reenu Mathews

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FWD Life Back under the spotlight With Actress Reenu Mathews (1)

Juggling two careers, the talented Reenu Mathews beckons you to follow your dreams

When you meet Reenu Mathews, you really don’t get what you expect. The last the public had seen her was onscreen as the gun expert Madhumita in Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi. In 2015, Reenu had broken out of her saree clad quintessential Malayali female roles into roles that were more urban. Just 7 movies old, Reenu Mathews had already made a mark in the industry working with exciting directors and acclaimed actors. Whether it was sharing screen space with Mammootty or Mohanlal, this air hostess cum actress had captured the imagination of the audience. So where was Reenu Mathews now?

FWD Life Back under the spotlight With Actress Reenu Mathews (2)

Model: Reenu Mathews       Photographer: Clint Soman

In a flowing white blouse and jeans, shades on top of her head and a fresh juice in her hand to beat the summer heat, Reenu was relaxing by the backwaters in Mattancherry when I went to meet her. Stereotypes of actresses with a heroine complex and air hostesses with their nose in the air ran through my head. So imagine my surprise when she stood up to meet me and pulled a chair out. “Do you want something to drink? It is a warm day.” I nodded my head as I noticed how tall she was. She ticked all the boxes of a first impression of an air hostess. She had a million questions for me and was super excited about my now evident baby bump. “ You are an achayathi too!” Reenu remarked on my accent. And as every Malayali, we connected on where we were from and the interview felt like two college friends catching up after semester break.

It has been two years. Where have you been Reenu Mathews?

I have been very much here! Well if you are talking about movies, I had couple of offers come my way, but there were issues regarding schedules as I also am a full-time air hostess. I haven’t disappeared anywhere. There were a couple of movies that came my way which I didn’t want to do because they were the typical wife role.

FWD Life Back under the spotlight With Actress Reenu Mathews (3)

Model: Reenu Mathews       Photographer: Clint Soman

How is this photoshoot different?

I have been wanting to do this shoot for a while and it is actually happening now. People have seen me in very traditional looks, and this is very different. The team has been professional and things are going to plan. I feel ten years younger now.

You have been all around the world!

86 countries I think. I love Brussels because I’m a chocolate freak. Singapore and Bangkok are great for shopping. I love places rich in history and would love to go back to Vienna or Prague.

FWD Life Back under the spotlight With Actress Reenu Mathews (4)

Model: Reenu Mathews       Photographer: Clint Soman

Do you get recognized in other countries?

I was in grocery shopping in Australia. There was a Malayali family there and I could hear them discussing how Reenu Mathews would be in the country and doing grocery shopping. I was enjoying the conversation. Same thing happened in Malaysia and the family was very confused.

Celebrities shop for groceries?

(Reenu breaks into laughter). It has happened so many times when I shop in Dubai, as people don’t expect to see me doing regular things. They move to a corner to have a discussion. If I am feeling naughty, I’ ll hover over the tomatoes taking my time to hold them up and act as if I was keenly deciding which one to pick. Sometimes you do feel like it is an invasion of your privacy.

FWD Life Back under the spotlight With Actress Reenu Mathews (5)

Model: Reenu Mathews       Photographer: Clint Soman

Thirteen years as an air hostess. Are air hostesses stereotyped too much?

Yeah they always say we are party animals. I’m not a party person at all. It depends on the person. Many who know me have told me that I’m not meant for movies and also the air hostess job as well. But I enjoy this.

Would you say you are an independent Malayali woman?

I have been doing things on my own since the age of sixteen. There are certain things I do depend on my mom for, but I can take care of myself. I travel a lot on my own and it makes you very self-confident.

FWD Life Back under the spotlight With Actress Reenu Mathews (6)

Model: Reenu Mathews       Photographer: Clint Soman

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I will be sitting in a small cottage listening to music and peacefully living my life.

Reenu messaged me few days after to enquire about my health and reflect on the great day we had. “Make sure you eat well”, advised the foodie and I know she means it. Reenu was in Dubai, waiting for her next assignment. The photographs had come in and the photographer had managed to capture her for who she is – a classic. An easy person to work with, Reenu had captured all our hearts and I know that we will be seeing a lot more of this talented woman soon.

Words: Maria John

Model: Reenu Mathews

Photographer: Clint Soman

Stylist: Lakshmi Babu

Makeup & Hair: Renju Renjimar

Location Courtesy: The Waterfront Granary Museum Hotel, Mattancherry

Special Thanks: Ela by Jisha

Digital Version: https://goo.gl/Bs9vlq

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Cover Story

Triumphing Over the Odds – Vijay Babu

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Vijay Babu is a tower of confidence, having established himself as a producer with his company Friday Film House, and is on the way to making it big as an actor

Words by Charishma Thankappan                                                Photographs by Jinson Abraham

“When you go through a lot of pain and then achieve a huge success, it is extremely rewarding.” And none other than producer and actor Vijay Babu can vouch for this truth of life. After facing a setback with the initial release of the film Aadu Oru Bheekara Jeevi Aanu, 2015(Aadu), Vijay is now basking in the success of Aadu 2, a product of his production company Friday Film House. Riding high on the wave of accomplishment, the past year was one of the best for Vijay, who was part of one of the biggest hits of 2017 – Angamaly Diaries.

Blooming Forth

Rising from the ashes

Read on to learn Vijay Babu’s experience in the Malayalam film industry so far, in the latest issue of FWD Life, Dec-Jan 2018 edition

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Cover Story

The Lucky Pair – Jayasurya and Ranjith Sankar

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This awesome twosome, Jayasurya and Ranjith Sankar, reunite to make yet another movie, Punyalan Private Limited

Words by Rheanna Mathews   Photographs from Jinson Abraham

No Malayali is unfamiliar with Mollywood’s power combination of much loved actor Jayasurya, and Ranjith Sankar, a director who has a number of successful movies on his mantel. Their fourth movie together, Punyalan Private Limited, released this November, as delighted audiences saw the actor revisit the role of Joy Thakolkaaran, from Punyalan Agarbattis.

The Lucky Pair - Jayasurya and Ranjith Sankar

Conversation with the duo goes as any fan would expect, with Jayasurya being his humorous, yet no nonsense self and Ranjith, with his gravitas, being a perfect foil to the actor. They spoke little about the new movie, believing their work would show for itself when theatres across the land screened it to the public, but were more forthcoming about their creative collaboration, on and off set, and the camaraderie they share with each other in real life.

The Lucky Pair - Jayasurya and Ranjith Sankar

One is offered a true, but brief, glimpse into the relationship that an actor and director build over the years, perhaps offering a formula for what goes as success in the Malayalam film industry.

The Lucky Pair - Jayasurya and Ranjith Sankar_0535
Find out who is the bigger foodie between the two, and who is more of a gadget geek; how does Ranjith Sankar go about his shooting schedules, and what would Jayasurya have been doing in a parallel universe. Read about all this and more in the November issue of FWD Life magazine, in stands now.

 

Photographed by Jinson Abraham
Makeup: Kiran Peter
Styling: Namrata George
Costumes: Marks and Spencer
Accessories: Top Grain
Watches: Oris, Swiss Watch Boutique
Shoes: ALDO Shoes – India
Retouch: Jeminighosh S
Location Courtesy: Mercedes-Benz Rajasree Motors, Aluva
Production: FWD Media

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Cover Story

Destiny Steered her Career, Says Kajal Aggarwal

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The actress speaks to FWD Life about her life, roles and success, in between promotions for Nene Raju Nene Mantri and Vivegam and shooting for Mersal

Words by: Rheanna Mathews    Photographs from: Rahul Jaghania    Makeup and Hair: Loveleen Ramchandani 

If a busy schedule is the sign of success, Kajal Aggarwal has achieved it, and then some. Amidst a whirlwind of promotions for her two upcoming movies, in between airport sprints and a few precious moments of quiet relaxation, we were able to chat over the phone.

A full plate

With two movies, Nene Raju Nene Mantri with Rana Daggubati and Vivegam with veteran actor Ajith Kumar, releasing back-to-back and shooting for a third movie, Mersal with Tamil heartthrob, [Joseph] Vijay, in between promotions, Kajal has her plate full. But her upbeat personality seems pretty elastic, as even from her conversation, one feels that she is raring to go, to do more. Her years in the industry also seem to have honed a native talent for diplomacy, for when asked who her favourite co-star is, she easily sidesteps the baited question, as “all three of them are very special in unique ways”.

FWD Life Kajal-Aggarwal (3)

With a range of movies in different languages under her belt, Kajal has never felt language to be a barrier when it comes to acting. Whether Telugu, Tamil or Hindi, she places importance on the craft, and when that happens, a different language simply becomes a stepping stone to newer experiences and wider horizons. Then how come she hasn’t stepped into the Malayalam film industry, you ask? Missed opportunities, clashing dates and that busy schedule again. Kajal reiterates that Malayalam too is a language she’d love to work in, with the industry being famous for its “technicians, stories and amazing scripts. The directors have the most creative ideas; very out-of-the-box scripts. So of course I’d like to collaborate!”

As one would expect from an actor with a decade of movies in her portfolio, Kajal places importance on quality rather than quantity, expressing a wish for roles that satisfy her creatively, with a different sort of stories and performance oriented roles that, again, places emphasis on the craft. In terms of genre, she is looking to do action and comedy movies, perhaps, in order to stave off the typecasting that we are all wont to do.

FWD Life Kajal-Aggarwal (2)

Describing her childhood self as ‘Kajal the Menace’, a bratty child who needed her mother’s constant supervision to stay out of trouble, Kajal says that although acting was always a passion and a hobby, she never imagined in her youth that she would pursue it as a career. “I’m totally Destiny’s child”, she says as she credits serendipity, pure chance, for the choice of her profession.

On the meaning of ‘success’

By all accounts, Kajal is scaling the heights. Counted among the stars of the industry, Kajal is much sought after, loved, and perhaps more importantly, respected, by the populace and the film industry. How does such a person define success? Is it by the sheer amount of movies generated? The people one works with? Or by the trappings of success – the designer clothes, the jet-setting lifestyle, the luxury villas and sedans, the glitz and glamour of tinsel town? Maybe a combination of all the above?

FWD Life Kajal-Aggarwal (4)

Kajal is unsure if she can chart her success with just her career graph. She looks at success as something fleeting. There a moment, gone the next. For, as fallible as human nature is, one’s wants and desires keep changing. As soon as you achieve something, there’s something a little further down the road that you want more. A little bigger, a little better. So then, given this constant state of desire, when do you really succeed? She says, “Maybe I’ll look back in a couple of years and feel happy about my career so far, but I wouldn’t call it one of the most successful runs either. Of course, I’ve done great films, worked with fabulous people and I’m proud of all that I’ve done. I have no regrets. But, I equate success to something deeper than that. It is a very personal feeling, and the minute you are able to grow in some manner or able to change yourself at any level, then, you are truly successful. This lasts longer too.”

FWD Life Kajal-Aggarwal (1)

Looking now to remake the Hindi movie, Queen, Kajal is still unsure of the long term plan. She takes it as it comes, wishing to live a balanced life, and trusting to Destiny, who has steered her well so far.

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