Akshara Haasan has played the role of a confused teenager in the upcoming movie Achcham Madam Naanam Payirppu. Judging from the trailer, her character is struggling with her sexuality and the changes her body is undergoing. She has been forced into the ‘good girl’ image trap and she doesn’t know how to crawl out of it.
Written and directed by Raja Ramamurthy, the film shines light on the importance of encouraging a sex-positive culture both at home and in society.
As the movie is set to premiere on Amazon Prime Video this Friday, Akshara Haasan opens up about growing up in a positive and free environment.
Were you able to relate to the character?
Although the character is very different from who I am, I connected to it at a certain level, trying to understand who I can be and what I can be. Even though there are certain expectations of what an ideal girl should be, I was able to be myself, by still being the same good person with those qualities and growing and evolving with time and trying to be the best I can be.
What kind of role did your parents (Kamal Haasan and Sarika) play in creating a safe environment in the house?
I come from a very open-minded family, who let us be who we are. Our parents kept the door open for us to express what we are feeling and helped us understand what we can do and what we shouldn’t do for our own benefit. I know it sounds a bit selfish but at the end of the day, we need to be a bit careful about ourselves, keeping our safety in mind. We were rooted at the same time, and kept our values and ethics intact. It was very easy to talk to my parents and family about a lot of things. That way it was a bit different because we were exposed to people who were not allowed to have an open discussion with their families. So it made us value what we had.
Also, it’s surprising that the most pressing gender issues faced by women are cinematically tackled by men. For example, Sara’s, which was about pro-choice, and now this movie have been made by male directors.
It’s very interesting because our project was predominantly women. We were able to execute the women’s gaze a lot more accurately because of so many women being around on our set. We had so many inputs. Honestly, the way I look at it, is that gender is something that’s just there. But, we need to start looking at people for who they are. I feel this is the step forward to minus gender, and say this person is this and this is what they bring to the table. And I feel Achcham Madam Naanam Payirppu is that step forward.
How was it working with Raja Ramamurthy?
Raja sir is a very open-minded person and I really wanted to get right. He was very respectable about the fact of understanding a young woman’s psyche. He made efforts to really get into that space and incorporate our opinions into the script.
What advice did you get from your father, when you were ready to take on the world on your own terms?
My sister (Shruti Haasan) and I were fortunate enough to have our parents say, from a very young age, that ‘both of you have it in you.’ And it’s very important for any child to hear that ‘you have it in you to stand on your own feet.’ So it was very organic when I took off on my own. At any point, if we had a doubt of any sort, we knew we can always call back home and (discuss) this is the deal. How? why? and why not? That differently played a very important role for both me and my sister.