Since moving back to New York, actress Lakshmi Devy has taken America by storm. The famed Tamil-cinema actress has become a triple-threat, by adding screenplay writer and producing to her established acting portfolio.
The “go getter”, who swiftly rose to fame in India, has just completed her latest US drama TV Pilot ‘Happy Divorce’, and is currently producing two new films, under her new production company FiDi Talkies LLC.
MarkMeets chatted to the multi-talented, exotic actress about creating opportunities in the entertainment business between two continents.
Can you tell us a little about your early beginnings living in India?
Although I was born in New York, I was raised in India. Growing up, I never knew that acting was an option to pursue professionally. Just like my mother, I too became a doctor, but eventually I switched to being an actor full time. I have been on stage since a very young age and it was a gradual progression to movies. I started modelling first which led on to a film career.
What drove you to acting, and now writing your own films?
Dance and drama have been a part of my life since I was a child. I always found solace in playing different characters. I wrote poetry and short stories since I was a kid. I never really took it seriously, but with screenwriting I think I have found my niche.
Can you tell us about your recent pilot ‘Happy Divorce’ and your character?
‘Happy Divorce’ is a drama TV show pilot that is directed by the wonderful, Jamal Hodge. I play a very strong and independent lawyer in Happy Divorce. My character, has a vulnerable side, but it is not as obvious. The character is one that I could actually relate to, on many levels.
You also star in the hilarious comedy web-series ‘Wank Bank’ directed by Kevin Martin. Can you explain the unusual title and your character?
Wank Bank is about a bunch of people having to attend a court mandated “Masturbators Anonymous Group”. My character in the project is on a trip of her own. Despite of being able to speak and understand English, she only converses in Tamil. She is smart, opinionated and lives in a world of her own.
You have just returned from Mumbai after filming your latest movie ‘Daro Mat’, which you also wrote and produced. Can you tell us about the film?
It was quite the experience as Daro Mat is my first production. Usually when India is spoken about you see slums and poverty as part of the equation. Daro Mat on the other hand, deals with a much larger nuanced aspect of the “Indian girl”. It’s a fine line that we tread between being obedient and having an opinion of our own. I think the film will resonate with many Indian women, or at least a stage in their life, that they can recognize.
We understand you are also in pre-production for the film ‘Idle Hands’, set in New York, which you also wrote, and are producing, set to shoot later this year. Can you tell us about that project?
Idle Hands is a play on the proverb “idle minds”. It is a story about a young woman who constantly reinvents her life in varied dramatic scenarios. The movie is in its pre-production stages and is set to shoot in September of this year.
Do you approach filming in Mumbai differently to that of New York?
Not really. The craft remains the same. The only difference would be that there are regulations on the hours worked here in New York, whereas in India, we are used to working much longer hours so we get much more done.
It seems more and more actors are creating their own filming opportunities. Why do you think that is?
I guess actors would like to shape their own destiny rather than wait for destiny to approach them. For me, personally, I love story telling. Whether it is something I write or a screenplay that is given to me.
Do you have any advice for any budding filmmakers out there?
The digital age is upon us and so making a movie is no more a far-off dream. The starting point just got a bit easier, even though the journey is still long and tedious. “Take a chance and don’t procrastinate” is what I would have to tell new comers.