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One day she gets into the garb of a deity for a television show and the following day, she turns herself into a glamorous assassin.

Akanksha Puri has been flying between Chennai and Mumbai to play diametrically opposite roles. Not every actor gets this kind of a versatile exercise, not least for someone who never planned to enter cinema.

Puri was happy with her flying career at Kingfisher Airlines until the airline shut down. Modelling opened new vistas to explore and before she knew it, she was in the Tamil film, ‘Alex Pandian’.

Malayalam film ‘Samrajyam’ followed.

Catapulting her to stardom was Madhur Bhandarkar’s ‘Calendar Girls.’ After essaying the glamorous Nandita Menon in this Bollywood film, Puri became a household name as Parvathy in the television show ‘Vighnaharta Ganesha.’ Her portrayal of the Hindu deity made Puri popular in the south too where the show was aired as ‘Vinayagar.’

Puri will shock viewers with her role in ‘Action’, a stark contrast to Devi Parvathy of ‘Ganesha.’ She talks to Gulf News tabloid! about the film and her career. Here are excerpts:

‘Action’ role

“After playing Parvathy for two years I wanted to do something challenging. To my surprise, director Sundar offered me the role. We met at an awards function. This is a strong role with negative shades. I play Kiara, an assassin. She is emotionless and does not think twice before killing anyone. There are scenes where I kill mercilessly. She is unlike me.”

Director’s brief

“Sundar sir told me, ‘I want a lady Vishal — she is an equal match to Vishal’s role and you have fight sequences with Vishal. You can’t look weak but must carry a tough look.’ I thank Sundar sir for bringing me back to Tamil industry.”

Preparing for stunts

“There was no special preparation. I am a fitness freak. I like to keep my body flexible and agile. That helped me do many things other women may hesitate to do. Working in ‘Ganesha’ helped as I have been on the harness while shooting Kali episodes for six hours.”

Filming action

“In Baku, we were running on the streets during freezing weather. It called for stamina. Another action scene required me to fall from a balcony 20 feet high. I was asked if I required a double, but I declined. In one scene, Vishal held me upside down. There is a car sequence where I am driving at high speed with Vishal on its roof. It was much appreciated and I cherish this shot. The joke going on the sets was that I could join action choreographers Anbu-Arivu as their assistant.”

Vishal and me

“Vishal made it easy for me. He never behaved like a star but treated me like a guy friend, calling me partner on the sets. Initially, he found it difficult to punch and hit me during the shooting though.”

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Don’t miss it!

‘Action’ releases in the UAE on November 15.