A ruptured Achilles tendon is as serious as it sounds and can leave you in a lot of pain.
Football fans may remember an anguished David Beckham after he totally tore the muscle on his left leg three months prior to the 2010 World Cup, which robbed him of his ticket to the big event.
Unlike Beckham, however, Manjima Mohan did not rupture hers chasing a football.
It was last year, a freak accident is an apt description and it involved a heavy, rusty gate, although the actor confesses to not knowing the extent of her injury at first. “I was limping around with a ruptured tendon at the pooja event of FIR (Manjima’s film with Vishnu Vishal),” she says.
Manjima went under the knife in October last year, but it didn’t take long for the actor to be back on the set of FIR. “There were scenes that required me to walk fast. I had to grin and bear [the pain],” she says.
Since then, regular physiotherapy sessions have helped nurse her feet back to its best, and when we connect over the phone, she adds with a smile: “I can hop around now.”
Filming for FIR was halfway through when the first lockdown was announced.
While many of us opted to use the downtime to engage our creative talents on social media, Manjima was conceptualising creating a platform for such people to showcase their talents.
Thus came the Instagram handle @oneinamilliontalent, a page she runs with the help of a few of her friends. Having started earlier this month, the page, in Majima’s words, shines “a spotlight” on some of the talents who go unrecognised in the clutter of social media.
“It is something I have wanted to do since my days in college. A simple post could make a world of difference in the lives of artistes who just need to be appreciated,” she says, adding that she intends to “take the page forward to the next level” but only time will tell what that is.
Manjima’s upcoming projects in Tamil include Kalathil Sandhippom where her co-stars are Jiiva, Arulnithi and Priya Bhavani Shankar, Tughlaq Durbar with Vijay Sethupathi and Aditi Rao Hydari and FIR with Vishnu Vishal, Raiza Wilson and Reba Monica John.
“I play a lawyer in FIR. I have done the same character in Devarattam as well, but it was a passing role. In FIR, my character appears in the most crucial points of [the male lead’s] life,” she says.
While the lockdown has changed the situation for film industries across India with most films now opting for an OTT release, Manjima says she remains a hardcore theatre fan.
- Manjima hails from Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, and although the Malayalam film industry is churning out new wave cinema, the former child artiste is conspicuously absent. “If I had not done Tamil projects, I’d have been present in Malayalam films now,” she laughs. “After Oru Vadakkan Selfie, I was offered a lot of projects, but I had signed Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada and Gautham Menon was particular that he needed bulk dates. The other projects also needed the same dates and I could not give them. In 2018, I was keen to do a Malayalam film when Nivin [Pauly] and team offered me Mikhael. I took it up knowing that I had no more than five scenes to play. So yes, I would love to do more Malayalam films.”
“You can’t get the experience of a theatre in an OTT release… like you cannot see a new Vijay movie on a streaming platform! Watching the first day show with fans is something. But Ponmagal Vandhal and Penguin have taken a big first step,” she says.
Ask her about the common factor in both those films (leads are female actors), Manjima says it is heartening to note the increase in projects headlined by female artistes.
“But I hate the word ‘female-centric’ project. As an actor, even when there is a hero, the female artiste can shoulder a movie. For instance, Naanum Rowdy Dhaan is incomplete without Nayanthara. The same goes for Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa and Trisha; the story is about her. I don’t believe that a film becomes ‘female-centric’ only if it has a female lead. I know that if both male and female actors are given equal space in any project, then it becomes as good as any ‘female-centric’ project,” she adds.