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Ester Noronha speaks about her bold role in #69 Samskar Colony

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'#69 Samskar Colony' is an upcoming relationship drama that dwells into a married woman's extra-marital affair with a teenager in her neighbourhood. The woman has been played by Ester Noronha, while her paramour has been played by newcomer Rishwi. Her husband has been played by Ajay. Directed by P Suneel Kumar Reddy, the film is produced by B Bapiraju and Muthiki Naga Satyanarayana. With cinematography by SV Sivaram, the drama is set to hit the cinemas in March. In her latest interview, Ester of '1000 Abaddalu' and 'Bhimavaram Bullodu' fame talks about her role in the movie, working with Reddy, her upcoming movies and more.

I started singing at the age of 8. My mother comes from a music background. My father too is a music lover. I started out as an artist at a young age. Konkani is my mother tongue. I worked with a live performer. I learned classical dancing even when I was in high school. I learned musical instruments like Piano. Music and dancing were my extra-curricular activities. My elders wanted me to get trained and be a skilled artist.

I actually wanted to do MA in Political Science under the influence of someone I met while in high school. I migrated to Mumbai to study in a top college. I was a meritorious student and even aspired to study civil services. While attending a seminar in Bengaluru, I got in touch with Saroj Khan, the legendary choreographer. She was impressed with my dancing skills. She asked me if I had an interest in becoming a model or an artist. But I didn't show interest. My well-wishers told me I shouldn't ignore artistic opportunities that were coming my way. I got in touch with Anupam Kher, under whom I learned a diploma acting course. Around the time, I signed up to do a non-commercial film in Konkani. Eventually, director Teja sir was spotted me and cast me in '1000 Abaddalu'.

Heroine-centric films are horror movies and the like. '#69 Samskar Colony' is about an ordinary housewife in whose life something extraordinary happens. Even a housewife's life can take dramatic turns. That's what made me take up this film.

Doing a bold role was challenging. It's not true that commoners are living an unexciting, black-n-white life. The situations in our film are not unrealistic. Such complications (referring to an extra-marital relationship in the film) can unfold in many ways. The film doesn't have a judgemental gaze.

I have worked across film industries. I have observed that an actor has to adapt to the nativity of the industry she is working in. The definition of glamour changes from industry to industry. In Mumbai, the filmmakers expect the features of an actor to be sharp. Here, an actress can be chubby. Some people might find me cute, others might find me hot. I have been challenged by a variety of roles, including performance-oriented ones.

'#69 Samskar Colony' has me in scenes with Rishwi and Ajay. The former is junior to me, while the latter is a senior to me in acting. I was happy that Ajay liked the script. It was like validation. The director, much like Ajay, reposed faith in my calibre. I was a bit nervous to do the bold role.

Rishwi, despite being a newcomer, was comfortable and confident. He was auditioned for the role. The director took pains to find a suitable actor. Rishwi never imagined that he would be doing kissing scenes with me (laughs). He told me he watched my films in theatres with his friends years ago. We both discussed how to go about the scenes. We began shooting normal scenes involving conversations. After we got used to each other, we did the tougher portions. The director moulded me and Rishwi without making us feel conscious about it. Thanks to him and his professional team, everything went on smoothly.

'#69 Samskar Colony' is a multi-dimensional film. The title has got a philosophical ring, too.

I recently did a Kannada film named 'Lanke'. My character enters the screen in the second half of the second half. I was given the choice to pick one of the three heroine roles. I picked the smallest one in terms of running time because I saw versatility in the character. There were two other actresses in the film but the audiences remember Ester as the film's heroine. That's what impact works.

I am shooting for a Telugu film titled 'Rudra', which is a social drama about twisted humans. I am also doing a web series under ZEE5. There is a Kannada-Malayalam-Marathi trilingual in my kitty. It's a period drama that touches upon casteism and racism.  

Updated on March 7, 2022