Grace’s portrayal of the reluctant actor in Halal Love Story showcases her acting chops
As the graceful Suhara with a mind of her own, Grace Antony is undoubtedly the scene-stealer of Halal Love Story. Even when paired with an actor like Indrajith Sukumaran who effortlessly steps into the skin of his characters, Grace held her own comfortably.
“I was more than a little nervous when I was offered the role. I was going to be in the company of actors like Indrajith, Parvathy [Thiruvothu], Joju [George] and so on. It was a challenge to bring Suhara alive on screen as she was a completely new character, one that I was not familiar with,” says Grace.
She was worried about the dialect and wondered if she would be able to pull it off without sounding clichéd and put on. As the director and many members of the crew were from Malappuram, they helped her in getting the accent and intonation of the dialogues right.
“The shooting was in Vazhakkad in Malappuram. During breaks, I used to spend time in a chechi’s house that was next to our location. I observed the way she would adjust her thattam (head dress used by Muslim women to cover their head), the way she spoke and interacted with her family and visitors…. That made a difference,” points out Grace.
She adds that as an avid people-watcher, she was able to quickly get the nuances of her character by observing the residents around the location.
Since the story involves the shooting of a film, Grace also wondered if the mise en scenes would fall in place without looking artificial and put on. But Grace’s Suhara proved equal to the challenge. With some pithy lines to deliver, Suhara is easily one of the strongest characters in the film. “There are two Suharas in the film and I had to ensure that one did not become the other. Until viewers started appreciating the film, I was apprehensive whether I had been able to get my act together,” says Grace.
Model and actor Grace came into her own as Simi, an unforgettable character in Kumbalangi Nights. Working with powerful actors like Fahadh Faasil and Soubin Shahir did not overawe her. Following the resounding success of Kumbalangi Nights, Grace was just about finding her niche in Malayalam cinema when the pandemic brought things to a standstill in tinsel town.
“The entire world has been affected. So it would sound selfish if I were to say how disappointed I was when all shooting was stopped and theatres closed just when my career was beginning to take off,” says Grace, speaking on phone from Kochi.
The lockdown also had Grace directing a short film, K-nowledge, about a young girl dealing with the onset of menstruation. Nevertheless, Grace says that while she will be writing scripts as and when time permits, she wants to focus on her time in front of the camera. “There is Simply Soumya in which I play the lead with Sreenath Bhasi. There are a couple of other projects that I am a part of. I am also eagerly awaiting the release of Saajan Bakery Since 1962 where I will be playing the wife of the character enacted by Aju Varghese,” she says.