Deepavali is family time for Udaya
That contrarian impulse is reflected in her personality, too. “People think I’m very loud, like, ‘She’s very bold with her words’. I’m not,” she said. “Actually, I’m a very shy person. I am quite socially awkward.”
That was why, when Udaya entered the industry, her colleagues thought she was “snobbish and arrogant”, because she only spoke “when somebody spoke to me”, she said. Her second year in show business saw a sharp spike in her exposure on Vasantham. But with that came the naysayers as well.
“It comes as a package. There was a point in time I thought I was the most hated being in the world,” she recounted. “Women looked at me as if I was going to steal their boyfriends and guys looked at me like, ‘Who does she think she is?’”
It took a while, but audiences have come to embrace her. “After that massive, sad, horrible, depressing period, now, I’m just thankful for the way things have turned out. Now, thankfully, things that I do, even when I think it’s not good enough, people tend to appreciate them,” she said.
And she, too, has come to appreciate her audience. “For the Indians, we tend to take things very personally, whatever we see on TV. When I go out, aunties will come up to me and pinch my cheeks and say, ‘Take care! You’re like my daughter!’ And they’re so warm.
“But because they take so many liberties with you, when they’re angry, they show it the same way. So, as much as they love you, if they have to hate you, they will. I think that’s something we’ll have to get used to.
“I think, over time, people will realise that it’s TV and it’s not real.”
What: Amarkala Deepavali (the Deepavali countdown show)
When: Nov 1, 10pm on Vasantham.