Despite an MLA, Why Mukesh does not speak Politics?
Despite being an MLA we aren't hearing much politics from Mukesh?
What to say, how to say, should I say are all some of the questions one faces. I recall an incident, a movie set years ago, the pioneers including Sankaradi chettan, Innocent and Sreekumar were in a conversation. Sankaradi said something to which Sreekumar responded in the typical Thiruvananthapuram slang of 'Thanne?' And instantly expressions changed. Innocent gave a smirk and Sankaradi spiced up the matter. "How many movies old are you?", he asked to which Sreekumar counted two. The instant reply was then you are not old enough to deliver dialogues, wait till I tell you. The matter was meant in a lighter vein but he took it seriously.
In another set later for the movie ' Akkare Ninnoru Maran' Jagadish was the newbie. In a shot with me, Mala chettan and him where I and Jagadish were going in search of him, both of us ended up laughing inadvertently and Jagadish joined. This was followed by a spot improvisation by Mala where he said you are not old enough to laugh, we are already friends." With these two incidents in mind I will definitely not try talking politics now.
Is it really necessary to stay sidelined?
Not at all. But at the Assembly I am sitting with 140 representatives who have been chosen by the people. Sitting with them I have to be very specific as to what to say and when. Channels do call me to participate in talk shows but I tell them there are more experienced politicians out there whose opinions must be better.
Does that mean you are just learning politics now?
I have been involved in politics from a young age and I understand politics well too. My father was a versatile personality who managed both politics and theatre with equal grace. He stayed a Panchayat President for 18 years and throughout this period was dedicated to theatre by the night and the Panchayat by the day. Just as I inherited a spark in acting from him, I also inherited politics from him.
So far the scene has been very encouraging. Most of the representatives have been very encouraging. Minister Thomas Issac came and sat near me explaining what all has to be done in Kollam. Minister Jayarajan has always encouraged me to act in more movies. When I submitted a petition to Minister K K Shylaja Teacher she instantly read through and assured action.
How have you divided your dates?
Time management is something I am good at from childhood. Except for the two days at Thiruvananthapuram for 'Badaai Banglavu' and 'Sell me the Answer' all my dates are for the constituency. I have always juggled between roles. When I was active in cinema I was also doing a lot of theatre and television parallely. I also worked for the Sangeet Nataka Akademi and did inaugurations and ad films. The point is that I do what I enjoy and enjoy what I do. So time has never been a problem.
So you have started enjoying politics too?
I never expected to become the candidate. Sixty days was the campaign. But once the votes were counted I realised that my campaign had started 35 years ago. There were programs where the crowds swelled and in one such program Innocent was also present. When I shared my apprehension about the reason why the crowds were there, he replied, if they had come to see film stars they would have left by now. Now that they have stayed even when we are up to leave you can be sure these are all votes."
How has the stardom helped make things easier? Do you get treated better as a representative?
People do come from far away places seeking help, even outside the constituency. But whenever I make a call for anyone I am received with a pleasant response and friendly approach. That love is for cinema. I feel assured that the matter will get solved and that is a reward.
The crowds that swelled during the election campaign will thin once you become an MLA. Recently for a program the crowd was very thin and I asked some women living nearby why they didn’t come. The response was, you are an MLA, you will have to come back. I didn’t leave it there and told them that I was planning to bring Mohanlal, Mamootty and Dulquer for meetings, will have to drop such plans now if people don’t turn up. They replied laughing that in that case they will all come.
Changes in your life after becoming an MLA?
I have two phones both of which I attend myself. Siddique had called one day and asked me to have someone else pick my phone. I know several actors also do the same. But I have no such plans. Recently someone called and told me that he wanted me to help solve a dispute there at his end. They were locked in an argument whether cine stars were all in love with each other just as you see in the movies.
I had to respond so told him that had he called me six months ago I would have responded, now that I am an MLA it looks inappropriate. What if my response was in the manner unexpected? So I advised jokingly to settle it asking among themselves. The phone was disconnected the very next second.
(The complete interview is published in the recent edition of Grihalakshmi magazine)