Cinema sustains on superstars. If a movie like ‘Madhuraraja’ should happen, there should be Mammootty and for ‘Lucifer’, there should be Mohanlal. The industry relies heavily on such stars. Actors like me also rely on them. Malayalam movie industry is lucky to say that our superstars are also great actors. This can’t be seen in other language movies. Even if Vijay is a superstar, he is not a super actor. But Kamal Hasan is a superstar as well as a super actor. In the Malayalam movie industry there are numerous brilliant actors among the supporting actors. We have to compete among them. I’m not an actor who has won much awards for my work. The biggest honour I get is when I am called for another role after watching the quality of my work. I’m not a person who came expecting all this into this industry. I find satisfaction in acting smaller roles. What I get now are bonuses as far as I’m concerned.

You portrayed a very heart touching father’s character in the movie Uyare. What was in your mind while accepting that role?

Uyare is a movie which talks about a girl with a lot of dreams and the shocks she had to face and how she overcomes it. When I portrayed Raveendran, her father’s role, all I could think of was my daughter’s face. I prayed to god to not let disasters like this happen to any daughters in this world. Raveendran lived to make his daughter’s dream come true with a very meagre income. That minimum living standard can be seen in his dressing, the way he talks and even in the way he walks.

I’ve been astonished by seeing the dedication that Parvathy put for the character Pallavi. I can never praise her enough for that. Considering her age, her dedication level surely surpasses it. I wasn’t even in the industry at that age. She is one of the best actresses that Malayalam movie has ever seen, undoubtedly.

Every month a movie hits the theatres with a totally different character by Siddique. How did you come up with a character with a comedy touch in ‘Balan Vakkeel’?

 

Siddique

The very same director B. Unnikrishnan who cast me as a DGP in the movie ‘Villain’ cast me as a weed addict Somasekharan Pillai in his next movie ‘Kodathi Samaksham Balan vakkeel’. I’m lucky that a director can imagine me in such different roles. There are 3 characters in the movie ‘Big Brother’ directed by Siddique who thinks the role suits me and I’ve been given the freedom to choose a character I like the most from the lot. These kind of opportunities that no one else gets are in fact a reward for me.

The same Siddique who does the villain George Peter in ‘Mikhael’ did the gentle father’s role in ‘Vijay Superum Pournamiyum’.

I got many different roles this year. Even if he was the villain, the psychopathic George Peter was a character that was equal to the protagonist for me. It was a revenge of a father who lost his son. I tried to bring something not normal in his gait and talk in the movie. The character never blinked his eyes, not even in one shot, so that such a way of looking will hurt you.

What all precautions do you take before doing a character?

I do a background check on the character’s job, life scenario, sorrows, happiness and hobbies even when they are not shown in the movie. That’s a technique Thilakan taught me. You get basic idea of the character when you do this. This will help in understanding how the character walks, talks and even how he dresses. Such approaches will work out sometimes. Once Bharat Gopi told me what happened when he tried to get into one character, which teaches us all a lesson. When he was doing a scene which was about the character telling something serious, he was given white socks with a white suit. This, he felt, would feel like the socks is grinning while he sits with his leg on top of each other. And the focus of the entire scene will be on the socks. This made him uncomfortable and he asked to give him black socks. But there were no black socks in the set. The directors and the producers, who couldn’t understand this later stated the event as Kodiyettam Gopi was stubborn for just a pair of black socks. Nobody sees how a character slips from our hand due to minute things. I get annoyed when somebody talks aloud in the set while I’m acting. You can lose your focus due to small things like this.

An actor like you who did humour role suddenly shifted into a serious character track. Was this intentional?  

During our shooting breaks Ranjith, Shaji Kailas and Viji Thampi have get-togethers in various places along with me. At that time, when everyone talked about the fun stuff that happened in movies, I always talked about stars who are genius and their mesmerizing acting skills. Ranjith was the first one who told me to act in serious roles. Later Viji Thampi gave me a villain role in his movie ‘Satyameva Jayathe’. After doing that role, I started to get strong characters. That’s how the change happened. I never set out for any of this intentionally. Even now I start getting tensed before I do any movie as if it’s my first. I pray I don’t lose that tension.

(Translated by Sethulakshmi S)