I express my opinion, don’t believe in what is scripted: Vinayakan
Vinayakan is an actor who has redefined the conventional acting methods in Malayalam cinema and is not afraid of expressing himself freely. Experiences and his surroundings makes him different.
Vinayakan’s professional journey, which started as a fire dancer in Mohanlal’s ‘Manthrikam’ has now reached ‘Aidru’ in his latest movie 'Pranayameenukalude Kadal'. “It took 18 years after my debut for my face to appear in a cinema poster. I don’t need publicity. I cannot act in real life. What do I stand to gain by speaking to the media?” asks Vinayakan as he was about to share his shooting experiences.
How did you reach this project?
The movie is directed by Kamal, scripted by John Paul and my character is that of Shurav Aidru, the son of sea, who is a shark hunter. These are the three things that attracted me. I don’t usually read the story or script while signing for a movie. I trust the movie makers and see if they have the ability to pull off the project during narration.
Doesn’t the script matter to you?
I’m just saying my opinion. I don’t believe in what is written on paper. That can change quite easily during the course of shooting. Sometimes, the brief about a scene or character is given just before the scene is shot. The dialogues will be made and given on the set, depending on the context. This is what happened in ‘Kammattipadam.’ Rajeev Ravi only gave me the basic content and the rest was given on set. ‘Pranayameenukalude Kadal’ is completely a Kamal movie. He had a clear idea of what the scenes and dialogues should be like. As an actor, I am comfortable doing it both ways and I try to give the director what he wants.
In ‘Pranayameenukalude kadal’, you speak Lakshadweep slang. Was it hard to shed your Kochi slang?
I used Kochi slang in 'Kammattipadam' and 'Thottappan' and that gained a lot of recognition. But I have done plenty of films without it. When I did Tamil and Telungu movies, I have used their respective regional slangs. For this movie, I spoke a mix of Tamil and Malayalam, without any sort of preparation.
For someone who cannot swim, what convinced you to take up the role of shark hunter Aidru and get into the sea?
Before the movie, I did not know how to swim. But I learned it during the course of the movie.
It was my first trip to Lakshadweep. The shooting was done six meters beneath the sea. I had no clue what to do when I got in to the boat with the cameraman and stunt master. As soon as we reached the location, the stunt master jumped into the sea. I prayed to God jumped after him. There were four-five people on the boat who had promised to save me before drowning. I jumped hoping that one of them would.
Scenes shot using under water cameras are something new to Malayalam cinema. How was your experience shooting underwater?
For more than 10 days, shooting was completely under water. It was really hard to get to the bottom of the sea. I had to take iron blocks weighing 10 kilograms each on both arms to get to the bottom. An actual spear was used to perform the hunting of sharks. I had to do all of this while holding my breath. Whenever I ran short of breath, I would rush back to the surface. I really struggled for three-four days and ended up drinking a lot of seawater. Though I couldn’t swim, I didn’t let the shooting to be shifted to a studio. I don’t have much to talk about. After the shoot, I would go straight to my room.
Are you busy with new projects? Do you think Cinema has changed your life?
I am getting offers one after the other. However, I don’t accept a lot of movies that come my way. I don’t want to do movies one after the other and I don’t plan on staying in this field for the rest of my life. I was a celebrity in my life even before I entered the film industry. I have decided on what I want to be when I am 60 years old and I am moving towards that. Since I cannot act in real life, I don’t say things to elicit applause from the public.