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Suresh Gopi: Melvilasom is a landmark film

Last updated on: May 16, 2011 11:03 IST

Suresh Gopi: Melvilasom is a landmark film

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Shobha Warrier in Chennai

Though Suresh Gopi won the National Award for his scintillating performance as a theyyam artist in Jayaraj's Kaliyattom, his forte has been delivering punches. Madhav Ramadasan's debut Malayalam film Melvilasom -- based on a well known play by Soorya Krishnamoorthy -- was a perfect film for him as it is dialogue oriented. 

Suresh Gopi's character Captain Vikas Roy has the most dialogues in the film as the defending officer in the court martial drama. Unlike in commercial films where he delivers such dialogues more dramatically, here he is restrained and has put in a very subtle and understated performance, one worthy of many plaudits.

In this exclusive interview, Suresh Gopi talks to Shobha Warrier about Melvilasom and Captain Vikas Roy, a role he will always cherish.

Have you seen the play Melvilasom based on which the film has been made?

No, I have not seen the play. But I knew that Soorya Krishnamoorthy had written it.

When they gave you the script which is like a play, what attracted you to it?

The first thing that attracted me was the experiment part of the whole film. It was a daring attempt. The whole story happens in a courtroom and it is the culmination of an act that is never shown in the film. I got excited reading the script.

Let me quote what Desabhimani, a leading newspaper, wrote about the film, 'Malayalam cinema has got a new Melvilasom (address) -- with this film.' This was the feeling I had when we were doing the discussions.


Image: A scene from Melvilasom

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'We finished the shoot in eight days'

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So you didn't have to think twice before accepting the film?

Not at all. I knew that it would be interesting to be a part of the film. I also knew that it would be a new experience for both the actors and the viewers.

I was told that the movie was shot in 10 days.

Not even ten days. We finished the shoot in eight days.

How tiresome was it? You had to recite a lot of dialogue in the film

It was not tiresome at all. When you are involved with the film and the character, you don't find it tiresome at all. But if you think it's tiresome, it will be.

There was no waiting or monotony for me as every second, I was going with the make up and saying my dialogues. Imagine I was in the same dress, in the same room with the same actors for eight days. But there was no monotony. We were that charged up!


Image: A scene from Melvilasom

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'I wish other films were shot like Melvilasom'

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Director Madhav Ramadas said that they were shooting with two cameras so that real conversations took place and expressions were caught when it happened. How was it for you as an actor?

That was a wonderful experience. Every expression was so natural. I wish other films were shot like Melvilasom. This helped us give natural performance.

Do you feel because of that, you could perform in a better way?

Not in a better way, in a befitting way. Even when you take my role in Kaliyattom, I would say it was done in the most befitting manner. If I had to do it again, I don't think I would be able to do it in a better way.


Image: A scene from Melvilasom

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'The dialogues are used to create a different kind of impact'

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The language spoken by the characters is not colloquial. How was it for you to deliver such a language?

Yes, it's the chaste Malayalam that is written and not spoken. They have used it for a different kind of impact. If you remember, the characters are not Malayalis but from different parts of India.

About delivering those dialogues, I am in the trade and master of that! (laughs) I simply freaked out.

Are there any dialogues which really touched you?

There are so many of them in the film that it is tough to pick them. But the one where I say, 'When there is a fire in a house, only the daughter-in-law gets burnt and not the daughter.' It is a shocking reality that happens all the time and you see at least one such story every day in the newspapers.

Did you, at any point, discuss the dialogues with Soorya Krishnamoorthy?

No. The only time he spoke to me was before I accepted the film. He called me and said, 'Ramadas is a committed young man. Please do the role. I cannot think of anyone else doing the role.' That was the only dialogue we exchanged.

Image: A scene from Melvilasom

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'I am happy that a film like this came to me'

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Unlike your other films where you deliver dialogues in a more dramatic way, here, you have done it in a very subtle and understated way. Any particular reason for that?

Though many people on the set were apprehensiave when I chose to say the dialogues in a less dramatic manner, the director was very confident. I felt to have an impact, the dialogues had to be delivered in that particular way. 

What reaction are you getting after the film's release?

Compliments are pouring in. I knew a certain section of the audience would love the film but what has come is overwhelming. I am happy that a film like this came to me and it happened because of my contribution too. Such films and roles are hard to come by these days. That is why I didn't want to miss the chance. I wanted it to happen.

Will this be a landmark film in your career?

Not only in my career, in the history of Malayalam cinema and Indian cinema, this will be a landmark film.

Image: A scene from Melvilasom

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