Asif Ali: Rising star of Malayalam cinema
With the release of Violin, his first film as the solo hero, and the success of Salt N' Pepper, Asif Ali is being seen as the most promising young actor in Malayalam cinema.
All of a sudden, he has become hot property and has several high profile projects lined up. In Joshiy's Sevens, he will team up with a group of youngsters. He is playing the hero in A K Sajan's Asuravithu and in Siby Malayil's forthcoming film.
Asif Ali discusses his roles and his passion for acting.
You've played a romantic hero in Violin, which was also your first film as the sole male lead.
It has always been a passion of mine to be a part of films and I have been careful in choosing my roles. My character is that of an innocent boy from Idukki who is caring and extremely likeable.
I believe that playing the hero is a great responsibility and I worked on my slang and mannerisms. It was indeed fantastic to have started off playing the hero in a Siby Malayil film.
Image: Asif Ali
'I don't want to be slotted into a particular image'
Salt N' Pepper has become the flavour of the season.
It's a new generation, fun film, which is different from the conventional format. The character sketch was great and it was a totally enjoyable experience. It is in the modern style but emotions have been given due importance. It's quite heartening that the film has been tremendously appreciated.
You seem to be experimenting with your characters in a big way.
I don't want to be slotted into a particular image. That is the reason I do various kinds of characters, which includes baddies. In fact, in my debut film Rithu, I played a gay in a subtle way. In Apoorvaragam, I have played a baddie who will do anything for money.
How do you select a role?
When someone narrates a script or a storyline, I usually try to visualise it and think if it would suit me. Of course, I have gone wrong at times. But then that is how it happens in films.
Image: Asif Ali
'My charecter in Salt N' Pepper is the closest to my heart'
What was it like working with director Joshiy in Sevens?
It was wonderful working with Joshiy Sir, and we had a great time shooting for the film with actors Kunchacko Boban, Nadia Moidu, Nivin Pauly, Bhama, Rima Kallingal and so on. Football is the backdrop of the film. My character is called Sooraj and he is a hardware engineer.
What is your character in Asuravithu like?
My character, Don Bosco, is an orphan, growing up in a seminary. He is a polytechnic student, religious and pious. But certain things happen that change him. It is a family-oriented action film. The action element and the script attracted me to this film. The character changes through the film and that seemed really exciting. He doesn't talk much in the first half, limits everything to his own mind and is hesitant to express much. But things change in the second half.
Among the roles you have played, which was the closest to the real Asif Ali?
(Smiles) Tough one, but I think it's Manu in Salt N' Pepper. He does nothing much and is the carefree sort, who doesn't plan his life. But, then, I am serious and focused about my career. I can't multi-task and I am always thinking about the film that I am doing at a particular point of time.
Image: A still from Violin