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'Happy to get a Special Mention at National Awards'

Last updated on: April 1, 2013 10:20 IST

'Happy to get a Special Mention at National Awards'

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Paresh C Palicha in Kochi

Malayalam cinema had a rich haul at this year's Nationa Awards with more than a dozen awards and a couple of Special Mentions.

One of the Special Mentions turned out to be really special and that is for director-producer-actor Lal, who got it for his performance in Ozhimuri (the State Film Awards announced before the National Awards had completely ignored him).

In the film directed by Madhupal, Lal's character Thanupillai covers a spectrum from the age of 40 to 80 and he even briefly appears as Thanupillai's father, the wrestler Sivanpillai.

Lal speaks candidly about the Awards and his approach to acting and performing under the direction of his son Jean Paul Lal (aka Lal Jr) in his forthcoming film Honeybee.

Congratulations on the National Award for your performance in Ozhimuri. How does it feel?

Thanks. I am happy. These Awards are decided by a jury that sees hundreds of films made during a specific period and when they think that your work deserves a special mention, it is a good feeling.

It makes you feel proud that what you have done is worthwhile.

Image: Lal in Ozhimuri

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'I have no qualms about losing out to Vikram Ghokhale'

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What kind of preparation did you do for this film?

I had to do very little homework as far as the language and such things are concerned because scriptwriter Jeyamohan and director Madhupal had done the spadework for me. They guided me through it. I had to concentrate only on the performance for a particular scene.

My character in Ozhimuri goes through a lifespan from the age of 40 to 80. There are subtle changes in the body language, voice modulation and the way he reacts to situations as he ages. So I had to focus on those things.

One of the explanations given for your losing out to Vikram Ghokhale for Best Actor in the National Awards is that he is older and may not get another shot at the Awards...

I have no qualms about it. It is simply like me stepping aside for an elder in the family to be honoured. Or, to put it another way, if I am invited to a function as the guest of honour and I spot one of my seniors on the stage, I will give him the first opportunity to light the lamp.

But do you agree with such an approach?

Frankly speaking, no. Just because, who knows, I may not get an opportunity to win the Award ever again or such a strong role. But, these arguments are futile as these are subjective matters.


Image: Lal in Ozhimuri

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Prithviraj did a good job in Celluloid'

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Your hard work was not considered good enough by the jury of the State Awards...

What can I say? As I told you, the jury is just a group of people who think you are better or worse than the other person. In fact, I have seen Celluloid (which won Best Film) and liked it. Prithviraj has done a good job and deserved the recognition that came his way.

Still, it would have been nice if they had mentioned who all were in contention and how close they were to winning. Sometimes, being totally ignored after doing all the hard work is depressing for an artist. Just a mention appreciating his effort may boost his confidence and help him carry on doing good work.

Director Madhupal is lucky for you. His first film as a director Thalappavu (2008), won you your first State Award. What is your equation with him?

He is a special kind of director. He starts his homework months before the shooting starts, and he does not leave anything to chance. He is very easy to work with. His narration of a scene is enough for an actor to get into the character.


Image: Movie poster of Ozhimuri

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'I am confident about son son Jean Paul Lal directing me'

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Has he promised you a role in his next film, considering the rapport you share with him?

I told you, he does not work in that style. He goes to the actors who are suitable for his story. I can just hope that he does have something for me whenever he directs a film again.

Now, you are working in Honeybee, the first feature length film directed by your son Jean Paul Lal. How does it feel?

I have worked under him in a short film titled Debt in the past. At that time, I was anxious not knowing how prepared he was for the job. But now I am confident about him and treat him as I would treat any other director.



Image: Lal in Ozhimuri

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