Why flops don't bother Prithviraj
Prithviraj is not worried about the failure of his latest Malayalam films at the box office. One look on the line up of high profile projects in the pipeline, and we know why.
Clad in a shirt and mundu with spectacles to boot, the actor looks totally different from his usual stylish action hero avatar at the location of director M Mohanan's Manikyakkallu, a film where plays a school teacher.
In this exclusive interview, the hero talks about his films and future plans. Excerpts:
Is it to get out of the 'action hero' tag that you decided to do Manikyakkallu?
No. I was committed to this project sometime back. It is just now that the shooting has started.
What is your role in Manikyakkallu?
My role is that of a qualified young teacher who goes work in a school in a remote village. It was a school from where more than 4000 students have passed out, but now there are less than 40 students. He is a self assured man who has to face tough situations. The students hail from various backgrounds and he knows exactly how to handle situations arising from such diversity.
'I am proud of Arjunan Sakshi'
How excited are you about Lijo Jose Pellissery's City of God, which could be your next release?
I am very excited and truly believe the film is the first of its kind in Malayalam, in the sense that I have not seen a more real looking commercial film before. Everything is so real about it. I love the way the film has been shot and I have a lot of faith in the filmmaker, Lijo Jose Pellissery (who made Nayakan with Indrajith).
You're also doing cameos. There's Shafi's Makeup Man and also Baburaj's forthcoming film, Manushyamrugam...
Shafi had come to me with this role of an actor in Makeup Man, and I accepted it. I don't know much about Manushyamrugam. I have done it for director Baburaj, who is a friend.
Were you disappointed with the way Arjunan Sakshi fared at the box office?
I am proud of the film, regardless of the box office report. I am sure that it is a film which should have been made. It doesn't make sense when you just prefer not to watch films like Arjunan Sakshi and then keep complaining that nobody is trying to do something different. It is very easy for me to do another Puthiya Mugham or Pokkiri Raja as I can always fall back on that safe option. The fact that I don't give into that temptation as an actor should be appreciated.
'I have absolutely no complaints about Anwar'
Have you done a post mortem on the failure of your recent films, Anwar, Thriller and Arjunan Sakshi?
Of course, I don't have any complaints about Thriller but there may be certain things which director B Unnikrishnan and I would agree that we could have done differently. We were sure about what we wanted. But then Thriller didn't get accepted the way we would have liked it to be and I share the responsibility for it.
But Anwar is a film that I have absolutely no complaints about. Regardless of what the producer might have said or not, Anwar remains one of my personal favourites. I'm not convinced of his statement that he lost money on that film because Amal Neerad and I personally know what was spent on it. I don't know how the film could lose money and if it did, I don't know how.
'Tejabhai & Family is perhaps my first comic caper'
You will also be seen doing comic roles next with Tejabhai & Family and Mallu Singh?
Tejabhai & Family is perhaps my first comic caper. It is not a senseless comedy but a genuine love story which will also make you laugh. Tejabhai is a young 27-year-old don who controls Kuala Lumpur, and falls in love but has to hide his identity.
I loved the story of Mallu Singh when director Vysakh and scenarists Sachi-Sethu narrated it to me. The impression that you get from the promos is what the film is all about. It is one of those films which will make you want to watch it as soon as you listen to the story.
What are your other forthcoming projects?
P T Kunhi Mohammed's Veeraputhran, Diphan's Singaravelan, Johny Antony's Masters, Rosshan Andrrews' Mumbai Police, Lal Jose film written by Bobby Sanjay and Aatu Jeevitham, besides films by Amal Neerad and Anwar Rasheed.
Image: Prithviraj in Mallu Singh