Prithviraj: What have I done to deserve all this?
His latest hit, Indian Rupee brought Malayalam hero Prithviraj in the news -- but for all the wrong reasons.
Nobody seems to know just why the hero, who was being hailed as the future of Malayalam films until a few months back, is now the subject of nasty comments, videos and messages on websites and mobile texts.
In an exclusive interview with Meghna George, Prithviraj opens up on the controversies.
There are loads of hate comments and videos posted on the Internet and also text messages ridiculing you. Does it bother you?
I have been hearing about it for a long time and I am used to it by now. But it hurts when your family is brought into it. They are not a part of this.
I don't know what I have done to deserve this. If there is some incident because of which all this is happening, I can apologise or do something.
'I don't think I've done anything wrong'
It all started after your marriage, done without the knowledge of the media...
I don't know. I think the vehement attacks started happening much after that. This, I think, has started in the last two months and it seems well organised. I have nothing to say to them. It is very tempting to go and pursue a film career in another language.
I am an actor but also a human being. At the end of the day, I live my life, I have my family and my privacy. It wouldn't have affected me if I had actually done something wrong -- at least I don't think I've done anything wrong.
Eleven years in films is a long time. You start thinking that if this is what your 11 years have come to, it's not worth it. But then, had this so-called character assassination been for professional reasons then Indian Rupee would not have done well.
How did you play this rather deglamorised role in Indian Rupee, when you usually play a very different kind of role?
I don't create the characters. Once they have been created by the writers, the directors conceive them and the actors give them form.
Image: A scene from Mallu Singh
'The credit for Indian Rupee should go to Ranjith'
How was it working with director Ranjith who gave you the first big hit in your career, Nandanam?
Ranjith knew exactly what he wanted and told me in the beginning that I should stop working out and put on more weight. He even threatened to postpone the shoot if I didn't have a paunch!
He knew how my character should look and behave. I had fun because it was one month's vacation for me. With Ranjith at the helm of affairs, you are free of care -- he even tells you how the character must think, walk and behave.
The credit for Indian Rupee should go to him, as it is completely his film.
Many people attributed the success of Indian Rupee to actor Thilakan, who did a fabulous role in it. What did you feel like then?
I don't mind. As long as people like the film, I am okay with it. I am claiming zero credit for the film.
Image: A scene from Indian Rupee
'I take the responsibility for Tejabhai & Family's failure'
How was it working with Thilakan?
I have worked with him before and he is a fantastic actor. What is more awe-inspiring is that at this age, with all the difficulties that he has, he rises above it all when he hears "Action!"
His passion for acting is amazing. He is one of those people who are simply irreplaceable. It's like, if Thilakan is not available, you restructure the character.
What went wrong with Tejabhai & Family?
The judgment went wrong. It happens with all actors and I take responsibility for its failure as I believed the film would do well.
What attracted you to Masters?I really think it is a promising script. The film has a great cast and some well known names working as technicians. It is also good that someone like Sasikumar found the script good enough.
Image: A scene from Tejabhai and Family
'Rani Mukerji has been really kind and helpful'
What's it like shooting for Aiyya, directed by Sachin Kundalkar, which marks your entry into Bollywood?
Besides the fact that I am speaking a different language, there is not much difference. I am playing a south Indian painter who is studying in an Arts College.
For an Anurag Kashyap production, this is a completely different film; it's a funny, romantic comedy but it's not the conventional Bollywood love story.
How is it working with Rani Mukerji?
She is amazingly well prepared for the film. In the sense that she can now actually speak Marathi though she doesn't speak Marathi in the film. She plays a Maharashtrian girl and to get the texture right, she has learnt the language.
She really makes an effort to make sure that everyone else is comfortable. She identifies with the fact that I am new to that industry and has been really kind and helpful. It is really heartening to see the respect that they give you.
Image: A scene from Masters