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|March 13, 2001||
Mohanlal's new obsession
D Jose in Trivandrum
Malayalam superstar Mohanlal is ready to stretch his talent to the stage.
The versatile actor has chosen to begin with a Sanskrit play, Karnabharam, written and directed by Kavalam Narayana Panickkar, who himself is known for his innovations on stage.
The full-length play, depicting the inner turmoil of Karna, is due to be staged at the Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi on March 29 as part of the National School of Drama's theatre festival.
Mohanlal has taken time off his busy shooting schedule in Hyderabad for a fortnight-long rehearsal at Kavalam's Sopanam Art of Performing Arts, Trivandrum. The actor is busy learning the basic steps under the tutelage of Kavalam and his experts. Mohanlal has already mastered the Sanskrit dialogues made available to him in cassette form.
Though Mohanlal thought Sanskrit would be beyond his grip, learning it did not pose any problem for him. "The language was very kind to me. I have been able to grasp the finer points of the rich language," he said.
Both director and the actor are excited about the project. Kavalam said he was hopeful of exploiting the full potential in the actor, who has always shown the humility to learn more and work hard in his quest for excellence. He said that the work that Mohanlal put in to learn Kathakali and Kalaripayattu for his previous films would come in good stead for Karnabharam.
While the Kathakali experience will help him bring out the two conflicting emotions besieging Karna before the war well, Kalaripayattu would serve him in his face-off with the enemy, Kavalam said and added that the actor has been making kalari poses more than they expected him to do. "His body formations are good and it suites Karna’s role well. Mohanlal would easily bring out Karna's moments of turmoil and thrill," he added.
Mohanlal, who has been nursing the dream of associating with one of Kavalam's projects, said the role he has got is very challenging. "In Vaanaprastham I had to depict only the Kathakali artiste's sorrows. But here, I have conflicting emotions to express. If it was a twin personality in Vaanaprastham, it is a tri-dimensional personality that I have to play in Karnabharam," he added.
Mohanlal is least afraid of performing before the audience as he has acted in several amateur plays before he started acting in films. However, he admits that the present project is more daunting. "You cannot compare Kavalam's play with the amateur plays I did. Though there are other characters in the play, the theme revolves around Karna. It is almost like a solo performance. Some of the scenes are really touching and challenging."
Mohanlal, who has been upset with the cold treatment Vaanaprastham got in the country, is also looking for roles in Hindi. He has signed for a role in Gopal Verma’s new directorial venture Company, in which he will play a police commissioner.
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