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'I always wanted to be a star'

By Vijay George
Last updated on: June 24, 2015 11:13 IST
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He is the toast of Malayalam cinema; the new super star. He is Nivin Pauly, a techie turned hero.

It’s been raining hits for him for some time now, but Nivin Pauly remains cool.

He catapulted into the big league with Thattathin Marayathu. He had a dream run with 1983, Ohm Shaanthi Oshaana, Bangalore Days, Oru Vadakkan Selfie and now Premam.

After the stupendous success of Premam, he has been called a superstar and as is mandatory in any success story, there have been quite a lot of controversies as well.

In an exclusive interview with Vijay George/, the genuinely elusive Nivin Pauly replies to all the questions with maturity.

Did you expect this kind of phenomenal welcome for Premam?

The first priority was to make a good film.

We were confident about director Alphonse Puthren. But, frankly, we did not expect this kind of response even in our wildest dreams.

I have never received such an overwhelming reaction from viewers before. It is so heartening.

What do you think worked for Premam?

A love story should connect with the audience emotionally and Premam has done just that.

Of course, there were so many other factors.

Did the character of Malar hijack most of the credit for the film’s success?

I strongly feel that such characters should happen in films.

It was certain from the start that Malar was going to be the surprise package, a major talking point.

I am thrilled that viewers accepted the character the same way.

You have been anointed a superstar by the media. Do you aspire to be a superstar?

Honestly, I always wanted to be a star (smiles). It’s a dream.

When your film gets successful, there will be such epithets. You tend to be happy about the acceptance, and after a while things become normal. That’s it.

I don’t know when a Premam will happen again.

Some have compared you to Mohanlal, which miffed the superstar’s fans.

I would say that such a comparison is a joke, nothing more.

I am just 25 films old and I feel such comparisons with such a genius are not even to be thought of.

Lalettan (Mohanlal) is in a different league. He has proved to the world what a talent he is.

These are early years for me as an actor.

Image: A scene from Premam

And how did you feel about the comparisons that were made between you and Prithviraj in Ivide?

I am not bothered about such comparisons.

Prithviraj is a far better actor than me.

I am his fan. The way he talks and his controlled acting and his command over the language are just awesome.

Maybe certain other factors have worked for me. So there is no point in making such comparisons.

The general perception is that you are limiting your talents to a certain comfort zone.

Who can gauge what is the logic behind such opinions? If an actor goes for more variety roles, he will be criticised for not being selective.

If you become selective, the criticism will be for not doing a variety of roles.

If a film becomes successful, the actor is blamed for being commercial and not having a true love for movies.

When we do serious films, we will be blamed for not planning our career properly.

I believe that what one should do is to make good cinema and try to make it successful.

If I go out of my comfort zone, and if the experiment fails, I will be called a fool. It’s then better to listen to your own instincts.

Director Shyamaprasad’s comment that “Nivin has no range” became controversial before he denied having said that.

Even if he had actually made remarks on those lines, I have no issues with him.

I would love to hear positive criticism when it comes from such a filmmaker.

He used to point out certain flaws in my acting even during the shooting and it was meant for my advantage.

Image: Nivin Pauly in Premam

There are reports that you have hiked your remuneration to Rs 2 crore.

It was created by a section of the media. That is too huge an amount for this industry.

Of course, I am not going to reveal what I am charging for a film (laughs).

It is said that the shooting of Action Hero Biju had to be stopped due to certain internal issues.

It was a baseless story created by a daily. If they had heard such rumours, they should have asked us for a clarification before publishing.

The actual reason was that I had an infection in my eye. Since I am there in most of the scenes, we took a break for a couple of days.

Have you opted out of the already announced projects by Santosh Sivan and Shibu Anthikkad?

Currently I am shooting for Action Hero Biju and Santosh sir wanted my dates during early July.

The delay would have affected his next film, a Hollywood project. So we decided to postpone it.

It has not been shelved. The script of the other film is not ready as yet.

Which are your future projects?

Right now, nothing has been decided.

I have a Tamil film coming up and then a Malayalam film by debutant director Althaf.

I am not sure at this point which one will start first.

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Vijay George in Kochi