Mammootty is no doubt one of the most adored among film stars in India. In his late fifties and already a grandpa, the mega-star of Malayalam Cinema, whose acting talent and fame has crossed all frontiers and many seas, still looks much younger than he really is and dons all kinds of roles with an ease that causes envy to many. It’s no exaggeration that even youngsters admire and adore him for the physique that he has been maintaining down the years. The actor, who has been portraying roles of all hues, is all set to enthrall us with ‘Pazhassi Raja’, the magnum opus in which he teams up once again with Hariharan and MT Vasudevan Nair. Here’s Malayalees’ favourite Mammookka in a casual chat about ‘Pazhassi Raja’ and of course some other topics too:
*In the first place, what made you choose to do this film, or rather this character?
– To be honest, it was an actor’s urge to do something significant, something worthwhile that attracted me to the role.
*You, Hariharan and MT are teaming up after a gap of two decades. How come this project happened?
– We have been planning to do something again after ‘Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha’, a film on the same lines. We discussed many other subjects and finally landed upon this as we felt that the story of Pazhassi Raja has much significance.
*So many stars- you, Sharath Kumar, Manoj.K.Jayan, Padmapriya, Kaniha, Suresh Krishna; so big a budget; involvement of stalwarts like Illayaraja and Resul Pookutty. What kind of a movie is ‘Pazhassi Raja’- commercial or arty?
– It’s a movie that has to it the commercial feel and is not at all the typical art-house film. But it’s artistically done. In fact it would rate high on the artistic side.
*Could you comment on the relevance of doing such a film now?
– The story of ‘Pazhassi Raja’ has its relevance at all times. We need not see it as a period film or a historical movie. It’s a film with a definite story-line. It’s the story of a freedom fighter. The intention behind making the film is of course to make known to the people of India the story of a hero from South India. Pazhassi Raja had fought a war against the British much before the Sepoy Mutiny. That’s the reason why the film is going to be released in different languages.
*Did you, on your side, make any preparations for this film or for your character?
– Not much. On the acting side, it’s just like doing any other role. Only the martial arts thing makes it different. Anyway, I did do some reading and all to keep myself informed about the character.
*There are other actors too in Malayalam. How come only you are selected to play characters like Chanthu (‘Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha’) and ‘Pazhassi Raja’?
– That’s for the makers of these films to answer. As for me, it’s my job to do the role that I am entrusted with. And once I am chosen to do a role, I do it with all sincerity.
*On the professional front, Mohanlal, the other super-star of Malayalam movies, is your rival and competitor. How’s it on the personal level? Are you friends?
– More than friends. Our personal relationship has always been strong; and it has been growing stronger over the years.
*You look so young compared to your real age and are so fit and agile. What’s the secret of it all?
-It’s no secret at all. It’s God’s grace, that’s all I can say.
*You have always been making strong, categorical statements in many social and political issues. Do you have any intentions to enter politics?
– Not at all. I am happy here, in cinema. Of course I have my political vision and my own opinions too in everything of social and political relevance. But I don’t want to be actively into politics.
*You have earned so many awards and recognitions, on the national and international level. You are so popular. But it seems success has never taken to your head. How do you keep so cool? How’s it that you are so humble?
– That’s my nature. That’s all I can say about it.
Courtesy: Sampark PR, Mumbai