Tête-à-tête Actor Jayasurya has of late been experimenting with roles and winning acclaim for his efforts.

Jayasurya’s rise to stardom could well be a source of inspiration for wannabe actors. From being a rank outsider to cinema, the genial actor quickly found his niche in Mollywood. Lately, Jayasurya has been on an experimentation spree, choosing roles and characters that test his mettle. His latest role – that of a frustrated, reticent youth named Abdu in director V.K. Prakash’s Trivandrum Lodge, for example, became the talk of the town for several reasons. It won him bouquets and brickbats! Jayasurya, who is presently shooting for director Aji John’s Hotel California, for which he’s teaming up with his buddy Anoop Menon once again, talks to FridayReview, about his career, dreams and the controversies that followed Trivandrum Lodge. Excerpts…

During recent years many young actors have gained popularity in Malayalam. How tough is the competition now?

I don’t know if other actors are competing among each other but I am certainly not interested in such a contest. Instead, I’m interested in the actual competitions – the one between good films and the one between exciting themes. I am happy when films succeed – and not just my films; but films starring Fahadh Faasil, Dulquer Salmaan or Sunny Wayne or any other actor in Mollywood. Viewers have new options and this will, in turn, benefit all the actors, as we will have more freedom to experiment.

Has your selection of films changed after the emergence of trends?

All I want to know from a script is whether I will like it when it is made into a film. And, of course, I like to see what is there in it for me as an actor.

Do you think that nowadays viewers come to the theatres with high expectations?

The viewers were always waiting for different films and have always appreciated such efforts. I think the industry was late in realising this aspect. Maybe that is why some people term it ‘new generation films.’ I feel this change has evolved from a new kind of thinking. Malayalam cinema has grown a lot and is grabbing the attention of people everywhere. As an actor, I want to be part of fresh thoughts and processes.

In 2012, apart from hits Trivandrum Lodge and Husbands in Goa, you also had quite a few box office failures. What went wrong?

Be it Kunjaliyan, Vaadhyar or 101 Weddings, all those films were committed earlier. I don’t regret doing them. I believe it was a right decision then and no one can predict the fate of a film. My role (as an effeminate dancer) in 101 Weddings, especially, was a challenging role for an actor and my performance was well-appreciated. Of course, I plan to be a little more careful in the future while selecting my films.

Playing Abdu turned out to be a milestone in your career…

I liked the character a lot. I don’t know if the audience realised the depth of intensity of the character. I worked hard to keep it subtle. It’s not easy to play such a character in a convincing way. I feel that not many actors would accept such a role. Abdu certainly is not your run-of-the-mill hero. He has shades of grey as well. In real life we may be appalled by such a person and that’s what makes it a risky role for an actor. But such characters will prompt any actor to prepare better.

Yet, the film’s content came in for sharp criticism and even some of your dialogues came under the scanner. How did that affect you?

I am not bothered about criticism. I was aware about the plot when I accepted the role. Abdu grew up in an environment where his freedom and desires were confined. And that’s why he can talk only in the crude way he does in the film. I don’t understand why people don’t want to talk about Anoop’s character who stays loyal to the memory of his late wife, and instead focus on a sexually frustrated youth!

You seem to have formed a team with actor and scenarist Anoop Menon…

We had worked together in Anoop’s first film, Kattuchembakam and since then we have maintained our friendship. After Cocktail, Beautiful and Trivandrum Lodge, it’s understandable that the expectations from our team would be high. A few flops and every one might change their opinion (laughs)! But I believe our faith in each other will be there even then.

Your forthcoming projects?

Currently, I am doing Hotel California, which has been scripted by Anoop Menon. I am all excited about Rosshan Andrrews’ Mumbai Police. My next release is Rajeevnath’s David and Goliath, again with Anoop, which is a film that will touch the viewer’s hearts. I’ve also got Syamaprasad’s English. In the film I play a Kathakali artiste named Sankaran, who reaches London and stays there as an illegal immigrant. He finds the going tough but he has to survive. It was a tremendous experience for me to work with a filmmaker like Syamaprasad.

You used to do many solo projects earlier but these days you seem to be mostly seen in multi-starrers. Is that a conscious decision?

See, I am not a hero. I am an actor. An actor can come in any shape while the hero will have a fixed format. All my focus now is on my characters.

Hard-worker

Director V. K. Prakash says:

“Jayasurya is a hardworking actor; one who is so passionate about films. He puts so much effort into every role, asks so many questions and he is ready to do all it takes to get it right. He was so concerned on the first day of the shooting of Trivandrum Lodge. We worked on his mannerisms and the way he walks. I feel that he is growing as an actor with every new film.