Fahadh Faasil gives us a taste of the unconventional yet again with his new flick Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla.

A decade after he made his debut, Fahadh Faasil is the flavour of the season in Mollywood. In his second coming in the industry, the young actor has given some well-appreciated, author backed-performances in movies as varied as Cocktail, 22 Female Kottayam, Diamond Necklace and, Annayum Rasoolum, earning for his choice roles, the monikers ‘new generation hero’ and ‘thinking man’s hero.’ Fahadh, though, seems pretty nonchalant and a tad reticent about his success, preferring to be rooted to reality and letting his characters speak for themselves. Now, the actor continues his unconventional run on the big screen with director V. K. Prakash’s Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla, scripted by Shankar Ramakrishnan, which releases today. Akam, one of the films that fetched him the State award for the second best actor last year, is expected to release soon, and Amen, Red Wine and Emmanuel also are in various stages of completion. He will shortly begin work on Anwar Rasheed’s episode in the five-film project Anju Sundarikal. In an interview with FridayReview, Fahadh talks about his life has changed during in recent times. Excerpts…

How different do you think is Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla?

My films don’t have any great messages to convey or any political statements to make. They only have entertainment value. Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla is an experiment where I have tried my best to entertain viewers. The film is about the interaction between a writer named Prem and Narendran, a character that he creates. At certain points the film is also a tribute to Manjil Virinja Pookkal, which is perhaps evident from the names of the characters. I found it an interesting and different concept.

Do you feel that people expect you to experiment with something new every time one of your films come out?

I don’t think people expect anything of the sort. On that note, I want to experiment. I like getting into the skin of the characters. When you watch an actor who lives in another part of the world on screen, you can relate to his/her emotions here in Kerala. This is the inherent magic of cinema. I am quite thrilled to explore such possibilities.

What then is your style of acting?

I don’t know what my style is but I believe that any actor who acts from the heart has a style. After all the highs and lows that I’ve had, I have decided that from now on I will only do things from my heart.

How do you prepare yourself for a role?

Acting requires a lot of mental preparation. You have to tune your body into the character and it is a tiresome process. In Annayum Rasoolum, for example, I actually tried method acting for the first time. I stayed in Fort Kochi, interacted with locals there and even wore their clothes. The people of Fort Kochi are often portrayed on screen as colourful and loud. I wanted Rasool to be just the opposite. It was a challenge to do it differently and it was tremendously exciting too. Rasool is a person who has more negatives than positives in his life. Yet, he is always well-groomed, pleasant, and has a positive outlook. It is the most satisfying role that I have done till date. Now, I am looking forward to the reactions of the viewers to Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla.

There have been various opinions about the duration and pace of your recent release Annayum Rasoolum. What is your take on the issue?

It’s perhaps the film that is closest to my heart. Honestly, I wouldn’t have taken off even a second from the film. It is the love story of Anna and Rasool. Although we have seen several love stories in the past, this is also the story of a township and two different cultures in a little corner of the world. It is so realistic a film that even a bystander in a frame has a story to tell. The film was shot using sync sound and so it’s natural that there will be a bit of a lag. It’s a new style of filmmaking in Mollywood. I feel that all this debate is about people getting used to it.

Are you disappointed that all the issues diverted attention from the film?

Not really. I respect the audience. I am doing the kind of films that I want to be part of. If those kind of films guarantee their producers returns on investments, then there’s nothing stopping me from doing such films. Luckily, that has happened with all my films. That’s why, at the moment, I am chilled out and happy.

What do you think of move to brand you as a ‘new generation’ hero?

At least, there has been no such move on my part (smiles).

If my movies work, then it is more than enough for me. I am fascinated by the Malayalam movies of the 1980s such as Innale, Thoovanathumbikal, Namukku Paarkkaan Munthirithoppukal and so on, which are the actual new-generation films. I am not a person who is very much influenced by foreign films – my favourite foreign film is Giuseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso, which, incidentally, is almost like a Malayalam film (laughs). I think I am very rooted and I believe that there is nothing called ‘new generation’ cinema.