Nivin Pauly plays a romantic hero in Thattathin Marayathu. The actor talks about why that’s a departure from his real self.

For techie-turned-actor Nivin Pauly, things are certainly looking up. After quitting his job as a software engineer for a career in films, he made an impressive debut as one of the five guys of a group of friends in Vineeth Sreenivasan’s maiden directorial venture, Malarvady Arts Club. Some not-so-great roles in films such as The Metro and Sevenes, brief appearances in Traffic and Spanish Masala, and a hugely popular music video titled ‘Nenjodu Cherthu’ from the album Yuvhh later, Nivin has gone for a sort of a makeover by playing a romantic hero in the forthcoming film, Thattathin Marayathu, written and directed by his buddy Vineeth. Nivin talks about his work as an actor, his dreams, and also on why he is not too often seen on screen. Excerpts from an interview…

So, a romantic hero in Thattathin Marayathu. That’s a first

I play Vinod, an undergraduate student who is pretty average in his studies; he has no real plans in life. He falls in love with Ayesha [played by Isha Talwar], whom he encounters at a wedding, and tries to woo her from then on. It’s a romantic tale of two young people who follow different religions.

What difference do you feel in yourself as an actor post- Malarvady Arts Club?

I have been offered some challenging roles but I have learnt how to choose the right script and to work with directors who are really passionate about filmmaking. I have not done too many films in between. I am not in a hurry to do the maximum number of films and prefer to be selective about my roles to going on a signing spree.

What made you choose acting?

(Smiles) I’ve always been interested in films. I was working as a software engineer in Infosys. I quit because I lost interest in it. I had a group of friends who wanted to make it big in films and that’s when the audition for Malarvady Arts Club happened. I got selected and it opened the doors to my dream world.

How important was Malarvady Arts Club for your career?

It was the best launch that a newcomer could ever get. I received a lot of amazing response for my character in the film. Vineeth had a definite idea about what he wanted from me and I was moulded accordingly.

The angry Prakashan in Malarvady Arts Club or the romantic Vinod in Thattathin Marayathu. Which character do you prefer?

(Smiles) Frankly, I am not too comfortable doing a romantic role. When I was being briefed about Vinod, I was told that the character should have some sort of a ‘restlessness’ in him, as most young men with romance in their mind are like that. But I am just the opposite in real life. I am, by nature, pretty reserved. It was after I became an actor that I started interacting more with people from different walks of life!

I think I was more comfortable playing Prakashan than Vinod. But I don’t plan to do romantic roles that often. In fact, before becoming a part of the film, I was helping Vineeth search for a new face to play the male lead in Thattathin Marayathu. Then Vineeth saw me with a clean-shaven look at a function and asked me if I would be interested in doing the role myself. I reduced my weight and worked on my looks in a bid to look younger.

What do you fear the most as an actor?

Success. The poor show of a film can be crucial in an actor’s career. Maybe that is why some actors choose to act in a lot of films so as not to be affected by a single hit or a flop. I want to do only films that I am perfectly comfortable with.

With quite a number of films being announced with young actors in the lead, do you think this is the right time for someone to start his career in Malayalam films?

I feel that anyone can make his entry into films, at any point of time, as it is the quality of the film and the acting talent that eventually matter.

What are your forthcoming projects?

Bhoopadathil Illatha Oridam, Chapters and Neram are in various stages of completion. Then there is the forthcoming Sathyan Anthikkad film, which is set on a seashore. There are a few other really exciting projects in the pipeline too, about which I can’t talk now.

Finally, which is tougher - being a software engineer or an actor?

Acting is strenuous, both physically and mentally. But if you are passionate about it, nothing can be more exciting than acting.