In the script of life, it is all moments worth soaking in for Fahadh Faasil now.
At a plump apartment complex along the Kozhikode beach, quietude is interrupted only in the niche where Salam Bappu’s Red Wine is being brewed. A few steps away from the shouts of ‘silence’ and ‘ready’, and the piercing yellow light, in a room with many men tapping on their cell phones and laptops, actor Fahadh Faasil rests on a messy bed.
The actor resolutely evades interviews, but once there, his reservations don’t come in the way. “To be frank, I don’t see the point of an interview,” he says. In an industry where many are growing busy on networking sites, Fahadh prefers to keep it quiet and low-profile. “My films should talk,” he says.
That way, there are quite a few talking points this year for the young actor. After an eventful 2012 where he gave an intense 22 Female Kottayam and a boisterous Diamond Necklace followed by a rather sedate Friday, the actor is gearing up with four releases this year. Fahadh’s second- coming is marked by roles with an edge — those that delicately nudge the norms. As the complex Arjun in Chaappa Kurishu, Cyril, the pimp, in 22 Female Kottayam and the extravagant Arun in Diamond Necklace, he gently scraped at the gilded aura of a ‘hero’. “Roles don’t fascinate me. It is the narrative, the screenplay that is fascinating,” he says.
Fahadh experiments further with this week’s release, cinematographer Rajeev Ravi’s directorial debut Annayum Rasoolum. “It is a very important movie for me.” If it was inherent complexity that marked his previous roles, this one challenged him with its seeming simplicity.
“I had to filter myself for this one, get rid of the complexities that I have within me. Rasool is a transparent, innocent, seemingly simple guy. I had to re-work my body language and experiment. That makes me very curious. Audience response is all that matters to me,” he says.
The audience feedback had broken him a decade ago when his debut Kaiyetthum Doorathu proved a debacle. “Failure affects me hard,” he says. Much was expected from Fazil’s son in a dream debut directed by his father. “People expect star kids to be perfect — horse-riding, fighting. It was my mistake. Maybe it was not the kind of role for me either.” Fahadh disappeared. Eight years on, he re-entered with Kerala Café and has since been a delightful surprise.
The eight years in the U.S., where he also studied Philosophy, changed him. “My life changed. The kind of people I met, the places I saw, the faces I refused to forget. Interaction with life opened me up,” he says.
Having opened his account with a failure, Fahadh also appears to have nurtured a sense of detachment. “I have grown up seeing success and failure. So I am prepared for that,” he says, adding that he has seen his father’s success and so too when that phase changed.
Films don’t seem to be about stardom for Fahadh. “I don’t see why it has to be celebrated, so adulatory. We have to look at the industry as a whole. Every film has to be a commercial film in the sense that it should do good for the film industry. There are still a lot of emotions to be explored. I believe it is the right time to do that and it is important to have a space to continue doing that,” he says.
New things by new people excite him. Fahadh is seen attempting the unconventional, bringing in new nuances to his performances and breaking the mould. “The idea is to behave. The idea is to get everyone to behave. May be I don’t know the normal narrative pattern,” he says. But he is quick to add that the ‘difference’ should never be deliberate, rather unconscious.
He is often presumed to be rejecting more roles than taking them on. Fahadh quells the belief with typical self-deprecating humour saying, “not that many roles are being written for me.” If he chose to take it slow despite the success of Diamond Necklace, he says, “I am lazy.” “I take time to get convinced and I am not really a workaholic. After Diamond Necklace I needed time. But I used that time to plan this,” says Fahadh about his releases — Amen, Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla and Red Wine — lined-up.
He is choosy, he says, also because he is an actor with limitations. Quiz him on his “limitation” and he answers, “I tend to internalise things. If I am not very aware of the situation, the emotions involved, if it doesn’t strike a chord, it is difficult for me.”
An actor who seems to have learnt his lessons through experiences, Fahadh is now in a zone where he is enjoying it all. “I love what I am doing. I loved school, I loved college. But I learnt more after I was out of these institutions. I have had a pretty cinematic life. My progress has been natural — failure, disappearance, travel. I get deep into things and get out of it too.”
He is also penning down a few things. “Yeah, I am writing, a few interesting thoughts,” again doggedly staying away from naming them — a script, a story. Has he ever thought of direction? “May be if I run out of work.”