As an actor Jayasurya keeps re-inventing himself. He plays three roles and has four get-ups in ‘Nallavan’.

We've come to expect something different from Jayasurya. The affable actor who is still gung ho about the box office success of Saji Surendran's rom-com ‘Happy Husbands,' in which he had a lead role, once again re-invents himself; this time as the lead in the intense action drama ‘Nallavan,' directed by another serial-director-turned-filmmaker – Aji John.

Landmark film

By all means and intent, ‘Nallavan' has been pegged as a landmark film in Jayasurya's career. In it the actor not only essays three stages in the life of a youth named Kocherukkan but he also appears in four distinct get-ups. Plus it's also his first as the lead in an action role.

“I wouldn't call it a challenging role per se for I approach whatever role I get as a job rather than as a challenge; a job that is just like any other where you come up trumps if you give your best. I would rather term it as something different from my other roles just because of the physical strain that I underwent, what with mastering the brogue peculiar to the border areas of Kerala-Tamil Nadu where the story is set, the frenetic costume changes and lightning adaptations from one character to the other while the light was still good, the odd ligament tear while doing stunts and so on,” says the actor in a phone interview with Friday Review.

‘Nallavan' narrates the story of Kocherukkan who is a servant to a ‘gounder' (landlord) and whose world revolves around his childhood sweetheart, Malli (Mythili of ‘Paleri Manickyam….' fame), who also works as a hired help.

However, joy is short lived for the lovebirds as Kocherukkan is framed for certain crimes and is thrown behind bars.

Why he desperately attempts five jailbreaks is the crux of the story. “‘Nallavan' is a realistic film that explores the richness of the dual culture that is unique to the border areas. I appear as a 20-year-old, a 25-year-old and as a 35-year-old in the film. There is a wealth of difference between the stages, be it in the costume, the mannerisms and even the physicality,” adds the actor, whose varied filmography makes it hard to typecast him.

Conscious decision

And that's despite having acted in over 40 films in Malayalam and Tamil, both offbeat and commercial, in a career spanning the past decade. Yes, versatility, it seems, is Jayasurya's middle name. “It is a conscious decision on my part to keep my filmography as varied as possible. I believe that an actor has to keep reinventing himself. Besides where is the fun in doing the same kind of roles over and over again?” quips the actor. “I have no aspirations of being a superstar. You should only carry the load you can bear. That's why I have no issues in playing supporting roles, negative roles or acting in multi-starrers,” he adds.

True to his words, Jayasurya has figured in many a multi-starrer; ‘Happy Husbands' ‘Swapnakoodu,' ‘Minnaminnikottam,' ‘Chocolate,' ‘Arabikatha,' ‘Chatikatha Chandu,' being some of the few. For that matter after ‘Nallavan' the actor will next be seen in ‘Cocktail,' a road movie in which he plays a supporting role to ‘Thirakkatha' star Anoop Menon.

Jayasurya was also supposed to turn producer with that film, but later handed over the reigns to Jaleel. Then again 2010 is quite the year for Jayasurya, who has a number of other films in which he plays the lead, all lined up for release.

Busy times ahead

He will be seen in Jairaj's ‘Track with Rahman,' about a singer trying to get a break in the music industry, ‘Kinavalli' by T.V. Chandran in which he plays a double role for the first time, ‘Payyans' by Leo Thaddeus and the films of serial-directors-turned-filmmakers such as K.K. Rajeev and Boban Samuel, to name a few.

Of course, there is also his “buddy” Saji Surendran's next venture ‘Four Friends,' with Jayaram, Meera Jasmine and Kunchako Boban.

Is this busy schedule because he has become a bankable star?

“As I told Saji, one should never make movies just for the sake an actor. I never want my so called star power to be a burden for my directors. I just want to act. Period,” says the actor, a tad modestly.

A master of reinvention, indeed.

Keywords: actor Jayasurya