Actor Unni Mukundan believes that he has enough time to prove his mettle. Ithu Pathiramanal, starring him in the lead, releases on Friday.

For Unni Mukundan, movies are always built around heroes. And the handsome hunk believes that action roles suit him the best.. Considering the number of hits in his kitty, things have not really been going great guns on the career front. But Unni believes that these are still early days and he is confident about making to make a mark of his own in the world of movies. Unni plays the lead in Ithu Pathiramanal, scripted by Babu Janardhanan and directed by M.Padmakumar, which releases today. Jayasurya, Remya Nambheesan and Pradeep Rawat are also in the cast. In an exclusive interview, Unni explains why he loves his image as an action hero. Excerpts:

Are you keeping your fingers crossed for Ithu Pathiramanal?

(Smiles) Ithu Pathiramanal is very special for me. One of the reasons is that I haven’t played a proper villager before. In fact, I had been following the reports on the project much before I became a part of it. It had a schedule break in between and I was chosen for the role based on my performance in Bombay March 12, even before Mallu Singh became a hit.

Your character in the film?

My character Eldho plans to avenge his father’s murder. His only aim is to retaliate against those responsible for his family’s misery.

You were not the original choice for quite a few films including Ithu Pathiramanal. Does that affect you?

Actually, I was the third choice for the role. But I don’t consider it a negative aspect that scripts are not being written with me in mind. It doesn’t bother me as long as the movie is good and I have a nice role to perform. I have a positive outlook.

Are you comfortable with your tag as an action hero?

I am thoroughly enjoying it and I feel that such roles are offered to me due to my physique. Other than Prithviraj now, there are not many actors around doing action roles in Malayalam cinema. But I am not limiting myself to such characters only. For instance, my forthcoming film Orissa is a romantic tale and shows a completely different side of the actor in me.

But the general theory is that the acting credentials of brawny heroes are rarely noted.

I had a life in films before Mallu Singh and I did four films. Unfortunately none of them had a good run at the box office and my action-packed role in Mallu Singh was noted. My efforts have always been to do characters of varying shades. I have done less than 10 films until now and I believe that I have time to prove myself as a credible actor.

Except for Mallu Singh, most of your films did not fare well at the box office. were flops. Do you feel that you should be more careful about your choice of films?

I don’t regret doing any of those films regardless of their commercial success. I wanted to become an actor and all I wanted was not to repeat my roles. I started off with Seedan, in which I played a homely guy. Then I played a villain in Bangkok Summer. My character, Shajahan, in Bombay March 12 got me noticed. With Ezhaam Sooryan, I became a solo hero and then came my role as a shy youngster with a stammer in Thalsamayam Oru Penkutty. In my own way, I have tried to experiment with varied characters right from my early days.

How do you plan to position yourself in the industry from now on?

I come from a ‘non-filmi’ background and always dreamt of becoming a hero. But I think that the time is not right for hero-oriented films. Heroes have always kept the industry going and hero worship has always been there. I connect with my friends and fans and the feedback that I have received makes me want me to do action hero roles. I will continue doing all that I am doing now.

Which are your future projects?

I have almost completed Perarasu’s Samrajyam 2. It is so exciting to do the sequel to a hit, which was made when I was barely three years old. I have also completed most portions of Padmakumar’s Orissa, in which my character is that of a cop who falls in love with an Oriya girl. I will be doing Harikumar’s Kaattum Mazhayum and Diphan’s Rangoli next.