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Updated: April 24, 2013 17:49 IST

Role play

  • Nita Sathyendran
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The Hindu

Jayasurya is on a roll. On the sidelines of shooting for his new film, Thank You, in the city, the actor talks about exploring the depths of his histrionic skills

May might just turn out to be a landmark month, and 2013, a milestone, in Jayasurya’s career. Not only does the actor have four mega films up for release in the coming month but it’s also four “meaty, exciting and completely different” characters that he says have allowed him to explore his depths as an actor than ever before.

If in English, director Shyamaprasad’s acerbic tale of Malayali immigrant life in England, Jayasurya plays a down-in-his-luck Kathakali actor, in Aji John’s Hotel California, in which he teams up (yet again) with his buddy Anoop Menon, he plays the “lynchpin role” of Airport Jimmy, a ‘Don’. There’s also Rosshan Andrrews’ tale of friendship Mumbai Police, in which he plays the role of a reluctant cop named Aryan. While both Mumbai Police and Hotel California are set for release on May 3, English’s turn at the turnstiles is on May 10. Then there is V.K. Prakash’s Thank You, in which he plays a nameless character – for the first time in his career. “He is the ordinary guy on the street. He is Everyman,” says Jayasurya, during a break in the shoot of the film which is currently progressing in the city. The film is slated for release on May 28.

As soon as his schedule in the city is wrapped up later this week, its back home to Kochi to star in Saji Surendran’s next flick, Partner. And later, most probably in the first week of June, ‘97 Batch Maharajas, again with Anoop, will start rolling. In both the films the actor is said to have significant roles, not to mention plum roles in other upcoming flicks such as the anthologies Anchu Sundarikal (in Aashiq Abu’s short), D Company (in the Deephan’s segment ‘Gangs of Vadakkumnathan’), Pigman… Phew!

“I’m trying to avoid normal roles and films as much as possible,” says Jayasurya. Normal? “Well, films that do not hold much of a challenge for me as an actor; tried and tested roles that I can now effortlessly emote and afford to miss. I want to do more author-backed roles such as the one in English, for example,” he explains. His character Kathakali artiste Sankaran, who hails from a rural Ottapalam, stays on in the United Kingdom as an illegal immigrant hoping that he can earn enough money to marry his childhood sweetheart.

“Sankaran lives in constant fear of police sirens. His quiet troubles and struggles really touches the soul. It’s by far one of my best characters till date. It was also a challenging role because the film was shot in sync sound, which does not afford too many mistakes, especially with Shankaran’s propensity to sing Kathakali padams while washing clothes, for example,” says Jayasurya. He bursts into the opening lines of famous ‘Ajitha Hare…’ from ‘Kuchelavritham’ Kathakali, and beams with pride when he gets it right. It’s like he just can’t stop gushing about English. “It means a lot to me that director Shyamaprasad chose me for the role. I had always wanted to work with him. In fact, I had long ago requested Shyam sir to cast me in a film of his if he ever becomes convinced that I had grown as an actor.”

Indeed. Of late, Jayasurya has come into his own with his varied choice of roles and his histrionic skills too, exciting the audience and critics alike as the paraplegic in Beautiful, the crude, reticent youth in Trivandrum Lodge, the effeminate dancer in 101 Weddings, the naïve, home-grown genius in David and Goliath… The actor marks this streak of experimentation to his attempt to change with the times.

“This is the time of the new generation of viewers who are intelligent, aware of and up-to-date on the movies than ever before, maybe even more so than those in the industry itself. As an actor it’s my duty to keep updating myself and I am fully prepared to take necessary risks because I am here for the long run.”

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