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Updated: June 4, 2010 18:32 IST

Star-spangled dreams

P. K. Ajith Kumar
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Kailash. Photo: K. Ragesh
The Hindu Kailash. Photo: K. Ragesh

After his dream debut, Kailash says he is trying to make the most of the roles that he has in his kitty.

Kailash was 13 when he first saw a wannabe film actor staring back at him from the mirror. “I was always fascinated by films. That day actor Jagannathan had come as the chief guest to my school (St. John's HSS, Eraviperoor). It was the first time I was seeing a film actor in flesh and blood. I knew then that I wanted to be an actor. That night, I posed in front of my mirror and made my first speech as an actor; I imagined I was the chief guest of my school,” says Kailash, the Lal Jose find in ‘Neelathamara.'

Star struck

When the actor, who is in Kozhikode for the shoot of V.M. Vinu's 'Penn Pattanam', speaks animatedly about the perfect launching pad that ‘Neelathamara' was or the excitement of sharing screen space with Mohanlal in 'Shikhar', you can see glimpses of the teenager who practised in front of the mirror, with dreams in his eyes. He says he has had to work hard to fulfil those dreams, including meeting just about every director in town to seek opportunities and hanging out on film sets.

“Somebody asked me the other day what I would be doing if I hadn't been selected for 'Neelathamara'. Then, I still would be trying to get a 'Neelathamara'. My ambition was always to act in films. The only reason I ran an event management company for three years was because I felt that it could give me opportunities to interact with film personalities. Moreover, I would have been sent to the Gulf by my family if I was sitting idle in Thiruvalla,” he chuckles.

He admits he could not have hoped for a better film than ‘Neelathamara' to start his career. “A film written by M.T. Vasudevan Nair and directed by Lal Jose, and it was also the first ever remake in Malayalam cinema – what more could a youngster have asked for? And then there was that song composed by Vidyasagar – 'Anuraga vilochanayi…', which had topped the charts and was on television all the time. Yes, I have had a perfect start to my career, but I know I would have to work hard to live up to the expectations of my fans and well wishers,” says Kailash.

Looking back at his stint in 'Neelathamara', among his most treasured memories is a meeting with M.T. “I still remember that bus journey from Kochi to Kozhikode to meet M.T. He was to finalise the actors from a shortlist made by Lal Jose. M.T. didn't speak much, he just asked a few things about me,” Kailash remembers.

He was kept on tenterhooks by Lal Jose till the eve of the film's 'pooja'. “Only a few hours before the pooja did I get that call from Lal Jose, telling me that I would be doing the role of Haridasan in 'Neelathamara'. I had been preparing for the film for two months; I had drastically reduced my weight, grown a beard and was practising to wear a dhothi, as demanded by Lal Jose.”

Only later did he realise that he was one of the many young men Lal Jose had advised to grow a beard and wear a 'mundu'.

Tough act

Kailash knows 'Neelathamara' would be a tough act to follow. “I hope I have made the right choices as far as my films are concerned. 'Pen Pattanam' could well be my first release after 'Neelathamara'. I am playing a reformed goon in the film, the story of which has been written by Ranjith and developed by T.A. Razak, the script-writer,” he says.

Kailash is also working on M.A. Nishad's ‘Best of Luck.' “In ‘Shikhar' I play a photographer. I have learnt a lot from just observing Mohanlal on the sets of ‘Shikhar'; it is amazing how he brings out subtle expressions, effortlessly,” gushes Kailash.

‘Best of Luck' was challenging because “it is a comedy.” The film also features Rima Kallingal, Archana Kavi and Asif.

And yes, his school, St. John's HSS, Eraviperoor, has invited him to be the chief guest. Some people get to live their dreams.

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