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Updated: May 22, 2014 21:21 IST

Style and substance

Nita Sathyendran
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Nivin Pauly is on a success spree in Mollywood and will be next seen in Rajesh Pillai's Mili.
Special Arrangement Nivin Pauly is on a success spree in Mollywood and will be next seen in Rajesh Pillai's Mili.

Nivin Pauly is Mollywood’s golden boy.

Winsome Nivin Pauly’s got a spring in his step these days. No wonder, for no other young star in Mollywood can say that both his last two films, and that too ones as different as 1983 and Ohm Shanti Oshaana (OSO), which were released back to back, hit the jackpot at the box office. Both films, the former, a tale of extraordinary talent wasted by circumstance and set against the backdrop of cricket, and the latter, an out and out love story narrated from the heroine’s perspective, completed 100 days in theatres this week.

If 1983 tested Nivin’s histrionic skills, OSO, well, boosted the actor’s latent ruggedness. Then again, Thattathin Marayathu and Neram, the other big hits of Nivin’s barely five-year-old career, also struck gold at the turnstiles. In all likelihood so will Bangalore Days, the actor’s next outing at the marquee, set for release on May 30. Nivin sure is the star of the season in Mollywood – a compliment that the affable actor accepts with that droolworthy grin of his!

“I’m lucky because thus far, I have been able to do some quality cinema and notch up a varied filmography. There’s a reason why I act in only a handful of films a year. I want to do quality films, meaning I want to work with a good team and a good script, ensuring quality output. My aim is that each of my films should be on the top five or, at least, the top 10 lists of the year,” says Nivin.

The techie-turned-actor, who debuted in filmdom with Vineeth Sreenivasan’s Malaravadi Arts Club, is presently filming Rajesh Pillai’s heroine-centric Mili in the capital city. Nivin has a plum role in the film opposite Amala Paul.

Like OSO, and further back, Arikil Oraal, English, Puthiya Theerangal and so on, Mili is yet another example of how the hero is sportive enough and at ease with his histrionic skills to not bother about being upstaged by others. “It’s the character that excites me – not the length of a role. Opportunities like Mili and OSO come by but once in a while. So what if they are not hero-centric? Lead actors have been doing such roles since forever. Take Onnu Muthal Poojyam Vare, for instance. Mohanlal comes only in the last two scenes in the climax, yet, the superstar’s presence is integral to the film and it is today one of Malayalam’s finest films ever. When I choose a role, I look for that spark that tells me it’s going to work. Is the role fresh? What does it have for the actor in me? Those are the only things any actor should be concerned about really,” says the 29-year-old.

Besides Mili, in which he plays the role of a soft skills trainer, Nivin’s also got his “buddy” Vineeth’s next film and Neram director Alphonse Putharen’s Premam, in which he is teaming up with Nazriya once again.

Another love story? What happened to the “serious guy” image that he was determined to stick to? (Laughs) “I have been flooded with offers for love stories post-OSO and was waiting for the right script. Nowadays, I kind of like my image as the romantic hero and frankly it gives me a buzz that the audience likes my polished appearance. I have to work on it though – an hour of exercise every day,” says Nivin.

Who’s complaining?

Eventful days in Bangalore

In the upcoming Bangalore Days, written and directed by Anjali Menon and produced by director Anwar Rasheed, Nivin shares screen space with Dulquer Salmaan and Nazriya Nazim. Joining the trio in the film is a host of other young guns such as Fahadh Faasil, Parvathy, Nithya Menen and Isha Talwar. Nivin plays Krishnan P.P. a.k.a. ‘Kuttan’ to Dulquer’s Arjun and Nazriya’s Divya, ‘the three musketeers’, cousins who are each other’s best friends. Apparently, the film is narrated from Kuttan’s point of view. “Kuttan is unlike any of my other characters in the sense that he is a soft-hearted, rather old fashioned chap, the typical kanji-payar type. Kuttan is a complete contrast to his zany cousins. He is not into freaking out, hates city life and is scared of women to boot! The character undergoes a good transformation as the film progresses,” says Nivin, unable to keep his excitement under wraps. “It’s a complete entertainer – fun, songs and mayhem. We had loads of fun shooting the film, and drove Anjali chechi and Sameer ikka [Sameer Thahir, cinematographer] up the wall and all that has been translated on to the screen,” he explains.

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