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Mr. Simple is back

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laced with comedy Mohan in Suttapazham
laced with comedy Mohan in Suttapazham

Mohan returns to Tamil cinema with ‘Suttapazham’ after a gap of five years

MGR always called me up after the release of every film of mine to encourage me and commend my acting skills Mohan began his career with the Kannada film, Kokila. Till now, he has done over a 100 movies. His portrayal in Nenjathai Killadhe, which marked his debut in Tamil, left an impact on the audience. Now, after a gap of five years, he will be seen again in a Tamil film Suttapazham for which shooting is on.

Ask him what he was doing when not acting in films, and Mohan, who looks the same as he did years ago, replies with a smile, “I was busy doing what I am best at next to acting – producing serials for various TV channels. ‘Acham Madam Nanam’, ‘Brindavanam’, ‘Hasiyaramayana’ and ‘Selvangal’ are some of the serials I’ve so far produced.” What made him accept Suttapazham? He says, “I agreed to act in the film because of director G.K. When he first offered me the role, I turned it down as I was busy producing serials for Sun Network. But he persisted. When he narrated the story to me, I liked it and agreed to do the role. The film is a comedy thriller.”

Apart from acting, what interests Mohan? “I like all things simple. I like reading and listening to music. I also involve myself in charity work. Last but not the least, I like spending time with my family.”

Mohan is an actor who values the experience he gained from working with directors such as Balu Mahendra (Kokila), J. Mahendran (Nenjathai Killathe), Singeetham Srinivasa Rao (Gandar Golam, Telugu, where he played a dual role for the first time) and Babu (his first Telugu film, Thorapu Velae Railu, a remake of Kizhakke Pogum Rail).

Does he remember his first day at work? “Certainly. How can anyone forget it? I was riding a scooter at Cubbon Park, Bangalore and it was for Kokila, directed by my mentor Balu Mahendra,” says Mohan.

What are the films he considers his best? “I feel my first film Kokila is the best. Then Payanangal Mudivathilai, which fetched me the Filmfare Best Actor Award, followed by Idhaya Koil. I consider it an honour to have worked with director Sridhar in Thendralae Ennai Thodu. Rettaival Kuruvi, which dealt with the theme of bigamy, was also great where I got another chance to work with Balu Mahendra.”

Mohan entered films after his stint on stage. “I was a student of ‘Benaka,’ a drama troupe founded by actor-director B. V. Karanth. It was while acting with G.V. Iyer and Girish Karnad in the play ‘Sidhathe’ that I was asked to send my photograph to Balu Mahendra who was searching for new faces for his film Kokila. He asked me whether I was interested in acting in a film. When I said I didn’t have any experience in film acting, he asked me to get in touch with him after growing a beard. Subsequently, I was made to play Kamal Hassan’s friend and it proved to be a turning point in my career.”

Mohan talks highly of the appreciation he received for his performance from MGR and Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi. “MGR always called me up after the release of every film of mine to encourage me and commend my acting skills. When I met Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on the first day of Pasapparavaigal, I spoke to him in Tamil, which surprised him. So he told the director that I should be allowed to dub in my own voice. From then on, I have done my own dubbing and have even spoken literary Tamil for Pasamazhai."

Mohan also created a record of sorts in 1984, when 19 films (in which he was the hero) were released and most were hits.

Does he have plans to continue in Tamil films after Suttapazham? “Yes, if I am comfortable with the storyline and my character,” signs off the actor candidly.

S. R. ASHOK KUMAR


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