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On a winning streak

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TAKING SUCCESS IN HIS STRIDE: Mammootty and Katrina Kaif in `Thuruppugulan.'
TAKING SUCCESS IN HIS STRIDE: Mammootty and Katrina Kaif in `Thuruppugulan.'

VIJAY GEORGE

Mammootty defies age and convention to continue his reign in Mollywood.

Nothing is more exciting than the thrill of facing the camera. Mammootty

It is not easy to be at your best at 50 plus. But with his kind of energy, Mammootty seems to be doing it with remarkable ease. His career has been going great guns for sometime now with most of his films doing well at the box office. No wonder then that many feel that his latest release, `Thuruppugulan' which means `the trump card' sums up his real stature in Mollywood right now. `Thuruppugulan,' according to those involved, is meant to be an entertainer, the kind that even defies logic at times.Just a few days after the release of the film, Mammootty is busy keeping track of the fate of the film at the cash registers. He is on the location of Ranjith's `Prajapathi' at Gobichettipalayam in Tamil Nadu. And from the feedback that is being received, he says that he has reason enough to be delighted. The dust, the dry wind and the scorching sun can take a toll on many, but Mammootty looks mint fresh. He is by now a regular on the `how to keep fit' columns. How does he react like when others raves about his looks? "Obviously, it gives more confidence and energy. It's never easy to keep fit and it is always nice to be acknowledged for the efforts that you put in," he says.

Careful planning

It is generally perceived that careful planning works to his advantage on the career front. Writer-director Siddique, who had churned out the whopping hit, `Chronic Bachelor' while the actor was going through a lull in his career, feels that "it is his unflinching dedication that works to Mammootty's advantage. Also, his huge popularity among today's youngsters has helped him, to a large extent, to be a great hit at the box office."According to Johny Antony, who has directed `Thuruppugulan,' Mammootty "is focussed on whatever he does, whether it is choosing a role, his looks, acting or dubbing. For instance, he insists on making the film on a feasible budget and completing it within a specified time which evidently helps in controlling expenditure." It was his search to explore new vistas that motivated Mammootty to try his hand at comedy roles, which until then was perceived as something out of his gamut. "It requires lots of effort to do light roles convincingly," he agrees. But he is careful to have variety in his roles. "Even while doing light roles, I have done films like `Nerariyan CBI', `Rappakal' and `Bus Conductor' in between. And I believe that `Rajamanikyam' was not just a comedy but it had serious elements in it. `Prajapathi,' in which I am acting now, is perhaps of the so-called serious genre and `Balram vs Taradas' has an action mood. "I have worked with fresh talent as well as with experienced filmmakers and am absolutely open to more serious films, if such roles come my way." He is not too bothered about his films not faring well in the recent State film awards. "Films like `Rappakal' were in contention, but I believe it is all part of the business," he says with a smile.Siddique feels that "Mammootty no longer needs awards to prove his credentials as an accomplished actor. He is into experiments. For instance, he has, for long, been accused of lacking the flair for comedy and now he has answered his critics with some hits. One should never forget that films are being made for the acceptance of the viewers and he gets that in plenty."

Change in attitude

Has there been a change in the actor's attitude towards films over the years? "May be it is true. But I think it's natural too, if you keep up with the changing times. The world around has changed a lot over the years and so has the thinking of the people," says Mammootty. Yet, the excitement of giving the best shot in front of the camera is still intact. "For me, nothing is more exciting than the thrill of facing the camera. You tend to discover new characters and get into the shoes of someone whom you have never met or probably never would."With so much expectation awaiting his new releases, has he started feeling the burden of success? "I keep it in mind that every film of mine should have something new to offer. Success can never be a burden and if it is one, I enjoy taking on that challenge," he avers.


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