One-film-old Vimala and newcomer Ajmal waltzed onto the silver screen with ‘Pranayakalam.’ Prema Manmadhan catches up with this new star jodi for a tête-À-tête
Two fresh faces waltzed into Malayalam filmdom with grace in ‘Pranayakalam’: Vimala and Ajmal. It was directed by Uday Anandan, who himself was going through a ‘Pranayakalam’ (romance) during the making of the movie. He weds on August 30.
Vimala was introduced to Malayalam cinema in this movie and today, she is one of the busiest heroines here, acting opposite all the super stars. Ajmal has crossed over to Tamil cinema with ‘Satya Sodanai’ and he has several offers from both Malayalam and Tamil.
Vimala, a K. Balachander find, had proved her mettle in ‘Poi.’ Ajmal, who did his medicine in Ukraine, walked the ramp there goaded by a friend, but found it could well be his calling, apart from medicine. Ajmal became a successful model, after he returned home. That was when Johnny Sagarika recommended him to Uday for ‘Pranayakalam.’
Freedom to be
Both Ajmal and Vimala enjoyed doing ‘Pranayakalam.’ “The director, Uday, gave me the freedom to experiment and discover my own acting abilities and guided me in the right direction. So it was great to work with a fresh unit where we were all learning together. Uday was very encouraging and motivating,” says Vimala.
As for novice Ajmal, it was a childhood dream come true. “Udayettan’s style of making an artist act is appreciable. He explains the situation and asks me to recollect if I had any such experience, and to react as I did.”
The experience of working with veterans like Thilakan, Murali, Seema and Balachandra Menon is something that both cannot forget. “Seema Chechi was my mother in this film and she was wonderful to be around with and the little hints she gave further enhanced my knowledge of acting,” Vimala remarked. For Ajmal, it was like a school for acting. There was a lot to study from Thilakan and Seema ‘is really sweet.’
“During shooting, she used to bring mangoes and ask the production people to distribute it to everyone on the set. Balachandra Menon Sir and the others used to discuss serious cinema.” Ajmal admires Murali’s sincerity and dedication.
Vimala finds that Malayalam movies are shot and completed much faster than Tamil films and the scripts here ‘offer different scripts and storylines and a lot of acting scope for heroines, which is wonderful.’ But Vimala is very different from the character of Maria that she portrayed in the movie, she insists. “Maria is a serious girl with a wavering heart, but Vimala is a bubbly girl.
“I also think I am quite focussed when it comes to my heart and mind,” she laughs. Her role of Vaiga in ‘Time’ as an innocent girl and in ‘Sooriyan’, with Jayaram, as Maya, a bubbly radio jockey are vastly different characters. In Joshiy’s ‘Nasrani’, she acts opposite Mammooty. Her next project is ‘Calcutta News’ with director Blessy, which stars Dileep.
Then, it is opposite Mohanlal in ‘College Kumaran’, directed by Thulasidass, besides a few Tamil and Telugu projects in the pipeline.
Ajmal is also getting quite busy, having bagged a Tamil film, ‘Satya Sodanai’, directed by Mishkin of ‘Chithiram Pesudadi’ fame. “I will be dubbing for it myself,” he says happily.
A doctor and an actor. Which comes first? “I became a doctor to fulfil my father’s dream. I believe it’s a son’s duty to fulfil his parents’ dreams. I became an actor because it was my dream and the good God was so merciful to me that he gave me both. I will never give up both these professions.
“Giving relief from pain to a human being is really a blessed job. Entertaining people is also a kind of treatment, by making them forget their bad times,” reasons Ajmal.
Vimala’s dream is to do a classical dancer’s role, for “I have been a Bharathanatyam dancer since the age of four.”
“Basically I like to dress according to the character but if I am not comfortable and confident in what I am wearing I won’t wear it. Clothing should always look stylish and glamorous but not vulgar. My favourite dress would definitely be jeans and T-shirts.” Her role models and all time favourites on screen are Vyjayanthimala, Padmini, Savriti, Jayapradha and Sridevi.