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I don’t like violence, in reel or real life, says Anoop Menon

Anoop Menon

Anoop Menon   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

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The actor-writer takes questions on his chequered career in cinema, even as he turns director with ‘King Fish’

 

Anoop Menon wears many hats. The law graduate-turned-television star was busy in television as anchor and actor before being launched on the big screen with Kattuchembakam in 2002. After making his mark as an actor, scenarist, author and lyricist, he is now ready to make his debut as a director with King Fish.

Anoop admits that he has gone through his share of insecurities and that his stint in cinema has never been a cakewalk for him. His way with words may have given him the tag of a ‘thinking man’. But, Anoop says in this free-wheeling chat with FridayReview that he doesn’t take all that too seriously. The writer of scripts like Pakal Nakshathrangal, Beautiful and Trivandrum Lodge, explains why his stories are targeted mainly at an adult audience and also about the need to have a proper script.

Edited excerpts from the interview:

What is King Fish about?

(Laughs) Honestly, I am yet to figure that out.

The project was announced with VK Prakash (VKP) as director. What made you decide to turn director with this film?

After Trivandrum Lodge, VKP and I had been planning several projects, including a sequel for the movie. Then this thought came into our discussions and we were all set to proceed with it, when he got busy with a prior commitment. And then I took over. My plan was to make my directorial début with another project with a top star in the lead.

How was it to work with Ranjith? He played a crucial part in your career by launching you as a hero in Thirakkadha?

One of the layers in the plot of King Fish is the relationship between an uncle and his nephew, played by Ranjiyettan (Ranjith) and myself. It was he who gave me the confidence to become the director. We shot in an 80-year-old bungalow and we all stayed together like a family.

Is it wise for an actor to play grey, shaded characters and older roles in an industry where screen images exist and typecasting is a norm?

The crucial thing I have done until now is to follow my instincts. Luckily for me, most of the time, it has paid off. I was asked not to do the negative role in Vikramadithyan but it got me a lot of appreciation besides the Kerala State film award (for the second best actor for 1983 and Vikramadithyan). As an actor, there is so little freedom to choose. You can keep waiting for aeons to get the right role. It may never come! It is better to keep working and then you get more work.

As a popular TV anchor and star, you were a familiar face for viewers. So, were there any hiccups after you moved to the big screen?

It was not easy to get rid of that ‘tv actor’ label. There were no posters of mine even though I was the hero of Thirakkadha, as I was still branded as a ‘serial actor’ then. It was then that I realised that to be in cinema as an actor you have to create a certain identity. I had many insecurities as an actor, mainly during those initial years. Even after Thirakkadha, I barely had any movies for a certain period until Cocktail happened.

There was this perception that you are an intellectual?

(Smiles) That is a complete misconception. I am a fun loving person. The books I have read and the movies I have seen are nothing when compared to the reading and viewing of some of my peers.

After completing law with flying colours, how did your attention shift to acting?

I used to read voraciously while in school and cinema was always a fascination. Law was the safe backup plan. The turning point, perhaps, was the offer to become an anchor, which incidentally came to me while we were on our way to celebrate my rank.

Regarding your scripts, do you agree that ‘mature entertainers’ are your forte?

I don’t like violence, in reel or real life. I prefer the quiet, beautiful genre of movies where everything is rosy and pleasant. I stay away from extreme sadness in my scripts and, somehow, I can’t make movies for kids. My narrative, perhaps, starts from the 25-plus age, which I believe is my milieu. I observe people who are mature enough to know the meaning of life.

You are not often seen doing comedy...

I love doing comedy but I am not offered any. The exceptions were Angry Babies or the interactions that my character had with Jayasurya in Beautiful.

From your style, it looks like you are fascinated by movies that are mostly dialogue-driven?

I am dependent on literature. I strongly believe the most important part of a film is the script. I can’t subscribe to the theory of making movies without a script. I even feel that some of the movies made by certain brilliant technicians have fallen short of becoming really great, as they didn’t adhere to a proper script.

Which are your forthcoming projects?

I am planning to direct Madras Lodge next year. Though the names sound similar, the story is in no way connected to Trivandrum Lodge. I am co-writing a script with Ranjith, to be directed by Shanker Ramakrishnan. As an actor, I have Ranjith Sankar’s Kamala and Siddique’s Big Brother in which I am playing Lalettan’s (Mohanlal) brother.

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 5:36:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/actor-anoop-menon-on-donning-the-hat-of-a-director-with-king-fish/article30034662.ece

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