Movies

‘I like it this way’

Jayaram

Jayaram   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Jayaram says he is happy in his niche in Malayalam cinema

There seems to be a certain balance that Jayaram has maintained as an actor. And most importantly, he is happy about the space that he is in without making any attempt to be in the rat race. After completing Leo Thaddeus’ Lonappante Mammodeesa, he is busy with Aneesh Anwar’s Grand Father. His forthcoming film, Marconi Mathai, will have Tamil hero Vijay Sethupathi making his entry into Malayalam.

In a conversation with the actor, Jayaram recalls his entry into films after his stint as a mimicry artiste, the ups and downs in his career and about his son Kalidas’ foray into movies.

Thirty years after your debut as an actor with Aparan, what are your impressions about your journey in cinema?

Along with the fact that I have completed three decades in the industry, I feel lucky to have been launched as a hero and to have remained as one even now. It has been a memorable trip, travelling with such wonderful talents, being directed by some incredible filmmakers and sharing the screen with stars I have always idolised.

Some of your earlier movies like Aparan, Moonnaam Pakkam, Peruvannapurathe Visheshangal, Mazhavil Kavadi, Innale, Sandesham and Melepparambil Aanveedu are still watched avidly. What make them so special?

Like evergreen songs that everyone loves and remembers, some of these films touched our hearts. It could be because those stories and characters are rooted in the reality that we all are familiar with.

Is there a dearth of such content in our films now?

Time does play a huge part in the kind of scripts that are being written at any period of time.

Since you are one of the early mimicry artistes to become an actor, do you think that the influx of mimicry artistes into cinema has been detrimental to Malayalam cinema?

I am proud about being a mimicry artiste. Mimicry has helped me in getting my timing correct while acting. Regarding the influence of mimicry on Malayalam cinema, there are both positives and negatives to it. When I was launched as an actor in Aparan, director Padmarajan told me to stop doing mimicry shows on stage. Since then, only at gatherings or some select shows.

You have worked with masters like Padmarajan, Bharathan, Sathyan Anthikkad and Kamal. After a point, do you think you slipped into a comfort zone and did not make an effort to diversify or become more careful about the kind of films you were acting in?

I chose the best roles that came to me. But yes, I have travelled in a comfort zone for quite a while and have definitely made many wrong choices. Once you make a wrong choice, it sets of a chain reaction. We do realise it but nothing can be done about it. There is no point in blaming anyone. My support has been my family. They have helped me sail through difficult patches.

You have mostly been seen in ‘virtuous’ roles. Was it your decision to create such an image?

I have mostly played characters from a middle-class background. Recently, after playing the villain in the Telugu movie Bhagmati, I have been flooded with offers to do such grey roles.

What is your role in Venkat Prabhu’s forthcoming Tamil film, Party?

I am playing an underworld don. However, l am sure he will be a different kind of a don.

Your son Kalidas has also become an actor. How would you evaluate his performance in Poomaram?

Although my wife and I are familiar with tinsel town, we have never interfered with his choices. It was his decision to play the roles in Kochu Kochu Santhoshangal and Ente Veedu Appoontem as a child artiste. I just loved Poomaram and that was not just because my son was in it. I used to be actively involved with youth festivals during my student days and so I could connect with the film. I am so proud that he did it.

Earlier this year Panchavarnathatha saw you in a different avatar. What was the inspiration to play that character?

Ramesh Pisharody, who directed Panchavarnathatha, had planned a plot titled Laughing Buddha long ago. We took that character out of it when we made this one.

What is Leo Thaddeus’ Lonappante Mammodeesa?

There are so many people around us who lack the confidence and the courage to chase their dreams in life. I have great expectations about Lonappante Mammodeesa as a story that could be truly inspirational for many.

You were the original choice to play Sai Kumar’s role in Ramji Rao Speaking, which became a game-changer in Malayalam cinema. What made you opt out of it then?

We were all set to start Ramji Rao Speaking when my dates clashed with Chanakyan. So we had a meeting and I decided to opt out of Ramji Rao Speaking.

Nowadays the talk is all about huge budgets and wide releases. You seem to have opted out of it...

I want to take minimal risks and to shoot in a disciplined way. This year, Panchavarnathatha was completed in 32 days and made a profit. I genuinely feel that the industry should focus more on such films.

For instance, Lonappante Mammodeesa has almost earned the investment back even before its release through satellite revenue and so on. I prefer doing such films. That is my concept of life as well.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 10:05:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/in-conversation-with-actor-jayaram/article25833797.ece

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