‘The dream is to be part of good films’: Jayasurya

Jayasurya   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

From being a mimicry artiste and TV anchor, Jayasurya’s big break came when he was chosen to play the lead in Vinayan’s Oomappenninu Uriyadappayyan in 2002. Though going through his share of highs and lows, his performances in films such as Iyobinte Pusthakam, Apothecary, Lukka Chuppi and Su... Su... Sudhi Vathmeekam earned him kudos for his acting.

In Prajesh Sen-directed biopic Captain, Jayasurya portrayed the turbulent life of the late Indian footballer VP Sathyan convincingly. He then went on to perform the trials and tribulations faced by a trans person in Ranjith Sankar’s Njan Marykutty. Jayasurya has now been chosen as the best actor (along with Soubin Shahir) in the Kerala State Film awards this year for the two roles. Soon after the announcement, Jayasurya spoke to Friday Review about the recognition that has come his way. Excerpts from the interview...

Does this recognition come with a big responsibility as well?

Honestly, I don’t know. I am trying not to think that way. According to me, the responsibility of an actor is to maintain the trust of the audience. They come to watch your films because of that belief. So, as an actor, I have to do the kind of films that truly live up to that trust.

Is the award a recognition of the efforts you put in for Captain and Njan Marykutty?

I am more happy that both these films were accepted so well by the viewers even before they made me eligible for the awards. It is even better to get the award after that success. The first award comes from the public, in the form of acceptance at the theatres. When the jury too likes my performance, the feeling is just incredible.

Let me explain. I have done Aadu. That film may not be considered for the State or national awards in the conventional sense. But I will be recognised as Shaji Pappan, my character in Aadu, wherever I go. In a way, that is also an award for me.

How do you look back at the two roles?

These are characters at two extremes. I have played a man and a transwoman. I am not sure about how many from this generation are aware about a legend like VP Sathyan. At least, the film has ensured that people learn about him as a person and as a footballer. That makes me happy.

There are many ‘Marykuttys’ among us. It was a film that empowered many from the trans community. It also made others see them as fellow-beings. I dedicate this award to the family of VP Sathyan and all the Marykuttys out there.

Jayasurya in a still from Njan Marykutty

Jayasurya in a still from Njan Marykutty   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Both the characters go through intense emotions...

There is so much tension and pressure that an actor goes through while doing every role. But while playing these two characters, the effort I had to take was even more. It was challenging to play the trauma that Sathyan went through, without revealing his state of mind to anyone else, including his family. Marykutty needed a (police) uniform to bring out the woman inside the body of a man.

What was the reaction of those who knew Sathyan and also from the trans community?

Many of Sathyan’s friends told me that they could see only him on the screen. His daughter cried while watching the movie. In the same way, I have been told by many trans women that they wept while watching Njan Marykutty. I won’t say that the characters struck a chord because I played them. They would have felt the same emotions even if these characters were essayed by someone else.

So, you shared the award with Soubin Shahir...

Soubin is such a brilliant writer, director and actor. There were so many talented actors competing for the honour and I am aware that it was never an easy win.

Was such an award part of your dreams when you started off as an actor?

As a mimicry artiste, I wanted more stages (to perform on) and some roles as an actor. Once that happened, there was this eagerness to become more popular. My belief is that let it (recognition) come whenever I am worthy of it. But one thing is for sure. I will never act for awards. The dream has always been to be a part of good films.

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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 2:36:22 PM |

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