Fahadh Faasil is a restless actor. He constantly thinks of ways to play different characters; resulting in an impressive filmography over the last few years.
“I tend of get bored of what I am doing very quickly,” he admits, in a quick virtual conversation from Kochi, “I set out on long drives and a few hours into it, I change my destination.”
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So when the pandemic put a break on his projects, Fahadh quickly changed gears and tried an experiment. With CU Soon,director Mahesh Narayanan and Fahadh tried telling an entire story through virtual communication devices.
Their upcoming film Malik , however, is not an experiment on those lines. A film originally made for theatres and releasing on Amazon Prime now, Malik , is set in a fishing village in Kerala between 1965 and 2018, and features Fahadh in an author-backed role; he plays Sulaiman, the chieftain of the fisherfolk.
Fahadh’s cinematic oeuvre has been fascinating, with him playing a wide range of characters from genial thief ( Thondimuthalum Drikshashiyum ) to a cunning pastor ( Trance ), roles that other actors might have been hesitant to accept. When he chooses them, it is primarily because he does not relate to them. “I do not look at relatability to the character as a factor. In fact, I would like to perform characters I’m not familiar with. This gives me the chance to do research and then approach it.” Is this the same with Malik ? “I thought about the old men in the family, like my grandfather and my dad's brothers. It's my understanding of how gracefully people age.”
Malik has Fahadh’s character ageing from 21 to 58; for this, the actor reportedly lost about 15 kilos over a period of time. Prod him about the process, and Fahadh just shrugs, “I don't physically strain myself to do any of the roles; for instance, I do not promise a six-pack! I try to look the character; if I achieve that, it is 50% less acting I need to do.”
He believes that this film, like his earlier projects, will prompt conversation among audiences. “I have always wanted my films to address different issues, give different levels of entertainment; there should be discussions around my work. Staying within the kind of films I do, I have tried to grow.”
The last 15 months or so have been huge for Fahadh, in terms of reach. Thanks to the soaring popularity of OTT platforms and the wonders of subtitling, Fahadh, and Malayalam films in general, made significant inroads into the rest of the country. “Any honest emotion gets there. I do films with emotion, and that, in turn, travels across borders and connects with people.”
He already has tried that not just with Malayalam but also Tamil cinema, with Velaikaran and Super Deluxe. “Tamil cinema has been welcoming; I have so many good friends, like Kumar (Thiagarajan Kumararaja), Mohan Raja and Lokesh (Kanagaraj). It’s just a different language, but it’s all just the same. We all function the same way.”
He’s looking forward to strengthening ties with Tamil audiences with Vikram , his upcoming biggie directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj. This project gives him the opportunity to rub shoulders with co-star Kamal Haasan, of whom he is a big fan. “I am eagerly waiting to shoot with him.”
What is the one thing he wants to ask Kamal on the first day on set? “I love all his films: Michael Madhana Kama Rajan , Kurudhi Punal , Guna .... I could go on. I just want to ask him one thing: How do you do it?”
Malik releases on Amazon Prime on July 15