FRIDAY REVIEW

Moving to centre stage

VIJAY GEORGE

CHANGING TRACK: Salimkumar in `Achanurangatha Veedu.'

CHANGING TRACK: Salimkumar in `Achanurangatha Veedu.'  

Salimkumar has played the hero's sidekick to perfection in a number of movies. With his knack for comedy, this actor's trademark dialogues and slapstick routine evoked laughter in more than 125 movies.

In between, he proved his credentials as an actor, quite convincingly, in a handful of roles that stand out from his usual characters. Like the musician Tabla Bhaskaran who lives in the memories of his good old days in `Gramaphone,' the nagging Aamu eleppa in `Perumazhakkalam,' the `extra artiste' Rafeeq in `Udayananu Tharam' and so on.

"The list will always be incomplete as I find some virtue in every role that I portray, regardless of any classification. Still, these characters top the list as the ones that showcased my histrionic skills," says Salim.

The latest addition to that list is his first film as the protagonist in Lal Jose's `Achanurangatha Veedu.' Salim essays the role of Samuel, a State Government employee on the verge of retirement. A widower with three daughters, Samuel has to come to terms with the harsh realities in life. Samuel's hopes rested on his youngest daughter but to the family's horror, she never returns from school one evening.

With a greyish moustache, partially bald pate and moist eyes, Salim has transformed into the character, the shooting of which is on in Peerumade.

"Salim is flexible and is positive to make-up. And he makes good use of his eyes, which are indeed very expressive," feels Lal Jose.

Although the role is very different from his usual roles, Salim says, "I never made any preparations for the role. I prefer to get into the role after discussions with the director and the writer, Babu Janardhanan. In fact, our experiments on the `aged' look had started even before, in films like `Chanthupottu' for instance. But we don't need any particular models as we all have come across a lot of people who are like Samuel in real life."

He thinks that the story is a socially relevant one.

"Though we claim to be keeping up with the changing times, the plight of women seems to be the same. `Achanurangatha Veedu' should prompt many to look at certain issues that the film deals with." Replying to a query on whether it was a strain to do serious role, he says, "Serious roles are definitely more strenuous but at the same time don't forget that it is never easy to make others laugh."

Salimkumar made his entry into films from the mimicry stage where he always came up with "something special", whether it was the non-stop chain of film songs, short skits or imitating the speeches of political leaders like M.V. Raghavan and K.R. Gouri.

He has no plans to cross the borders to Tamil or Telugu, as a comedian.

"Unlike other roles, you should have a thorough knowledge about the language and culture if you want to be accepted as a comedian," reasons he.