Three decades on, Mohanlal still likes being a director’s actor

August 14th, 2008 - 10:35 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Ram Gopal Varma
By Radhika Bhirani
New Delhi, Aug 14 (IANS) He has completed nearly three decades in the film industry and has over 250 movies to his credit, but Malayalam superstar Mohanlal, who is now working in a Japanese venture, says he prefers being a director’s actor to interfering in other people’s work. “I trust my directors. I believe in the way they work and I let things happen. I just try to act in the best way I can,” Mohanlal told IANS when asked how he selects his films.

The thespian, who has given hits like “Nadodikkattu”, “Kireedam”, “Vanaprastham”, and “Thanmatra”, was in the capital to promote his forthcoming Malayalam film “Akashagopuram”.

Based on Norwegian author Henrik Ibsen’s classic play “Master Builder”, the film is about an architect whose ambition of being successful keeps him away from other aspects of life.

“It is a complicated film. You cannot express the film or my character in a few words. I play a strange and complex personality,” Mohanlal said.

In “Akashagopuram”, which is releasing Aug 22, the actor is paired opposite Swetha Menon. It is said to be the first south Indian film to be shot entirely in Britain and is also the most expensive Malayalam movie.

“The film is very costly because of its location, the shooting equipment and the international artistes involved. Kerala is a small place and so it is only once in a blue moon that we can churn out such high budget films.”

Although his character in the film required the use of several theatrical dialogues, Mohanlal says it took no extra effort on his part to deliver them.

“I don’t have a theatre background. Stage and cinema are two different things. I have not done any research or done something extra to play my part. I have read the play and I have just enacted it,” said the actor, who has won two National Awards.

Talking about his Japanese film with Hollywood star Jackie Chan, Mohanlal said: “The film is called ‘Nair San’ and it is based on a true story of a Keralite boy who is settled in Japan and is a freedom fighter. The director is Japanese and his name is Albert. The shooting of the film has begun. The film is partly Chinese as we are shooting there as well.”

The actor, who has also worked in Bollywood movies like “Company” and “Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag”, feels the work culture is the same everywhere.

He said: “It is how you acclimatise and the language. The rest of the things - the cameras, lights and the way people work are the same. Your acclimatization and the language are the main things.”

On his plans of doing further Bollywood projects, Mohanlal said: “I have a couple of offers and that too some irresistible ones, but at the moment I have a lot of commitments in the Malayalam film industry.

“I like to take up only one film at a time. I don’t like to do other things in between. Besides, Bollywood films require a lot of dates and sometimes my dates don’t match. Also, I feel one should be very comfortable with the character.”

Asked about donning the director’s hat, Mohanlal said: “It is an entirely different league, a different art. It is not an easy thing. I will wait…It has to happen. Otherwise I have no plans right now because I will have to stop my acting and then switch over to direction.”

Is there any particular script that he is looking forward to?

“I never demand. I have my own production, my own distribution. So whenever I want to make a film, I can. But I never wish for any particular script,” Mohanlal said.

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