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All ready for `super' status

DROP-dead looks, no starry airs, no heavy-duty statements or screaming headlines.

For Dileep, the superstar of Malayalam films, hits have became a habit. Also, canards, calumny and controversies. His life has featured enough tangled drama to inspire a new film's story line. He adroitly deflects all the overly pungent inquiries. With `Meesha Madhavan', his latest movie proving to be a real jackpot, Dileep, whose original name is P.Gopalakrishnan, has joined the ranks of stars whose presence in a film makes a lot of difference. But the man is keen to keep his cool and not let success go to his head.

In an exclusive chat with VIJAY GEORGE, he talks about himself, his films and more to The Hindu Metro Plus.

Excerpts:

Straight into something hot. What have you to say on the issue regarding bouncing of cheques, involving you and producer Dinesh Panicker?

Ha... it was one controversy which was blown out of proportion. These things happen quite often. As anybody else would have done, I approached the court of law when the cheque bounced. Some people made a mess out of this when I was not here. But I am always confident that truth prevails.

With hits like `Ishtam', `Kuberan' and `Meesha Madhavan', you are the reigning superstar of Malayalam films. Did you ever dream of this kind of success?

Everyone aspires for success (grins). And we are all in search of it. I always dreamt about cinema and making it big here. But success in films is decided every Friday, when a film is released. Still, I would say... I am really happy about my films getting this positive response from the audience.

When did you know that your forte was acting?

As I said, I was always an ardent movie-buff. I could relate with the emotions enacted by the characters in films. I was a mimicry artiste and later went on to become assistant director in some films. But I knew from the days when I started seeing films that acting would be my profession.

Ever felt that mimicry tends to make you imitative of others while acting?

I have imitated several actors on stage. But I have always been careful in being original while I am acting in movies.

Has the attitude of friends and admirers towards you changed over the years?

That has not changed much. I do have my share of close friends. Though I cannot spend much time with them as I could earlier, I think my friends and my family never treat me like a star, which is a relief.

Manju Warrier has been one of the best heroines in Malayam films. How does she rate her husband's histrionic abilities?

She may analyse my performance as any other person who happens to see my films. But her comments do not have the tone of an actress or as one who has been part of the tinsel world.

Do you have plans for her comeback?

We are yet to talk about this matter.

Will you allow your daughter to be an actress if she wishes so, years later?

My father wanted me to become a lawyer. And I have chosen a career that my parents never imagined I would be in. How can we predict now?

You haven't answered my question.

Okay. I have taken decisions on my own. So, I will not prevent my daughter from doing such things. However, I can advice her regarding the difficulties and of course, the merits of the path she chooses. I believe that there is no point in thinking that my kids will be in a career I want them to be in.

How important are good looks for a hero in films?

Our films are reality based, unlike several other languages. We have an audience that enjoy Hindi movies, where good looks play an important role. And this same audience watch Malayalam movies and accept actors who have the looks of people you come across in your everyday life.

You are one actor who was willing to act with other top stars in films even after becoming a hero. Now do you find it difficult to act in multistarrers?

Never. If my role is challenging enough, I am ready to act in multistarrers.

You started your stint in films, assisting director Kamal. Any plans of directing a movie?

As of now, I have no plans of getting into direction. I have been watching the styles of various directors over these years. And maybe my experience as an assistant director has helped to understand them more.

You have acted in Tamil films too. Any plans of accepting more films in other language films too?

If the story is really interesting and my role is good, I don't mind acting in any language. But since I have a lot of pending assignments, I don't know if I can find time to do so.

How do you relax?

These days, I don't get much time to relax. With shootings and discussions, I barely get the time to sleep. Still, I find time to watch movies. And I prefer to remain with my family whenever I get an opportunity. I avoid gatherings and functions, as far as possible, because I am terrified of giving a speech.

Do you watch movies as regularly as you did earlier?

Of course I do. And I believe this is very important for any one associated with films. It's from the theatres that we get the response of the people. I always believe that sincere efforts pay off.

What is you opinion about the current crop of youngsters who have entered this field, thanks to their lineage?

It is a cyclic process that is going on here. Many have made it big and there are many who are sure to make a mark in the days to come. Anyway, one thing is for sure. These young men are really lucky to be heroes in their debut films. They can succeed if they manage to give a good performance.

Most of the new heroines seem to be paired with you in their debut films. How is this?

Maybe it is a coincidence that Manju Warrier, Divya Unni, Kavya Madhavan, Navya Nair, Nitya Das, Mannya, Meera Jasmine, have all made their debuts with me.

Do you feel uncomfortable working with these girls, most of whom are still in their teens?

Not at all. They are all extremely talented and true professionals.

Which are the forthcoming projects?

Kamal's `Gramophone' is slated for release during Onam. Then there is `Kunjikoonan', in which I have a double role. There are several other projects that are due to start soon.

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