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Success, at last!

Actor Vineeth's credo is simple: he is in the industry to do a job and to do it well.


Nothing is as sweet as success, at least in tinsel town.

Till recently, it eluded actor Vineeth; after all that applause he received for the film, `Nakhashathangal', his career didn't really take off.He almost faded into oblivion. Along the way, he earned the reputation of being a "better dancer than an actor".

Meanwhile, Vineeth took a break from the arc lights to concentrate on his studies. He graduated in Commerce from Madras University and was all set to pursue a professional career when the big screen beckoned again.

Bharathan's Tamil film, `Avarampoo', gave Vineeth a much-needed break. Since then, there has been no looking back. "It may sound clichéd," Vineeth states, "but my entry into films was accidental."

"When M. T. Vasudevan Nair asked me to consider a career in films, I decided to give it a try. I was asked to play the role of Rishyashringan in `Vaishali' but somehow things didn't work out. My début film was I. V. Sasi's `Edanilangal."

Nevertheless, it was his role of a teenager in Hariharan's film, `Nakakshathangal', which won him attention. "Nakhashathangal' was the turning point in my life." Later, films such as `Sargam', `Ghazal' and `Kabooliwala' gave him what he craved for: recognition as a hero.

These films did well at the box-office. "I became choosy about roles because I did not want to be typecast," he says.

But Vineeth ended up doing meaningless roles in films such as `Manathe Velitheru' and `Darling Darling', which did not fare well at the box office. "There weren't enough offers from Malayalam cinema," he adds as an afterthought. "I was sure about what I wanted: acting in good films."

Why have some of his Malayalam films failed to strike a chord with the audience? "The past few years have not been good for serious and sensible cinema. Producers would rather fund a project that would rake in the moolah at the box-office. Video piracy has made things worse for the film industry."

"While doing a Telugu or a Tamil film, I write down the dialogue in Malayalam and memorise the lines. You cannot afford to goof up your lines." His credo is simple: he is in the industry to do a job and to do it well. "As an actor I do try to portray the character to the best of my abilities."


Elaborating on his multi-starrers such as `Kaathal Desam', `Priyamana Thozhi' and `Kaathal Kirukkan' and `Bokshu-The Myth', Vineeth explains, "I'd rather do a good film, which has another actor as hero, than just be part of a mediocre film with me as hero."

Denying rumours that he is "difficult" to get along with, Vineeth maintains, "I'm reserved by nature and don't go out of my way to mingle with people. I think I'm one of the most media-friendly actors around."

Vineeth is upbeat about his forthcoming films. The actor agrees he needs an image overhaul. His boyish charms have, at times, proved to be disadvantageous, he points out. Even his new look -- a stylish haircut (a la Salman Khan) -- is part of experimentation for his upcoming Telugu film, `Thanks'.

Ask him what his forte is and he readily admits that it is dancing. "Because I have been trained in classical dance, I have to make a conscious effort to mould my body movements into the filmi style."

At 33, Vineeth is more focussed about his career than ever. "I've just finished the shooting for `Kaathal Kirukkan', in which I am paired opposite Richa Pallod. I play a lawyer in the film."

He is also considering a few new projects in Tamil. "I don't want to do a film just to prove that my career is happening."

Dance tops his list of priorities. Vineeth has been attending workshops held by veteran danseuse Padma Subramaniam for the past few years. "I am very passionate about dancing. There is still so much to learn."

His passion for dance was much in evidence during his Bharatanatyam recital at the Soorya Dance Festival held in the city, this past week.

"I have managed to take time off between my shooting schedules."

Marriage? "It can wait."

SMITHA SADANANDAN

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