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Star-studded career

Mammootty shares his views on stardom and acting


HE IS a `star.' And more than anyone, he is aware of that. His demeanour, zest, attitude and the way others react to him make the difference between an ordinary mortal and a star. After almost two decades in films, Mammootty can still make the box office ring.

Face, his fortune

More importantly, his presence in a film can still draw cine goers to theatres. The sceptics have been harsh on him at times. And, as if by instinct, he has come out with a good film to silence his detractors. Call it luck or sheer staying power. By now he has enacted a wide range of roles.

Right now, he is basking in the success of Blessy's `Kazhcha.' Mammootty feels that "it is great if the film can initiate the return of good cinema."

Kazhcha

He has been receiving accolades for his role as Madhavan, a 16-mm film projector operator, "whose main heroism in the film perhaps, is that he had the courage to adopt an orphaned kid."

He feels that the success of `Kazhcha' should give a new impetus to the film industry as such.

"Those behind the making of the film had taken great pains. We had shot the film in various locations including the earthquake-hit areas in the north. As there were not many recognisable faces in the film, a rehearsal camp was also organised. It is indeed refreshing to note that the audience has reacted positively to all these."

His latest venture, `Black,' directed by Ranjith is soon to be released. "I do feel tense. We put in a lot of effort into the film and when it is presented for the verdict of the audience, naturally, there is enough reason to feel nervous," he says.

Still, Mammootty feels that it is different from the days when he started acting in movies. If it was the concern about the fate of his career then, it is about various other factors now. He agrees that with the tag of stardom expectations are high.

Stardom

How does it feel to be a super star? "I am not much bothered by this concept of super stardom at all. Still, it is a fact that the so-called stardom is what we all aspire for. There is no denying that it is a privilege. And at times, it can be frustrating too."

Can superstars lead normal lives? "Well, for others I may be a star or even, a super star. But in my mind, I am a normal human being. At least, I have set my mind that way," he explains.

Has the volume of fan mail changed over the years? "I do receive them even now. And with new facilities, it is not letters alone; e-mails, SMS or even telephone calls."

But he agrees that the intensity of those letters have changed over the years.

"I feel that is bound to happen in our era when virtually no one has much time to devote to others. And film-stars are no more the kind of people living in alien lands that it was perceived to be, earlier."

With so many years before the camera where he is expected to look good and enact people whom he may perhaps never meet in his life, can the process of acting get monotonous after a point of time?

"Not at all. There is a lot of difference in the characters that I play. So, it's like getting into a new pair of shoes every other day." He is certain that the passion for doing a role has only increased and has never really come down. Is he the kind of actor who carries the characters home?

Real life

"Never. I have to convince people that I am a certain character in a film. How much I succeed in that is what decides my success as an actor. Back home, my roles range from that of a husband, father or a brother, as it is true for anyone else."

His Tamil film, `Vishwathulasi', where he has been paired opposite Nandita Das has just been released. And now, Mammootty is acting in V.M.Vinu's `Vesham'.

Projects with Shafi, K.Madhu and Kamal are expected to follow after that.

Character roles

Has he ever thought about his future, when he will have to switch over to character roles a la the erstwhile angry young man, Amitabh Bachchan ?

"There is no question of a switch over for I have been doing character roles all along," he laughs. As the adage goes, the hero wins at the end, yet again.

VIJAY GEORGE

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